Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday Sweethearts: Inexpensive Ideas

There a lots of pages that list free date night ideas, but one thing I had not thought of was doing a google search for free or cheap dates in (name city, state). I actually got the idea when I was reading on Smockity Frocks how she googled "free or cheap activities in Branson, MO" - where they recently got back from vacationing.

So I thought I would do that for the city I live in (why not). I usually search for "fun kids family activities city, state" when I am planning a vacation. But then I thought why not do it for the city we live in! :) LOL!! When I did that, one of the links that popped up was a link for cheap dates in Denver. I thought What a GREAT idea for Saturday Sweethearts! And so here I am, sharing this WONDERFUL idea with you!

During the week, google and find something fun and inexpensive for the TWO of you to do together (use something from the family search or the date search - I know my beloved and I have some of the best times together at a local arcade/mini-gold course). Plan when and where (and how much, so you don't overspend). Then make arrangements for a family member or friend to watch the kids for you and have FUN! Remember to HOLD HANDS!! :)

Remember, THESE IDEAS ARE FOR YOU (not your husband). YOU are to romance your husband. I was inspired to do these Saturday Sweethearts based on a book called Romancing Your Husband by Debra White Smith. Please get a hold of this book and read it. It is a really good book and will change your life! :)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday's Fun: Who Is Your Jane Austen Husband??

OK, so this is one I know nothing about! LOL! I was hoping for Darcy or SOMEONE I knew. I will have to read this one now. LOL!!! I know it is not my typical Friday Fun of Family Fun. But I am feeling a bit romantic today. :^) (and actually forgot it was Friday and thought today was Thursday! :^)

You scored as Edmund Bertram, Your husband/boyfriend is Edmund Bertram from Mansfield Park. Most likely he has taught you many things and acted as your guide or protector. Though he is quite principled, he has learned to detect the faults of others. Most likely the two of you were friends for a long time before you were lovers. As a couple, you delight in learning and conversing together and remain consistently loyal to each other.

Edmund Bertram


Col. Brandon




Captain Wentworth


Edward Ferrars






Who is Your Jane Austen Boyfriend/Husband?
created with

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know that most EVERY ONE claims to have THE BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe. And I notice they just about ALL have something in common. They are VERY similar to the Nestle Toll House recipe. Even the way they make them is similar to the Nestle Toll House recipe.

BUT, I have discovered a few tricks that help you make THE BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe. While this is a bit more time consuming than just making regular chocolate chip cookies according to the recipe on the back of the chocolate chips, the results are so amazing that you will be glad you took the extra time! Especially when your new neighbors are so glad YOU moved in next door and bring cookies at Christmas time because they are the BEST they ever had! :D

Chill three cookie sheets in your fridge. And make sure you have parchment paper (NOT wax). I have three pieces cut to fit perfectly on my cookie sheets.

Preheat oven to 375. Make sure you have a stone on the lower rack. If you do NOT have a stone on the lower rack, wrap a brick in foil and put it on the lower rack. Having a stone in there will allow the oven to remain at a level temperature instead of rising and lowering during the baking process. TRUST ME! The STABLEness the stone adds to the temperature is a good thing!!!

Take one stick of butter and whip it. I usually just put it in my Kitchen Aide and turn it on and let it go until the butter is smooth and mostly on the sides of the bowl. Then add your sugars (3/4 cup brown and 3/4 cup white - if you have superfine sugar that is even better OR you can even run the sugars through your food processor first). Begin the creaming! :)

While all this is happening, melt one stick of butter. I LOVE using a SMALL cast iron pan to do this. It even has dips in the side of the pan for pouring out melted butter! MARVELOUS! :)

You want it JUST melted (There can even still be some small chunks in it). Be careful NOT to cook OR burn the butter! I usually just leave it on low. The butter is melting while the sugar is being creamed into the whipped butter in my Kitchen Aide. Then I SLOWLY add the melted butter as the Kitchen Aide is still creaming.

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP! Let it cream the butter and sugars for a LONG time! Mine usually goes for about 30 or more minutes! This is a GREAT time to fold laundry! :)

Turn down the mixer to the lowest speed and add one egg. Allow to combine with creamed mixture before adding one more egg and making sure it is combined before moving on.

While your sugar and butter is creaming, mix your dry ingredients in a bowl. The recipe calls for 2 1/4 cups flour, but I use 2 1/2 cups (but I am at a higher altitude - you might want to do what the recipe suggests and then add 1/4 cup more flour IF NEEDED - i.e. your cookies are flat instead of plump). The recipe calls for 1 tsp baking soda BUT I use 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp baking POWDER. TRUST ME, this mixture is a good thing! :) And finally add 1 tsp salt (I use sea salt and it really does help to use a more minerally salt than regular table salt).

Once you figure you have creamed your butter and sugars long enough (the longer the better), add the dry ingredients SLOWLY! THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT STEP! I add about a Tbsp at a time SLOWLY and wait until it is integrated before adding more. BUT this is easily accomplished by putting the bowl of dry ingredients bowl on the edge of the Kitchen Aide bowl and just tapping and allowing the dry ingredients to fall in a little at a time, and before tapping again, wait until all the dry ingredient mixture has been incorporated. :)

Another important step is to add the vanilla (and please use the REAL stuff, NOT imitation) JUST BEFORE add the chocolate chips. The recipe calls for 1 tsp, but I usually add 2-3 tsp. Turn the mixer on high a few seconds to make sure the vanilla is mixed in well. Then fold in chocolate chips.

A word about chocolate chips here. DO NOT USE MILK CHOCOLATE! They will melt TOO MUCH and you will NOT have the cookies you desire! :) I love to use the mini morsels because you have TONS of chips in every bite. If those are not in your budget, just be sure to use semi-sweet.

Take your cookie sheets out of the fridge. Make sure parchment paper is on each cookie sheet. Drop by rounded TABLESPOONFULS onto the cookie sheet. (I use a melon baller and it works PERFECTLY!) DO NOT TRY TO FIT TOO MANY BALLS ONTO A SHEET! Better to have to cook one more sheet than have all your hard work ruined because you did not leave enough space between cookies for them to cook all around and breathe! :)

Put ONE cookie sheet in the oven and set timer for 8 minutes (if you are at a lower altitude, you might check after 7). Keep a close eye on them and once they JUST start to brown on top, take them out. Put in next cookie sheet for 8 minutes.

Set the cookies sheet you just pulled out down somewhere and allow cookies to stay on cookie sheet for two more minutes. They will continu to cook on the bottom during this time. Remove parchement paper with cookies to cooling rack.

When ready to pull next cookie sheet out of the oven, take the parchment paper (filled with cookie balls ready to cook) off cookie sheet number three and move onto the first cookie sheet. Repeat cooling process with second sheet and put first sheet (with new parchment paper and cookie balls) into oven for 8 minutes.

While second sheet is cooling, if necessary, put new parchment paper on third sheet and put rest of cookie balls onto the parchment. It is important to NOT put cookie balls onto a HOT sheet. Prepare them on parchment paper on the extra (third) cookie sheet and just move parchment and balls to a hot sheet JUST before putting into oven (always keeping the third sheet cool).

Repeat until done with cookies!

And don't forget (as seen in these pictures), one of the BEST parts for kids (beside helping to MAKE to cookies) is eating them fresh out of the oven!

AND, one of the best things to do when you want to make cookies during the HOT season when you DON'T want to turn on your oven?? Make the cookie dough and FREEZE it into logs. Then at the holidays (or on a cold day in winter) bring it out and slice and bake! :) OR make the recipes but without the egg and make into tiny balls for cookie dough ice cream (tastes just the same without the eggs, BUT you don't have to worry about raw eggs in the cookie dough since you are not cooking it!). :)

I am sorry I did not take more pictures, but I didn't think about it until AFTER I was almost done. :) LONG directions for cookies, but SOOOOOOOOOO worth the effort!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Beatrix Potter Party

I really am not up to throwing a party anytime soon, BUT this sounds SO COOL!

Head over and check out the details on how you can participate in

A Beatrix Potter Birthday Tea Party

(I thought of you Nancy when I saw this!) :-D

And while there, check out this AMAZING page. I know I say that a lot, and so it prolly loses it's emphasis. But this page, if you have daughters, if one that should be on your daily reads.

In Beauty and In Grace

She also has Beauty and Grace Academy

both are extremely excellent.

(Be sure to check out the Modest Handmaidens Essay Contest)

Girls Craft Club

Creative Girls Club

This sounds so cute! And not too bad of a price. Has anyone joined it or know anything about it? They mail projects to your door for your daughter and it has everything they need to make a craft. One comes every six weeks.

Maybe you could start something similar in your homeschooling/neighborhood group? Each Momma picks a craft and then puts the materials in a ziploc baggie. She creates enough for each girl in the group to have one (you know that it is cheaper to buy the materials to make several of one thing than to buy a whole bunch of different objects for a whole bunch of different crafts). Then you could meet once a month at someone's house to do the projects in the baggies! Make sure to meet at different houses so not one Momma is swamped with clean up after. :-D

Oriental Trading Company has some GREAT deals on group crafts. And they have some GREAT Christian crafts (especially around Christmas and Easter). AND if you each place your order at the same time (one mom pays for one craft, another mom for another, etc.). Then you save on shipping too!

This would also be a great time to get some projects for the TOD-KAH (Training Our Daughters to be Keepers At Home) in. Meet together and have everyone work on their crochet or knitting project. If they are sewing/quilting by hand, thy can have a session to work on that. Maybe if someone you know knows how to do something neat and special (like spinning wool into yarn, making cards, stamping, etc.) then one of the sessions can be for that too! :^)

I would love to hear other ideas anyone has for crafts for girls groups. What is a craft that can be put in a ziploc baggie?
-bracelet making (beads or even pony beads, string or wire)
-small baby doll quilt (fabric, thread, needle)
-button bracelets (this is especially good if you find a ton of old ones at a garage/estate sale - buttons, needle, thread)
-candle (beeswax, wick, glass holder)
-spool dolls
-macramé bracelts

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cleaning With Children

I have written some stuff about cleaning with children (you can see it in the Training Children section of my blog (click on the left hand side or under this post on Training Children).

But I came across this post today about cleaning with children from The Sparrow's Nest that is a MUST read. :) (I am noticing I say that a lot don't I?) :)

WONDERFUL Pillowcase Dress/Nightgown Tutorial

Rebecca has done it again! I LOVE her tutorials because they are something I can relate to AND understand (not always possible with the professionals THANK YOU REBECCA!!!).

Check out how ADORABLY CUTE her daughter looks and how EASY it is to make the cute pillowcase dress and/or nightgown in her own tutorial!!

I also have some stuff about pillowcase dresses in the SEWING section of my blog (check the left hand side bar OR below this post for SEWING). :)

My Pillowcase Dresses for each of my girls made with Rebecca's Tutorial
Q & A on My Pillowcase Dresses

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Great Blog and a Contest

There is a wonderful little blog out there that is a must see site. It is called Making A House A Home (how CUTE is THAT?!?!).

Right now (until the end of the month) she is having a giveaway to celebrate her one year bloggiversary! Head on over and enter, and while there check out her GREAT blog!

Teaching Your Baby Sign Language - DON'T GIVE UP!!!

One of the BEST things I ever did with raising my children (from number one) was to teach them sign language. Children are able to communicate with their hands before they are able to form speech. I have had the temper tantrums from a child not getting their way, but I rarely had a temper tantrum from a child not being understood (and not once after they learned to sign).

I knew when they wanted more food, more drink, tooth hurt, medicine please, all done, more more, up please, down, Mommy, Daddy. And when I was cooking or tending to something else, the older children could read the signs of baby for me "Mom, Baby wants more food." "Mom, baby wants down, he's all done."

Now don't get me wrong, while the rewards of your child knowing sign language are WONDERFUL and do make life easier for you AND for baby, it is not easy work. It takes a lot of TIME and effort on your part to teach baby.

I started teaching each of my children when they were six months old. The first of course picked it up right away. She was doing several signs by the time she was one year old. Sign language was a life saver for our second. She had a mild form of apraxia and was still not speaking more than three of four words by the time she was two years old. It took her longer to learn sign, but once she did she BEGGED for more. We had to learn many more signs simply because she couldn't speak the word, but she wanted to sign it.

Our third picked it up pretty quick too, which was good since she had a little bit of a lisp and it was difficult to understand her most of the time. It still can be sometimes, but she is so patient and will repeat herself several times when asked to and not get angry at all.

Baby JJ is now 13.5 months. I thought he would NEVER sign. But perseverance paid off. He is now picking up signs faster than I can teach them! Out of no where he is signing:
more please
all done
up Mommy

Now this is me singing "more" after EVERY bite at EVERY meal (just like I did with the other children). It is signing "Mommy" every time I say the word. Singing "medicine" every time I give him some (even the homeopathic teething tablets). Even the girls would sign to him. And sometimes even move his hands to make the sign. It was AMAZING to see him catch on that he could SIGN and I could UNDERSTAND instead of him screaming and me not knowing what he wanted. I could SEE the light bulb moment going off in his head. And now, even though he may not know the sign for something, he keeps trying to use his hands to talk to me. The amount of screaming he was doing went down to almost nothing, and the smiles he is smiling have really increased to almost double what they were! It is WONDERFUL!

I also want to let you know to be very watchful of your baby while they are learning to sign. Not every baby will sign the word properly. AA would sign "more" by pointing one finger to her hand. Baby JJ claps his hands once or twice to sign "more." He cannot move his hands in a circle for "please" so he rubs his chest and belly up and down rapidly. (How cute is THAT?) Your child will even invent signs to talk to you if you are paying enough attention.

So if you are teaching your baby sign (and if you aren't , then why not? ;-) ) have patience and stick with it. I know too many people who gave up after only one or two months saying that their baby would never sign. Your baby WILL learn to sign. Sometimes after only a few months and sometimes after several months of working on it. But they will learn! And in the process they also learn patience. :) It takes TIME and PATIENCE or your part and it is so worth them both!

Monday, June 25, 2007

God's Discipline, or How I Fractured My Thumb

The Bible talks about how the Lord will discipline and chasten those whom He loves.

Well the other day I got angry and lost my temper (be angry but DO NOT SIN), and decided in my anger, to throw down a bunch of books (will I ever out grow these temper tantrums? Note to self: snuff out tantrums in the girls NOW so they do not have the same struggles I do). And when I threw down the books, I forgot to release them. Down went the books, and down went my thumb. It was (and to be honest still is) extremely painful.

I have been working so hard on not losing my temper with the children. OH HOW I HATE to yell at and be angry with my children. And when does my thumb seem to hurt the most? When I have a thought of losing my temper with the children. It is currently a constant reminder of how I need to be much more gentle, meek and quiet with my children. Especially if I want them to be that way.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Blogging Break

I almost broke my thumb (may have fractured it) and so I am going to take it is an opportunity to take a blogging break for the week. See you two Monday's from now.

Another Good Read and Another Good Blog

With my recent posts on clothing, I found a good post of Summer Wardrobe. This blog is actually really good! If you have some time you should peek around

Growing In Truth

Friday's Fun: Which Came First?

An fun game can be built around the chronology of events and characters in the Bible. Have your guests (or in this case children) stand in line. Give the first person in line two names or two events. He is to name which came first.

So if you gave them "Peter or Paul?" the answer would be Peter (because Peter appeared in the Gospels while Paul didn't appear until Acts. If you said "Tower of Babel or Walls of Jericho?" they would answer Tower of Babel! :)

This game can also be playing for ANYTHING! (You know how a homeschooling Mom is!). Which word comes first in the dictionary? To make this one hard, try to think of words that actually would appear close in the dictionary OR use words that can be spelled the same way and have them spell the correct answer.
Which planet comes first? Which President comes first? Which event in history came came first? Or for fun, you can do birth dates (you don't have to include years for us old fogies who don't want people to know their age). For littles you can do numbers. Oh the POSSIBILITIES!!! :D

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ruth Bell Graham Goes Home

I have always admired Mrs. Billy Graham. And now, she has gone home to be with the Lord. You can read more about it here.

One of her daughters said about her:
"What she witnessed in her family home, she practiced for herself — dependence on God in every circumstance, love for his word, concern for others above self, and an indomitable spirit displayed with a smile," said the Grahams' youngest daughter, also named Ruth.
I pray that I can instill the same in my children. Mrs. Graham will be missed.

She Clothes Herself In...

I love to wear dresses and/or skirts. I am not a dresses only girl, but I sure come close. However, in the past year or so I have really gotten convicted about just how I dress.

I buy most of my clothes at Goodwill (I am not ashamed of that). However, I never really tried anything on before to make sure I looked nice (and not frumpy) in it. It is kind of difficult to take time to try on something before you buy it when you have four kids in tow (thankfully the little boy is little enough I can take him in the dressing room with me without him remembering what he is seeing).

But lately I have been reading some things (When Queens Ride By, The Art of Feminine Dress, The Feminine Appearance for example) that have really caused me to take a closer look at what I am wearing and HOW I look to/FOR my husband.

I have always believed in the importance of looking nice for my husband. Getting dressed instead of being in my nightgown when he comes home from work. Running a brush through my hair, even taking the short time to braid it for him, because he likes it that way. But I really started to look closely at the clothes I have been wearing.

Yes, I have a few nice things (thanks to my mother-in-love who gave me some of her old Weekenders clothes), but most of the stuff I was buying at Goodwill was... well it was not becoming.

Now that is not to say there are not good clothes at Goodwill. I have some VERY nice designer clothes I bought at Goodwill. But none of them fit me! Had I taken the time to try them on beforehand (or at least after I got home), I would have saved myself some money.

I am slowly realizing that it is much better to save up the money and buy one really nice outfit that makes me look and feel attractive, than to spend that money on ten outfits from Goodwill. And no matter where I shop for clothes, I really do need to take the time to try things on to make sure I look nice in them.

QUALITY not quantity is what we are looking for here.

Like I said, you CAN find quality at Goodwill (*IF* you know what to look for). And *IF* you try it on to make sure it fits and flatters you. But I am seeing more and more stores (and even brand name outlets) having GREAT deals on clothes. I am sure your husband will support you in this. Ask for a few hours to go and buy that really nice outfit you have been saving up for. Go look in the clearance sections of your favorite stores. I personally really like Christopher and Banks. I have gotten some $45 outfits for $5!

Shop at the right time too. The best deals on summer clothes are at the END of summer. The best deal on winter clothes is at the END of winter (see a trend here?). :D Dillards has an AMAZING sale at the end of seasons.

I have also realized that my clothes are not only an outward appearance of my representation of Christ, but an outward representation of my HUSBAND too. What does it say about him when I dress in clothes that are too big and frumpy? That he doesn't care about his wife? What about when the kids are dressed in oversized and unkept clothes? What does that say about their Daddy? That he cannot provide for his family?

It is starting to dawn on me why my parents have looked down on my husband for so many years. The clothes I have been wearing ... the clothes the children have been wearing... have been/are sending a silent message to my family about who my husband is. And it is a negative message. That is not to say that we cannot wear things that maybe aren't their style (like we can wear classical period clothes and they can wear modern). But that when we do wear our clothes, different style as they may be, they need to fit and look nice. I am not saying they have to be ironed, but definitely not ones that are so wrinkled because they have set in the dryer too long before being fold (or worse, were never folded at all and just shoved into their drawer).

And I know how difficult it can be to find clothes that are modest for our girls, so we tend to buy 3 sizes bigger so that they are modest. However, think about how your daughter looks. Does it look nice on her? I know that time is short, but we have decided to start making most of our daughters clothes from now on (and mine too if there is time). Not only will we save money (we always spend too much on them at Goodwill anyway), but the clothes will be tailored to them, so they will look nice. Not to mention the hands on training they will get in sewing. :)

Anyways, this was just a conviction I have felt and I wanted to share in hopes that you too might be blessed.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

You Must....

I know our time as wives and mothers is short, so I try not to waste your time by directing you to too many sites. But this one...


you must, you must, you must, you MUST, you must stop what you are doing and go read this right now. Don't wait until later because you might forget or never get around to it. It only takes 3-5 minutes of your time. Give the kids some special coloring sheets and go read

When Queens Ride By

Cute CUTE Aprons - Oh how I LOVE aprons!!!

Well, I must admit, I would like to see these on a PERSON before I actually buy one, but I so want one (and the matching headband too)! That pink gingham is SOoooo ME! :D

Check out these CUTE CUTE aprons!

HT: Home Ec 101 (oh I really do love this site!)

My favorite aprons right now (ESPECIALLY FOR CHILDREN) are from KitchenWears. These aprons have no strings! They are easy for young children to take off and put on themselves. No more "I wanna help, tie me Momma PLEASE!" while your hands are covered in flour. :D I have a few myself (one for gardening and one for housework and one for entertaining). And my girls all have one. A friend of mine has her children wear them for meals to protect their clothing! That was a GREAT idea which I quickly emplemented myself (especially with all this WONDERFUL watermelon we have been enjoying! :) And I use them to protect the children's clothing while they are out playing in the grass (no more grass stains on clothes!). :)

I also like them because you can nurse in them! Great for Mom's with lots of littles. I nursed baby JJ while wearing my apron with no difficulties at all. And they are great to take camping with you as they can protect the children's clothing! :)

If you goto the main page and then click WHAT'S NEW, go down to the bottom and they have sale aprons. For the quality of the fabric (and sewing) you honestly cannot beat that price!

OPOOOOOHHHH I just LOVE aprons! One of my favorite articles on why we should wear an apron is called Apron Evangelism. Check it out. It is a GOOD READ!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Must See Blog (I say that A Lot Don't I??)

In a homeschool group I belong to, I was talking to a group of ladies, and for each one who said they needed help with something, I gave them a web address to look up. LOL!! They said I had a web address for everything! LOL!!

Well, I don't know about that, but I do know that I have found another gem, thanks to Like Merchant Ships (which is a gem itself).

I just finished reading her article on resentment (which so ties into what I just blogged about earlier today). Don't let the title of her blog fool you! This blog is for EVERY MOTHER, whether you have one or 21 children! But because she does have 14 children, she has got some good words of wisdom EVERY MOTHER can benefit from!!!

Large Family Mothering

You will NOT be disappointed!

Can I Just Brag A Little??

I know, I just talked about embellishing our children's actions, but this is a true story, NO EMBELLISHMENTS! I need to video tape it so I have PROOF! :D

I had just placed baby JJ (now 13 months) in a HUGE box with a tiny ball (JUST bigger than a choking hazard). He was having a blast rolling it down one the flaps and watching it roll. I (or the girls, who were so tickled at seeing JJ giggle like he was) would give the ball back to him, where he would promptly release it and watch it roll down the flap and onto the floor and away from the box.

Well I decided it would be funny to toss it gently to him in such a way that it would roll up the flap of the box, stopping just before it hit his chest, and then roll back down the flap. Oh that procured the BEST giggles from JJ! So I continued to do that. And wonder of wonders HE CAUGHT THE BALL! In fact, after that, he caught the ball 8 out of 13 times! WOW!!!

I so love having a boy! And I love having three little girls who are totally in love with their baby brother! Now if only I can get them to love EACH OTHER like that! LOL!!!

It's True...

I know that sometimes, as a mom we can... let us say embellish the things our children do. We always look for the BEST in our children, and sometimes that is the only thing we share about them. :) We don't want to share the negative things our children have done/do because we feel that will make us look like a bad mother.

BUT oh how I love to hear about the faults in other children and mothers. I know that sounds strange, but I do. Especially in mothers whom I highly value and look up to. It brings me PEACE to know they have struggles too. To know that I am not alone in my struggle to raise up godly children. And usually when they share their struggles, they share how they overcame. THERE IS HOPE!

I know that sometimes, the way I share on here, it might seem like I have perfect children. I don't. They have their moments of being true sisters (not the fake Hallmark kind, but the "stop touching me, Mom she's breathing on me" kind). :D And then they have their moments of being TRUE sisters (the kind that show Christ's love toward each other, the kind the Bible talks about when it talks about brotherly love).

I will admit I have no idea HOW they have those later moments. For it is by NOTHING I have done, but all by the grace of God. All I do is try, every day in every thing, to point them to Him.

As I am writing this, AA is encouraging her younger sisters to clean "great job MM! Now why don't you pick up every thing in front of your seat at the table so we can eat breakfast!" followed by MM giggling and saying "Yes Ma'am, I will!" EE is walking toward me with her glowing smile and blowing me kiss (carrying trash from off the floor to the trash can).

However, before I started writing this, there was a totally different story. Without going into details, there was yelling and screaming and that was just me. LOL!!! I won't go into details about what the girls were doing, but they were having one of those former moments I talked about above.

Yes, there IS hope.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I Met Someone FAMOUS!

Ok, so it might not be a big deal to YOU, but it was HUGE for me!! I was at a conference recently and came up to a table with books. I had asked about a book, and the guy said "Well I wrote this ...." And I looked down at the name tag. CLAY CLARKSON!!! I was so surprised!! I said "OH WOW! You ... YOU are CLAY CLARKSON!" And then some lady started laughing (must have been my reaction), and I looked at her name tag. SALLY CLARKSON! "And you... YOU ARE SALLY CLARKSON!" WOWOWOWOW!!!!

I so wish I had had time to talk to them, but I really needed to go, and I was out of money (so I could not buy any products, but was curious about this new book they had). It really made my day to actually met them! I have just started reading their stuff and REALLY like it! I am currently reading Educating The WholeHearted Child. WONDERFUL!!!! :) SO in line with what we are wanting to do. You can learn more about their ministry on their web page WholeHeart Online. And maybe if YOU are lucky, YOU can meet them too!!! :D

(Note: There is another Whole Heart Ministries out there that is NOT the same thing.)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Saturday Sweethearts: Valuing your Husband through Gentleness

Valuing your Husband through Gentleness
Gentleness is showing tender consideration for the feelings of others.
Dr. Gary Smalley
While I was visiting with a friend, we began talking about one of the most unusual couples either of us had ever known. What made them unique was that in their eighteen years of marriage they had never yelled at each other. I know this sounds hard to believe, and you might assume that the husband, Herb, is a Caspar Milquetoast kind of guy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Herb is an excellent athlete with engineering degrees and a very successful business. The fact that he has never yelled at Helen doesn't mean he hasn't yelled at anyone else.

The question is: How can a man who is as aggressive and self-motivated as Herb go eighteen years without yelling at his wife? As my friend and I thought about this, we looked at each other, smiled, and blurted out the answer in unison, "How could anyone ever yell at Helen?" Helen is a living picture of gentleness.

Have you ever noticed the difference between the way a father handles a newborn baby and the way he plays with a three-year-old? The first time I held my newborn son I was extremely careful and was so concerned I might hurt him that I handed him back to my wife rather quickly. By the time he was three, we were roughhousing almost nightly. Why was I less gentle with a three-year-old that I was with a newborn? When he was a newborn, I was convinced that he was very fragile and that I needed to exercise the utmost care just to keep from hurting him.

The key motivation for gentleness is maintaining an awareness of the extreme fragility of other people's feelings. It was only natural for me to become less gentle physically with my son as he grew stronger. Unfortunately as time went on, I also became more calloused to my son's feelings because my busy schedule distracted my attention. Basically, I did what most of us do—I began to take Mike for granted. The more we take others for granted, the less gentle we tend to be in our relationship with them. We lose sight of their precious value and fragile inner person.

In other words, "The more we value something, the more gentle we will be in handling it." If I handed you a three-thousand-year-old, paper-thin Oriental case worth $50,000 and asked you to take it to the bank, would you handle it any differently than if I gave you a 59 cent plastic vase and asked you to take it down the street?

Something happened to Mike that completely renewed my awareness of his priceless value and the fragility of his life. We were staying at a large motel, and I was swimming with my three children. While I was roughhousing with Kari and Greg, Mike was floating around in his Donald Duck inner tube. I turned around and saw the inner tube was floating by itself in the deep end of the pool. Down in the water I saw Mike lying on the bottom of the pool—motionless, except for his soft blond hair moving back and forth with the motion of the water. My heart was gripped with grief and feat as I dived down and brought him to the surface. After he recovered, I knew it would be a long time before I would take him for granted again.

There may be times when it is difficult for you to fully appreciate the priceless value of your husband, but the fact remains that he is a very special creation of God with needs, disappointments, hurts, and feelings just like anyone else.

Remember, THESE ARE IDEAS FOR YOU (not your husband). YOU are to romance your husband! I was inspired to do these Saturday Sweethearts based on a book called Romancing Your Husband by Debra White Smith. PLEASE get a hold of this book and read it. It is a really good book and will really change your life. :)

Friday, June 8, 2007

Friday's Fun: Cotton Ball

So this ISN'T a vintage game, but still fun nonetheless.

Take a cotton ball and a table and two straws. The object of the game is to blow the cotton ball off the side of the table by your opponent. For MORE fun, get a box (you know the ones that hold the cans of soda from the super market, or the boxes they ship meat in) and cut out a "goal" at the short ends. Then use that as your game table. Fun fast and INEXPENSIVE. :) ENJOY!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Say WHAT?!?!

Can you recall the last conversation you had with your kids? Pick one child (I suggest picking the one you have the most difficulty with) and try to remember the last conversation you had with them. Can you remember? Unfortunately, I can't.

Part of that is because sometimes I get so busy and wrapped up in doing my own thing (cleaning, scrapbooking, blogging, reading, etc.).

When child says something, instead of "uh-huh," reply letting them know you were listening. "You are right, that is a big plane!" It not only validates the child (who doesn't like to know that they were heard? I even sometimes ask my beloved to validate me), but let's the child know that what they had to say was valuable to you.

I was reading in a magazine (Above Rubies?) where the mom was lying in bed (trying to sleep) when her three teenage daughters came bursting into the room and onto the bed. They had just gotten back from visiting a neighbor with a newborn baby and they want to talk to Mom all about it. They talked in that bed for hours! She never got her nap but what she got was much more valuable! And she knew it too. She was so thankful for all those times she took to be with her girls and now that they were older, they continued to enjoy being with their Mom.

A dear friend of mine recently gave me some good advice. DON'T WAIT! When your child comes up to you and wants to talk, put away that book and BE with your child. When they ask you to do something, stop reading and blogging and DO with your child. Don't say "one more minute" because you and I know that it usually takes a lot longer than one more minute. And by the time it comes around that one minute would have turned into several years and you will be wondering where the time went and why your child is so distant from you.

I know that I am one who sometimes likes to wait until things are perfect before doing the,. And I don't like messes. So we usually don't do as many crafts as the kids like. But the other day I grabbed some sewing kits I had (to make felt purses) and all us girls sat in the living room sewing our purses. IT WAS WONDERFUL!!!! I realized just how WELL my 4 year old could sew! I knew the other two were, but I would have missed out had I not taken the opportunity to DO it NOW with my children. It is so cute to see the girls walking around with purses THEY made (and of course showing and telling Daddy all about it).

And when that child of yours seems to ramble on and on about something that seems meaningless to you but must be so important to your child because they won't stop talking about it, LISTEN to them. Last night I had the most wonderful conversation (at 12am) with my daughter. She had woken up and needed to use the restroom. She started talking, and I started listening. It is WONDERFUL to hear what is going on in her little mind right now!

Anyways, I hope this encourages you as much as I was encouraged by my friend.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Yes, Virgina There IS a Santa Claus!!!

OK, OK, I am flipping head over heals about this recipe!!! I have no idea who to hat tip to (one of the MANY blogs I read, if it was you PLEASE let me know).


And let me tell you this picture looks like these are going to taste better than the real thing too! WOWOWOWOWOW!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Can You Teach A Kid To Cook?

I should video tape my kids cooking. I have pictures I can post of them making naan.

We've All Been There

HT: Amy's Humble Musings

Love in Black and White - A GREAT Father's Day Idea

Love In Black and White
by Christa Simpson

Last Year I thought of a great surprise for my husband for Father's Day. I took my husband, our two children Katelyn age 5, and Myles age 2 down to the beach, we live in Norfolk, Virginia and so there's beaches everywhere.

I got some black and white film and just told my husband I wanted to take some pictures of him and the kids on the beach, and didn't tell him why. We found an area where there was a sail boat pulled up onto the beach and used that as a backdrop in most of the pictures.

I got some pictures like my kids leaning in to kiss their Daddy on his cheeks, My husband sitting with his legs open and Katelyn sitting in between his legs and then my son Myles sitting in between her legs, my husband laying down on the beach with both kids on top of his back.

I put 4 pictures inside a really nice heavy duty frame and enlarged the pictures so there's on picture in each corner of the picture and then in the middle I found a poem about a dad and put that there and on each side in between the two pictures I had the kids sign it and write I love you daddy.

My notes:

One of the nice things about the age of digital scrapbooking is you can find TONS of scrapbooked pages with/about Daddies. Just do a google search for digital scrapbook (or even just SCRAPBOOK) and Daddy and see what comes up. I also search for Father in addition to Daddy because you tend to get some more elegant layouts that way (instead of just the fun kind of layout). When you create your own after someone's layout it is called "scraplifting" and you need to be sure if you post it online to give credit (including a link if possible) to the layout you lifted. If you are not able to post the link on the site you are posting, be sure to keep the link because you may get emails asking to see the original. :)

Monday, June 4, 2007

Internet Sweet Internet

I am so sorry I had an unannounced absence. It was NOT my plan! We lost internet connection Friday at noon and did not get it back until recently.

But now it is late, and I am tired, so I am off to bed. I hope you are all well and know I have a LOT of catching up to do on all your blogs tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow will be movie day. Better yet, maybe tomorrow will be like the past few days - cuddled on the couch, reading with my kids, having tickle fights and playing games.


I think tomorrow NIGHT will be catch up time. Tomorrow day will be like the past few days.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Friday's Fun: Ice Breakers

I think you could do this just for fun with kids. But this was originally an ice breaker game.

Shoes Off and On

When your guests arrive have each one stand at a line. Ten or fifteen feet away have a basket or box. Have each guest try to kick his shoes off and into the box. If he sis successful, he may keep his shoes and wear them. If he is unsuccessful, he must leave that shoe off for the remainder of the party. If he gets one in and one out, he must leave one of his shoes off throughout the party.

Cinderella's Shoes

At my daughter's birthday (a princess theme), we had all the girls take their shoes off and put them at a line. Then they went across the room to the wall. When we said GO, they ran to get their shoes, put them on, and then come back to the wall and sit down.