Thursday, June 30, 2011

You Can Read

Buddy has recently shown signs of being ready to read and so I began looking for various ways to teach him.  Buddy has already been picture reading, retelling stories, recognizing environmental print, and recognizes all of our family names written. What finally convinced me to begin looking for a reading program was when Buddy made the statement, "When I can read, I can read this whole book to you" to Sweetpea. I came upon the program You Can Read from 1+1+1=1 and thought this would be a great place to start.
You Can Read is a program that focuses on sight words and it is created for children who show reading readiness between the ages 3-5. We have been working with this program for about 3-4 weeks and Buddy can identify all of his words and has been able to read short sight word books. He and I are thrilled at each step he makes toward being a confident reader. If you are interested in teaching your child to read, I highly recommend checking out more about You Can Read and visiting 1+1+1=1 to see more about this wonderful program.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Our new "classroom"

Buddy and I finally have an "organized" space to work on his Scripture memory and currently, You Can Read from 1+1+1=1.  I call this side of the office our classroom and Buddy loves it.  It is constantly a work in progress and things will change on the wall. 
The biggest addition to come soon will be a new calendar set since my old one from my teaching days has missing pieces, I guess, from our several moves. 
It isn't fancy and it isn't much but this is our learning space for now.  We are loving having a consistent place to work.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A dress for Sweetpea

Today I finished my first sewing project, a dress for Sweetpea!  I started a rice bag for Jon but since I haven't had a chance to go buy rice, the dress was the first to be finished.  I have an awesome friend, Bethany, who helped walk me through each step of the dress and helped me learn how to pin, gather, and make bias tape.  I am so grateful for all of the tips and advice that she gave last night and most of all, her patience as I slowly worked.  Thanks Bethany!
I had so much fun making this dress and seeing the finished results on Sweetpea.  Buddy has already asked when his Lightening McQueen pillowcase will be finished so that is my next thing to attack. 
I think I am hooked!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Wives of King David

Michal: A Novel (The Wives of King David)Abigail: A Novel (The Wives of King David)Bathsheba: A Novel (The Wives of King David)I recently finished Jill Eileen Smith's three book series, The Wives of King David, and could not put the books down.  These books are Biblical fiction that focus on three of King David's wives and each story is told from their perspective.  Jill Eileen Smith pulled me in with her vivid characters that follow Scripture closely and kept me hooked with the unfolding of the storyline from a different viewpoint. 

Michal, the first book, is about David's first wife and her struggles as she loves her father's worst enemy.  As the daughter of King Saul, she is left behind at the palace when David has to run for his life.  The book follows the path of her love, loss, and reunion with King David.  This book made me contemplate how hard it must have been to be the first wife of David and then to have to share him with other women. 

Abigail, the second book, is told from the perspective of Abigail, wife to Nabal, who saves her family from her husband's foolish pride.  By acting in faith, she catches the notice of David.  Abigail becomes another of David's wives after the death of Nabal and moves with David on his run from King Saul.  Abigail decides to follow God's will no matter the cost to her or her family.

Bathsheba, the third and final book, is the book that I was most interested in reading to see how Smith would portray the adulterous beginning of King David and Bathsheba's relationship.  I thought this book was very skillfully written as Bathsheba and David share the guilt for their mistake that cost the life of Uriah and their first born son.  The storyline interweaves the devastation that sin causes with the forgiveness and grace of God. 

All in all, The Wives of King David is a great series that I look forward to reading again and again!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sewing Machine

Factory-Reconditioned Singer 2263.RF Simple 23-Stitch Mechanical Sewing MachineWhen we arrived home from vacation, I found a wonderful early birthday surprise waiting for me...a sewing machine!  Jon had bought me the one that I had been looking at for months and several beginning tools for sewing and quilting.  My birthday isn't until July so it was a big surprise but a very welcome one.
I am super excited to begin learning how to sew and hope to make several of the projects that I had posted about soon.  To start out, I plan to find something simple but hope to work up to the DIY projects that I posted about in April.  Happy Sewing!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


As you all know, Buddy, Sweetpea, and I have been visiting family for the past two weeks.  It was an awesome time spent swimming, visiting, and, of course, eating!  We arrived home yesterday and I was so proud of how well Buddy and Sweetpea did in the car for two long days. 
Here are a few photos of our time with family.

Papaw and Sweetpea playing in the pool.

Grammy and Buddy making fruit dip.  (Buddy snuck a few licks of marshmallow cream.)

 Souvenir hats from our time at a safari.  (Buddy is now wearing his hat all over town.)

 More swimming!

 A morning jam session with Uncle David.

My wonderful parents!

It was so great to spend time with my family but it is also nice to be home.  We definitely missed Jon and Buddy and Sweetpea were ecstatic to see him when we arrived.  I hope that if you are doing any traveling this summer that it goes well and that you enjoy your vacation as much as I enjoyed mine!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ephesians 4:32

"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."  Ephesians 4:32
This verse was added to our list of verses to memorize because Buddy and Sweetpea have been acting like typical siblings and irritating one another.  As we recite this verse, Buddy and I have talked about ways to be kind and what tenderhearted means.  It surprised me how easily he learned the concept of tenderhearted and this has actually made a difference in the way that Buddy treats Sweetpea.  In turn, Sweetpea is a little nicer as well during play time.  I hope to get a video of Buddy saying this verse soon.

We read several books as well geared towards being kind that went along with the verse.

The Berenstain Bears Love Their Neighbors (Berenstain Bears/Living Lights)Berenstain Bears Love Their Neighbors is a great book about being kind to people around us.  The Berenstain Bears ignore their neighbors down the road because they seem mean and messy.  When their car breaks down, the Bear family discovers who is their true neighbor.  It is a retelling of the Good Samaritan story from the Bible and was a good lesson for Buddy on how we should treat others.
RAINBOW FISH TO THE RESCUE Rainbow Fish to the Rescue is the second Rainbow Fish book.  Buddy and Sweetpea loved the first book so much that I found this one at the library.  It fit perfectly into our verse as Rainbow Fish has to decide whether or not to play with his new friends or include the new fish.  It has an exciting finish when a shark appears in the reef.  Buddy loved this Rainbow Fish story as well and talked about how the other fish were mean and it was an easy tie-in to Ephesians 4:32.

Help Me Be Good About Being MeanHelp Me Be Good: Being Mean by Joy Berry is a book that specifically talks about being mean on a child's level.  It was still a little over Buddy's head so I changed a few of the paragraphs to help him understand more clearly.  Joy Berry's Help Me Be Good series has several great books teaching children how to have good manners and act appropriately with others. 

Ephesians 4:32 is a good verse to memorize even for me to remember how we should treat one another.  Hopefully Buddy will remember this verse when he starts to act mean and choose the be kind instead.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

School Desk for Buddy

I am so excited about the desk for Buddy that I purchased from a friend!  It is perfect for Buddy's size, has a chalkboard top, and the top lifts up to store smaller items underneath.  I love it!

We picked it up today and, as soon as it was set up in my parents' living room, Buddy was at the desk.  He only left it to get new things to add underneath the top and to come eat supper.  In fact, I had to coerce him to come to the supper table.

I hope this desk helps keep him a little more focused as we work on activities and makes learning a little more exciting.  Here are a few pictures of Buddy enjoying his new desk. 

Buddy coloring his memory verse for the week.

He decided to read at his desk.  I love how focused he looks.

And more coloring...Buddy kept asking for more activities.

I think this desk is going to be a great addition to our house and I can't wait to get it home.  Hopefully it will fit in our van with all of our luggage...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Colossians 3:23

Buddy learned Colossians 3:23 when we started his chore chart a few weeks ago.  This verse is at the top of his chore chart and we would recite it as he would begin his chores.  I did not plan any specific activities to go with this verse but he learned it rather quickly.

Any time that we would work around the house, Buddy and I would talk about how we should work enthusiastically and work to the best of our ability.  While he may not completely understand these concepts about working hard now, I hope that by learning Colossians 3:23 he will have a right attitude when he is older about work.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Sopapillas RecipeA friend, Janice, made sopapillas for Cinco de Mayo and they were super good.  I was, finally, able to try the recipe for our family celebration of Father's Day after begging her for the recipe back in May.  We celebrated Father's Day early since the kiddos and I will still be on vacation on Sunday.  The sopapillas turned out great!  My only complaint was completely my fault in that the oil would get to hot and fry them too fast to puff up or the oil would cool down and the dough would take forever to cook. 
We ate them all for dessert after supper so quickly and it was the perfect end to our meal of enchiladas.  I mixed up a little cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle on top and drizzled with honey.  Both Buddy and Sweetpea wanted more and, I have to admit, I did as well. 
If you are looking for a great dessert to try out with family or friends, these homemade sopapillas are a quick and easy way to impress.  Or you can try like Janice and make stuffed sopapillas with just about anything.  I am hoping to try taco stuffed sopapillas soon now that I know how easy it is to prepare. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

New Testament on CD

Kid's New Testament-CEV
Since I created Buddy's chore chart, I have been looking for an audio version of the Bible for him to listen to during devotion time.  He has been flipping through his Bible "reading" but I felt like this was not the best option.  I found that there were tons of choices and they all looked really good.  I finally decided to go with the Kid's New Testament since it is the entire New Testament read and dramatized on CD. 
It came in the mail right before our vacation and I was excited to see how Buddy would do with it.  He listened to five chapters of Matthew without moving from our couch and was able to answer questions about what he had listened to after I had turned it off. 
I love the case as it holds the 15 CDs easily and has slots for five more of your choice.  We have now listened to 4 complete CDs and are into Luke currently.  Buddy has asked to listen to the Bible as we drove and how can I say no to that?!  Sweetpea has listened off and on as she has napped on the drive but I know she is absorbing the Bible as well.  Interspersed between the Scripture are hymns and children's songs that help reinforce what has been listened to and keep their attention.  Buddy has also been excited as he hears his various memory verses that he has learned on the CD. 
I hope they have an Old Testament on CD as well but it is good to reinforce the New Testament verses with Buddy.  I highly recommend this Kid's New Testament if you are looking for the Bible in audio version.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Jesus Loves Me Wall Hanging

I recently made Sweetpea a wall hanging for her room that is similar to one that my cousin, Stephanie, made for Buddy.  I think it is a very simple reminder for children that Jesus loves them and Buddy learned early on to recognize "Jesus" in print because of his wall hanging.  I also wanted Sweetpea to have a girly decoration in her room.  The wall hanging was an easy and cute decoration and would make a great baby shower gift.

Materials Needed:
Blank Square Canvas
Black Paint
Other paint colors
Paint brushes
Shape stencils
Ribbon  (not pictured because I cannot find my ribbon after our move)

Carefully divide the canvas into thirds by using the ruler.  Trace shapes in random pattern.  Write Jesus Loves Me! across the middle.  I apologize that the picture is hard to see.
Paint the shapes and the top and bottom thirds with colors of your choice.  Two coats of paint will fully cover the canvas.  Paint the words black.  Attach ribbon to the top and hang on a wall.

This is the picture of Buddy's wall hanging that Stephanie made.  I love the font that "Jesus Loves Me" that she used but every time I tried to replicate it, it never worked quite right for me.  I was glad I used a pencil to trace at first. 

These wall hangings are simple but incredibly cute for a young child's wall and an easy gift to give for a shower or birthday.  I love the way it is a great reminder of the truth of Jesus' love.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls

First of all, I want to apologize for being absent most of the week.  Sweetpea, Buddy, and I were going to drive to my parents house by ourselves for vacation but my mom surprised me by flying into our area to drive with us.  It was a huge surprise so thank you Mom, Dad, and Jon!  Needless to say, I was a little flustered and did not get my entire list, things like prepare auto-post on typed blogs, completed before we left.  Blogging took a backseat to family and traveling.  We are now at my parents' house and loving being on vacation.  Buddy and Sweetpea did so awesome on the long drive and packing for children in plastic ziploc bags worked very well.

Before I left, I tried out a new recipe for Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls and it was super easy and super yummy! 
I have several cinnamon roll recipes but this, by far, was the easiest.  As I made this batch, I learned several tricks to make it easier to make uniform cinnamon rolls the next time. 
Tip 1:  Use a serrated knife to cut through the dough
Tip 2:  Use a little less butter, otherwise is squeezes out the end.
Tip 3:  If making the cinnamon rolls the night before, space the rolls out more as they will continue to rise overnight.
These cinnamon rolls were a delicious special treat and I will be saving the recipe to use in the future.  I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mary's Heart, Martha's Hands

Since listening to Mark Driscoll's sermon about Mary and Martha, I've been thinking and mulling over various aspects of myself.  In the sermon he states, "We need to have Mary's heart but Martha's hands".  I liked that he pointed out that Martha's work and desire to work is not bad but her timing and priorities were out of line.  Since I tend to be more of a "Martha", I sometimes need to be reminded to slow down and take time for my relationship with Christ and with others.  I need to have a heart that longs for growth and deeper relationships while working hard for the Lord.  Often I get caught up in working hard for my husband and children, trying to live up to this impossible standard in my head, and then fail miserably at things like building relationships.  I listened to this sermon before our move and it was a good reminder that even though I want my new house set up and clean, Buddy and Sweetpea still need quality time each day.  As tempting as it is to put in a movie or to send them to their rooms to play individually so I can work really hard, I've tried to work when they are napping and enjoy the time with them when they are awake. 
"Mary's heart but Martha's hands" is such a profound statement to me because often times Martha is the person everyone doesn't want to be but God has given us all our different personalities.  Our personalities just need to be in balance with His priorities.  He has given me the desire to work and to serve and to be busy but my first desire should be to spend time in prayer and reading Scripture to grow in my daily walk.  My prayer lately is "Lord, please give me a Mary's heart while using my Martha hands".  So for all of the "Martha" personalities out there, I highly recommend listening to Driscoll's sermon, 'Mary and Martha'.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rainbow Fish

Rainbow Fish Big Book
One of our most recent library books has been The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister.  This is a great story of a fish with shiny scales who refuses to share and the lesson he learns.  One of my favorite aspects of the book is that the illustrations are beautiful.  It is a very well written story that went well with our Bible verse for the week of Ephesians 4:32, "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."  The Rainbow Fish learns to be kind as the other fish forgive him at the end of the story.

After nap time, I decided, spur of the moment, to let Buddy make a Rainbow Fish and this turned out to be a great Bible verse poster as well. 

Materials Needed:
Blue Construction Paper
Outline of fish (I very quickly pulled one off of the internet but forgot to save the link.  Google is a great tool.)
Blue, Green, and Purple Crayons
Foil (a great last minute addition not pictured below)

Buddy and I glued the fish down onto the construction paper and I let him begin coloring.

While Buddy was coloring, Sweetpea woke up and wanted to join in on the fun.

After he colored the fish, I gave him a small piece of foil to tear into scales.

He very carefully glued the scales in very precise locations.

After the glue for the foil scales had dried for a little bit, we added some glitter lines on the fins.  (Tip:  Glitter always ends up everywhere but the mess can be somewhat contained if you place a cookie sheet underneath.  Ours happened to be a pizza pan because Buddy insisted he wanted a circle.)

I added our Bible verse on top and once it was dry, we hung it up on the refrigerator as a reminder of our memory verse.

Buddy's Rainbow Fish

Sweetpea's Rainbow Fish