Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Science and Salamanders

Today in science we were learning about salamanders. The lesson brought me back to my childhood days. I lived in a rental house on a island. It was home for a short time, but I remember the salamanders. They lived in my bathroom where it was damp and dark. We kept the door shut tight hoping to not allow salamanders in the rest of the house. I don't remember if that worked or not. I do remember reaching around the door to flick on the light as quickly as I could and watch all the salamanders scatter to hide. I remember being scared that one would get me while I was stuck on the potty. I was only 5 at the time. The most memorable event in that bathroom was the night I tried to catch one. With a margarine tub in hand I headed to the bathroom. There was a small little green salamander in the shower, I watched it and then slammed the margarine tub on to it. To my dismay it's tail flew off and started twitching and flicking all over the shower floor. I screamed and ran from the bathroom, where I melted down thinking I had killed the poor tiny salamander. Tears streaming down my face I realized I should probably go get the margarine tub and bury the yucky dead creature. As I lifted the plastic container I was shocked to find a living salamander run from it's prison and escape down the shower drain. That memory is forever etched in my brain. That was the day I learned that salamanders can loose their tails or even their legs and they will grow back. So today as my daughter was learning about pond life and all that salamanders do I flash backed to the little island house. It made my skin crawl thinking about it. Yes, God's creatures are unique and amazing. Growing back appendages is pretty neat, but some creatures are still just yucky! When I told my 9 year old, my memory, her face contorted and she shivered thinking about it. We are both very happy that we live far from salamanders and we can go into our bathroom without fear of meeting any creatures!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Blog Support

I love blogging when I can and I would love to help those of you who read my blog with what is most relevant to you.  I'm trying to be a better blogger for all you followers.  Please answer these questions for me to help me mainstream my blog more.

Reading to Writing Connections for Homeschool

I love when authors include great tools and study guides to go with their books.  Susan Marlow is my daughter's favorite author, and now my sons.  She has amazing adventure books for girls and boys.  What I love about her books are that they are full of adventure and Christian based.  They are not overtly preachy, but you know that the characters believe in Christ and at times they will remember a verse to help them when they are scared or facing a trial, or perhaps they think a prayer as they face the horse thieves or danger.  I also love that she has lapbooks for beginnings series and for older series, study guides for each book.  The study guides are free! She also runs a blog for one of the main characters Andi.  On the blog she does trivia.  Readers and fans can answer questions to win prizes and they can write fan stories to be placed on her blog using characters from the established books.  My FAVORITE thing she does are her writing contests each year.  The deadline is every Dec.

Last year I used her tools on her site for my 3rd grader to go through and develop a story and plot.  She wrote two stories as her writing curriculum and entered them into the contest for her age category.  She actually WON FIRST PLACE.  That's  my girl!  Her story was then published in a collection called Beneath the Western Sky.  She won a print copy of her book, cash, a poster, but most of all she gained confidence and purpose in her writing.  Now as a 9 year old published author she loves writing and sees it as something she can do the rest of her life.

Look for the contest and have your children work on writing, editing and submitting stories.

We often read books and then think up our own endings to write.  When we recently went to the Humane Society on a field trip we learned about a cat that was turned it because it no longer matched the house decor.  My kids then came home and wrote a story about that cat from it's perspective.

Another activity we do in the car or at the dinner table is making a story together.  I may start telling a story, each child adds to the story. Doing it orally is helpful before getting it on paper. My younger ones are learning to be creative, develop a story and characters before they are ready to really write. My older daughter can get all her ideas out orally plot it out on a diagram and then write it down, learning the revision process.

How do you incorporate writing in your home-school or daily life?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Honor Your Husband

As a stay at home mom it's easy to get bogged down in all we do. Let's face it our job never ends.  From the minute we open our eyes in the morning till we fall into bed at night, and even in the middle of the night, we are caring for our children, running our home.  It's demanding.  I can easily get into the mindset that I have it harder than my husband.  I can say things like, "Well at least he gets to talk to adults... At least he gets to leave the house and shower every day and go to the bathroom without children following him." That mindset is not helpful in our homes and it does not honor all our husbands do.

My husband works a full time job and then comes home and works from home into the wee hours of the morning.  He provides for our family so that I CAN stay home.  We have a roof over our head, clothes on our backs, food on our table and no bill collectors calling because he works hard.  As his wife I need to let him know I appreciate all he does.  I need to spread that appreciation to my children so they understand why Daddy is so tired and they thank him for his hard work too.

This week or weekend I challenge you to do something special for your husband to let him know that you and the kids appreciate his hard work. We made a cake and put a little sign in it that the kids made, thanking daddy for his hard work and telling him he's the #1 Dad!  We had to wait till about 7:30 at night for him to come home from work to share a supper and the desert with him.  Instead of singing "Happy Birthday" we sang "Thank you for all your work".  I could see in his face that he appreciated it.  That he knew he was loved and appreciated.  It doesn't have to be extragent.  Ours sure wasn't, but you should let him know you're thankful.

Ephesians 5:33
However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects (honors) her husband.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Our newest family member...

This is our new dog.  He regularly sleeps upside down with his head hanging off of couches or beds or my kids.  He is pretty hilarious.  I know I talked about my hours spent researching dogs and trying to figure out the best breed for our family, well like most things this didn't go exactly as I had planned.

My husband and I were planning to wait till mid summer to get a dog and we were not yet in agreement on the kind.  He wanted a Sheltie, and I wanted a hypo-allergenic dog.  (He says there's no such thing) My mother in law on the other hand was searching for a Bichon mix.  Well it just so happened that one showed up in a humane society not to far from where we live, which is very far from my dear mother in law.  She called me late one night and said please go see him tomorrow and get him for me.  I asked my husband if we could keep a dog for his mom for a few days till she could get down and get him.  He agreed.  So I took the kids first thing the next day to the humane society.  They were thrilled to death.  We got a little pager and stood in line with great anticipation.  Finally our pager buzzed and my kids squealed!  We were taken into a private room and met this little white fluff ball.  He had been a stray, was flea bitten, had been neutered and had oral surgery and was now ready for adoption.  He had a big cone on his head.  I called to make sure my mom-in-law was on board with all I found out about this little dog.  So we took home this pup and the kids got to name him Smores. We feel in love with this sweet pup. He loved the kids and the attention.  Then a few days later grandma came and took him home with her.  We cried.  She brought him back for a visit and again when she left we missed our dear little friend.

He ended up getting attacked by a neighbor's American Bull Dog, who plowed through a fence to chew on him.  At that point we started talking about bringing him back here so he'd be safer.  Then around the first of this month we met grandma half way and brought Smores home to be our dog. He wasn't the kind we planned on, but he is great.

Now we have hours of entertainment, the kids are training him to do tricks.  We even got to take him to the local nursing home to show off his tricks.  We get in our exercise through our daily walks and he helps my youngest take naps as he'll sleep by her.  My eldest complains about math way less because he'll sit on her lap while she does math. We can carry him like a baby, he's even been fine with wearing a hat or doll clothes.  While he wasn't what we had planned on, I think we ended up pretty blessed! We finally have that dream dog that I've wanted since I was a kid.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Decadent Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

Normally when I make my chocolate cake I top it with whipped cream I make from scratch.  Well on this day I did not have any whipping cream or many of the usual ingredients.  My kitchen aid mixer was missing a piece and so I just threw what I had into a bowl and stirred it up by hand.  It turned out to be one of the BEST gluten free creations I've made.  It was for a birthday of a dear friend and it was of course all eaten, down to the last crumb!

I hope you'll give it a try and let me know how much your family and friends enjoy it.

 Cake Ingredients:
2 c. organic raw sugar
3/4 c. rice flour
1/2 c. oat flour
1/4 c. tapioca starch
1/4 c. potato starch
3/4 c. coco powder
1 ts. zanthan gum
1 1/2 ts. baking powder
1 1/2 ts. baking soda
1 ts. salt
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. light flavor olive oil (I didn't have coconut on hand)
1 c. boiling water

Cake Directions:
 If you don't have all those flours and starches on hand you can try your own gluten free blend.  I find this combination gives things the best flavor, doesn't taste too starchy or like regular gluten free things. So put all the dry ingredients in a bowl then all the wet ones. Stir....THAT SIMPLE!

Pour it into 2 greased round pans and cook on 350 for 30-35 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clear. Let it cool completely before frosting. 

For the frosting I used my food processor. 

Frosting Ingredients:
4 Tablespoons of organic sweet cream butter (softened)
2 Tablespoons of coco powder
2 cups organic powdered sugar
1-4 TB milk to the right consistency

Throw it all into a food processor or blender. Blend it up and then use it to frost the cake.

As you notice in the picture it is topped with a beautiful berry sauce and little chocolate covered berry balls. My friend made the berry sauce using old frozen berries from her freezer.  She made them into freezer jam following an online recipe, like this. It turned into a wonderful berry topping for things like pancakes, waffles or this decadent gluten free chocolate cake. We drizzled it on the top and plopped on a few organic chocolate covered berries from Costco and voila!  You have a beautiful, pretty simple, but gourmet good gluten free cake.

After you make your please comment and tell us about it.  How did you decide to decorate it.  Did it meet your chocolate desires and satisfy your family or friends gluten allergy needs? Happy eating!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pampered by my Kids

Yesterday was a hard day.  One of those days when everything keeps going wrong.  The little things.  It's always the little things that seem to get me down the fastest.  The big things I hold out hope and pray about.  Maybe God's still teaching me, come to me with the little things!!!

After a bad day with epic fits and tantrums I was exhausted.  I felt worn thin, beat down and the enemy satan kept whispering his lies of I'm not a good enough mom, not a good enough home maker, you know what I mean I'm sure. We all have those days. First thing this morning when I woke up there were those lies striking again, "Your kid's rooms are so messy you can't see the floor, you don't even know what toys they have or don't have."  I shared my struggle with my husband.  He prayed for me once again, as he had the night before.  Then I laid in bed willing myself to get up and face the day.  God sure gave me a good husband!  He went and talked to the kids, apparently told them mommy really needed to feel loved today.  I got up and slogged to get dressed and get breakfast on the table.  Suddenly my kids were bringing me cards that said "I love you Mom." My oldest kept asking how she could help me.  Talk about a 180 degree change from the day before.

Then at dinner time my girls helped cut and peel potatoes and my son helped empty and fill the dishwasher.  When supper was over my eldest said, "Mom, I really want to give you a manicure and pedicure, can I?"  I smiled at her and said sure. She set up a bucket of cool water with epsom salt for me to soak my feet in while she buffered and polished my nails.  We were in the middle of the kitchen floor and I was in an uncomfortable chair.  So she brought me pillows and an eye mask.  My son saw what she was doing and said, "I want to help." So he got the lotion out and started rubbing my arm and my neck.  He started by squeezing the front of my neck, which was not exactly relaxing, but so sweet.  I directed him to the back of my neck or my hand and wrist.

When the youngest saw that her siblings were pampering me she wanted in on it.  I hear her say, "Mom, say EEEE." I said it with my blinder mask still on, as she thrust my tooth brush full of tooth paste into my mouth and started roughly scrubbing my teeth.  One arm is being held by my son as he's rubbing my hand and wrist the other by my eldest as she's painting my nails, I can't see and I'm trying to tell her through clenched teeth to please stop I need to spit. After spitting and gaining my eye sight I look at her. She's standing by me with sloppy pig tails and a big smile holding up my tooth brush, "I can brush them more now for you, Mama. Does your mouth feel clean?"  I burst out laughing.  I told her it felt great, perfectly clean, that I did not need anymore brushing, thank you so much. Instead if she wanted to rub my feet she could.  So I sat back down and was re-blinded while the kids pampered me.  I kept laughing thinking this was unlike any manicure or pedicure I'd ever heard of.

They then informed me that I was tired and now I needed to get on jammies and they were gonna tuck me in and read me a bedtime story.  All three of them took turns and I really did zonk out while one of them was reading.  I then woke up to pray with them and thank them for their sweetness and tuck my precious ones into bed.  My eldest looked at me and said, "Mom, did you feel loved today?"

Yes I did!  Moments like these make the days of mundane tasks, and all the hard days of raising kids and running a home worth it!  I am loved.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Gluten Free Brownines

So I messed up and did not take a picture of the most wonderful brownies.  Instead I set the pan down and they were devoured!  So you don't get a wonderful picture.  Imagine in your mind chewy, rich, chocolate brownies that have the perfect amount of crispy outside and gooey, fudgey inside.  That would be these brownies.  Perfection in the form of chocolate.

Not only are they wonderful, they are quick and easy to make.  I made them while rushing to get ready for church.  So that should tell you that you can make them while getting three kids dressed and taking care of a dog. 

Makes a large 9X13 pan of luscious gluten free brownies! 

1 c. melted organic sweet cream butter (unsalted or omit salt if using salted)
2 c. organic raw sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla (alcohol free is best)
2/3 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. rice or oat flour
1/4 c. potato starch
1/4 c. tapioca starch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Greese your large pan.
In a sauce pan melt 2 sticks of butter, stir in sugar, vanilla, eggs and cocoa powder.  Then mix in flours/starches, baking powder and salt. You'll have a nice sticky brown concoction.  Scrap it into your 9x13 pan.  Cook for 30 minutes.  Don't over cook of it will not be quite as fudgey.  Let it cool for at least 5 minutes. Then devour that gooey gluten-free goodness!

If you make it let me know what you think!  So far I have rave reviews from the potluck people.

Friday, April 24, 2015

A LONG time....

It has been a long time since I've updated anything.

Life has been busy.  Isn't it always.  There is always laundry to be done, kids to teach, food to prepare, houses to clean.  We also got a dog! Hip hip hurray.  So there's been walks to take, training to be done and we've had tons of visitors. I've also been trying to keep up to date on my teacher certificate. So I've been taking classes out of state and traveling back and forth.  Basically, life is busy and finding time for blogging can be difficult.  So today I say,  welcome back, to myself, and to any of you who've been wondering if I dropped off the planet.

Soon I will be moving everything over to my own domain! That's exciting right.  I hope to have a nicer design so it's easier to access my recipes and homeschooling ideas.

I wanted to share some freebies with you today! If you hop on over to All About Reading they are having a curriculum give away till May 1st!! Just click on my links to the side and you will be able to sign up for the giveaway!  I hope you win!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Teaching My Little to Count by 5's

My youngest recently turned five and she loves to do math with her brother and sister.  She is using Christian Light level 100.  She finished the first book last week and did a real test.  I'm so proud of her.  Part of learning to do math is learning to count by 5's.  We need it to count nickles, to tell time and it seems to show up all the time.  So I found some fun videos that were fun and helpful in counting by 5's.  I thought I'd share them with you today.  My favorite is dancing while we count by 5. 
I also found a game on PBS that has Curious George counting by 5.  Using his hand prints.  My little one loves it.  You can find those here.

Have fun teaching your little one to count by 5's.

Friday, February 13, 2015

How to Love your Husband

I've talked about sharing love with others, our kids and God.  Obviously not in the order of importance!  Today I want to share about loving our husbands.

As a women I want to be loved, and feel loved, special and important to my man. Yet what about when life is busy, when jobs keep him away, or when babies keep you from having time together?  What happens when you don't "feel loved"?  I've been married for 14 years and though I know my husband loves me there are plenty of times when I haven't felt loved. Feelings change.  Let's face it we are women and if you are anything like me you can feel like everything is wonderful and 2 minutes later feel like the world is falling apart.  We cannot base our life and our marriages on feelings.

 My husband and I have a covenant marriage.  It's a covenant before God.  We have vowed that we will be together for life.  So that means we have to work at our relationship.  We have to work through tough times and we have to be attentive to each other's needs.  Life will not always make things easy for us.  Let's face it we have a real enemy who want to steal, kill and destroy as the Bible says in John 10:10.  Do you think that enemy wants our marriages strong and thriving? Doubtful! Our marriages are supposed to reflect Christ's love for his Church.  When we have broken marriages it does not accurately depict Yahweh God and His great love for us.

So what can you do as a wife today?  You can follow what the Lord said in Ephesians 5:33.  We can respect our husbands.  So first we need to find out what makes them feel disrespected.  Most of us know the obvious; Don't yell at them, put them down or be-little them. What about when it's not so obvious.  Maybe they feel disrespected by something that you've never considered as disrespectful.  I suggest, you ask them if there is anything you do that makes them feel disrespected.  Ask this in love and be willing to listen.  It might not be easy to hear. But, you want a strong marriage, you want to honor God, so be willing to listen.  Ask the Lord to help you be respectful to your husband.  Ask him to equip you to show respect even when you may not feel like it.  The more respected he feels, the more he will show you love.  It's the cycle that Dr. Eggerichs explains in his book Love and Respect. It's what the Bible said all along.

So in practical terms I challenge you to try to show your husband respect today.  Make him is favorite supper, ask him how you can meet his needs.  Don't correct him when he's speaking.  Don't interrupt him, letting him talk.  Give him some alone time.  I know we all need alone time and you may be thinking, "Listen I'm the one who's been home with kids following me to the bathroom all day, I'm the one who needs alone time."  I feel you!  But our husbands are blessing us with working hard so we can be home with these little ones.  So, make him a drink and tell him you want him to take an hour to just be by himself and do whatever he wants to do.  I bet he'll be shocked if he's anything like my husband.  Do something today to show your husband you respect him and what he does for you, that's the best way to love our men.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Time with your real Valentine

This week I shared ideas for sharing love with other's and ideas for dates with your children for quality time.  What about time with the LORD.  How do you show God you love him? Do you spend time just praising God for who He is?

I have to say that when you spend time praising, without a list of requests it draws you nearer to the heart of God.  I do not do it enough!  I want to encourage you to have time today just praising God.  Lift your hands, your heart and your voice as you thank the LORD for all he has done for you.  Thank Him for salvation.  Thank him for loving you so much that He died and rose again to open the way to eternal life.  Just praise Him and draw near to his presence.

I know it's easy to get bogged down in the daily tasks.  It's easy to be distracted by the constant go of our culture and our to-do-lists.  Let's step back and take time to show God how much we love Him.  He should come first in our lives. Does he come first in yours? Often, instead our kids come first and God might be the last thought as we fall into bed at the end of the day.  My challenge for you this Valentines week, is to do something to show God how much you love Him. I'm challenging myself too.   Let's do it together.  Put Christ first and all things will gain the proper order out of that one choice.

If you need help with having a devotion time there are lots of great resources on line.  Check out Good Morning Girls or  Nancy Leigh DeMoss Radio for more resources.

Have a great week growing closer to your one true love, Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kid Dates

Let's face it we are busy people.  I am home all day with my kids, but in that time I'm not just mom.  I wear many hats.  I'm the teacher, the cook, the house keeper, the wife, the friend, the blogger and so many other roles.  So at the end of the day I sit back and think, "when was the quality time?"  All of us long for it.  All of us want quality time with our spouses, or a girls night out with our friends.  We long for quiet time to have with God, with no interruptions.  Just like we long for that quality time, our children long for it too. They want time when you're not directing them in math or keeping them task oriented or sending them off to play so you can cook, clean or blog.  They want special time with just you! How do you give your kids quality time?

In our home we have dates with our kids.  My kids love their dates. It's a time for them to be without their siblings and have my or my husband's undivided attention.  During their dates, I DON'T text or talk on the phone. I don't try to rush through.  I listen to them.  

Our dates have been as simple as me taking a child along to go shopping.  During the drive to the store I engage them in singing songs together or talking about whatever is on their minds.  While shopping I hold their hand, or sit them in the cart and look at them.  Make lots of eye contact, ask them questions, take time and laugh with them.   I usually will buy a little something for us to share that's not on the shopping list.  Maybe a cup of hot cocoa or a little pack of stickers.  

One of my favorite dates with my son we went to the store and bought a little model car set that had the wood pieces, glue and paint all in the kit, with stickers.  I bought a plastic table cloth and we then went to an ice cream shop.  We put the table cloth over the table to keep it free from paint and glue and we spent quality time building his cars, painting them and laughing.  Then we ate our ice cream and took our creations home.  Clean up was a breeze.  I wrapped up the table cloth and threw it away on my way out the door.  I made sure we sat where we were not facing the tv screens that seem to frequent ever shop.  It was such a great time and a great memory.  My son has those little cars on a shelf in his room and every time I see them I remember our special date.  I've done the same type of thing with my daughters beading or sewing or painting a picture together.  

Sometimes our dates are at night and Daddy and I get alone time with one child.  We might play a game together or watch a movie or make a batch of cookies.  Whatever we do we make sure that the child we are with knows they are special, they can talk to us about anything and we love having this special time with them.  All of our kids desire date time.  For me it's a time that I put all my other hats aside and focus all my attention, my love on my sweet child.  I love their date time.  I feel like it helps me connect more with my children, so I'm not always the teacher, or the cook, I'm their mother who adores them. 

How do you have quality time with your kids.  Do you do date nights? If you haven't I suggest you try one this week.  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Share Valentines Love

As I home school my kids I want to give them opportunities to share God's love with others. One way I have found is by doing something in our community. We have taken school time to make things to give to others.  In the past we've made cookies and taken them to fire fighters and said thank you for their hard work.  We've made crafts to give to elderly.  I want them to see that while learning everyday knowledge is important it's just as important for us to take the time to reach out to others.

With Valentines just around the corner I thought I'd share some little craft ideas that you could do with your kids or home school group with the intent to give them away. You could take them to a hospital or the local police station or post office or a local nursing home to let people know you're thankful for them.

I got my supplies all from the local Dollar Tree.  I got foam sheets, and cut them in half to be the cards.  They had foam sticker hearts that we used to make the birds and the dancers.  We used cupcake papers for the skirts. The love bugs are pom poms, pipe cleaners and glitter glue for faces.  It was all at the Dollar Tree.  You can spend a little but make a lot to share love this Valentines day.  The kids had fun creating their own sticker filled cards full of glitter too of course.  Let them have fun with it and tell them that it will bless the hearts of the people who receive it.

Here are examples of what we did:

Monday, February 9, 2015

Veggie Math Lesson

I was remembering how as a kid I went to see a colonial days exhibit where people were dressed up and acted out their daily lives.  The only thing I remember from the exhibit was making a string of vegetables.  I'm not sure why we sewed the veggies on a string.  I don't really even know what it has to do with colonial times.  All I know is it was fun, I made a necklace out of it, and enjoyed eating off it.  

So I got my kids set up at the kitchen table to make our own snack necklaces.  
I used durable sewing thread and a needle.  Each child had their own needle threaded, and had a cutting board to work on.  We put carrots, cucumbers, peppers and celery on our stings.  They practiced the skill of hand sewing and using thimbles while making a pattern out of their snack.  The math comes in for little kids with making patterns. You can also do addition and subtraction.  Like 4 cucumbers plus 5 carrots equals 9 veggies on the string.  Of course the easy subtraction comes into play as you eat the pieces off your necklace. 

Once their patterns were done I tied them around their neck, with a big enough gap for them to pull it over their heads.  They spent the day snacking on their veggie necklace.  

Next time you're doing patterning or teaching sewing or just want a fun snack try a veggie necklace!

   * Clothing disclosure: carrots will leave orange on shirts and skin. Have Fun!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Spa Birthday Party Fun

My oldest wanted a spa birthday party.  So last night 5 girls and their moms filled our living room and dinning room as we celebrated her birthday in spa style.  It was so much fun and such a blessing to be with other moms enjoying facials and manicures with our girls. If you want to have a great mother daughter party here are some ideas for you.

Make facial paste for each mom and daughter pair and set it aside in a small dish.  For each pair you will need: 2 Tb plain yogurt, 1 T honey, 1 Tb cooled chamomile lavender tea, and 4 Tb dried oatmeal.  Mix it up into a paste.  Place 4 cucumbers in the dish, 2 for the mom and 2 for the daughter.  
You will also need to have nail polish, clear coat and stickers or glitter set aside for the manicure time.  

We found spa decorations at Hobby Lobby and the Dollar Tree in zebra and pink theme.  To keep with the theme we made a zebra head poster size, and little cucumber cut outs on green paper to play give the Zebra a facial.  The goal was to get the cucumber on the zebra's eye, just like pin the tail on the donkey.  The winner got a lovely nail polish decorating pen prize.  

We had lots of yummy treats like pizza, fruit and veggie trays, iced tea, cheesecake and root beer floats.  

After serving supper we began the facials.  Moms gave their daughters the facial and rubbed the gooey mixture into their faces.  They laid on pillows they brought as I talked to them about their beauty.  Then it was time to wipe off their faces, and wash them off.  Girls then gave their moms a facial and read what my daughter wrote for the moms.  Moms and daughters took turns doing manicures on each other.  Then the girls played the zebra game, had cake, opened presents and just goofed around dancing and having good girly fun!  

Here is the lesson for girls we did.
As you lay here with your facial on I'm going to read you what God says about beauty in the Bible.

1 Peter 3:3 says  "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight."

 You are such beautiful girls on the outside and the inside. You are slowly changing into young women. As you do our prayer for you is that you don't look to magazines, television, or even friends to show you how to be beautiful or to define your worth. Our prayer is that you always look to God. You are HIS and HE loves you. Is it wrong to look nice on the outside, of course NOT, God wants you to take care of your body, but true beauty comes from within. Your body will change and sometimes you'll feel awkward, maybe you'll get pimples or maybe you'll be smelly or maybe you'll just have a bad hair day, and none of your clothes will feel right or fit right. In those times remember that God made you and he loves you and your true beauty is when you have a gentle and quiet spirit. Your true beauty comes when you show God's love to others and when you spend time with him.So as you lie here with your facials on relaxing, think about God's great love for you, know that you are beautiful and precious to him. Think about how you can have a gentle spirit.
The lesson for moms while they laid with their facials on was written by my daughter.  She's now 9, but full of insights.

Here's her lesson for moms:
No need to be beautiful you already are. Moms are always a shinning star. What matters most of all is the inside. How you act, and that's about all. No need for make up and curling irons, cause God loves you how you are. Although it's fun to pretty up, your heart should be prettier. Read God's word and pray everyday, and help guide us, your daughter, along the way, so we can also be the shinning star, that you know we are.  
I hope you will be able to be blessed by doing a mother/daughter spa day either for a birthday party or just for some girly fun with your child or grandchild.  As you do remember that true beauty doesn't come from what you put on, but what's within your heart.  May you shine with Christ's love today and know you are beautiful! 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

My Weekly Menu

My husband and I are on a budget yet we want to make sure we eat healthy and gluten free.  I go shopping once a week after I meal plan.  I have found that meal planning and detailed shopping lists save us lots of money.  Of course, also not going shopping on an empty stomach helps!  I usually shop at Costco, Trader Joes and Natural Grocers.  Between the three stores I can get the best prices and a good selection of organic and gluten free foods.  We buy all organic and gluten free, so if it doesn't say it is below, just assume. We have a lot of the same types of foods each week.  For example, each week there is some type of pasta, maybe it's tuna noodle casserole, or cheeseburger pasta or spaghetti squash and meat sauce.  I always know I need a meat, noodles and sauce each week.  We also have baked chicken each week.  I might add different seasonings, it may be a whole chicken or just breasts, but I know each week we will have chicken and potatoes and a vegetable.  I thought I'd share one of my weeks with you so you can get ideas to create your own meal plan that is cost effective, and not full of things kids won't eat.

Here's my menu for one week:

 Breakfast- Gluten Free Puffin cereal.  On Sundays I need something quick so we can get to church on time.  I then brought slices of pineapple and melons with to church for their Sunday school snack.
Lunch- Taco Salad, with organic corn chips, organic ground beef, lettuce, raw cheddar, and red peppers, organic sour cream and salsa on the side.  
Supper- We had a breakfast for supper night and did turkey bacon, poached eggs, and home made gluten free cinnamon rolls
Snacks- carrot sticks and apple slices with nut butter

Breakfast- oatmeal
Snack- apples
Lunch- shredded chicken sandwiches on gluten free bread,  (the chicken was from a whole chicken I cooked on Sat. ) apple sauce, carrot sticks, and a gluten free molasses cookie
Dinner- Gluten free pizza using my recipe

Breakfast-left over cinnamon rolls and eggs
Lunch-almond butter and jelly sandwich on gluten free bread, apples, carrot sticks
Dinner- baked chicken, mashed potatoes and steamed mixed veggies
Snacks- yogurt with berries

Lunch- organic hot dogs, french fries, carrot sticks
Dinner- Cheese Burger Pasta: I use brown rice/flax noodles.  Cook the noodles, and brown ground beef.  Then in a casserole dish I mix 1/2 the noodles, 1/2 the beef, whipping cream, sour cream, salt and cheese.  I mix up another dish with the rest of the noodles, beef with whipping cream and spaghetti sauce, diced peppers, and covered with cheese. I bake both of these for about 20 minutes on 350.  One of my children are allergic to tomatoes so thus I make two separate dishes when we do a spaghetti type dish.
Snacks-apples and yogurt

Breakfast- eggs on gluten free bread toasted in the oven (we don't have a toaster).
Lunch- Left over pasta
Dinner-Chicken soup. I use organic broth from Costco, and add chicken, potatoes, cook until soft and then add frozen veggies.  I also throw in any left over meat or veggies.  
Snacks- apples, carrots, yogurt

Breakfast- Gluten free cereal with bananas in it.  We like puffins, or Kind granola
Lunch-Left over soup
Dinner- Tacos with non gmo corn shells, organic beef, shredded lettuce and peppers, along with raw cheese (I get mine from Trader's cheaper than Azure or other coops and it tastes good.)
Snacks: vitamin smoothie: which has mixed frozen berries, yogurt and milk along with vitamin green powder, and kind bar.

Breakfast- Gluten free pancakes, turkey bacon and eggs
Lunch-relish tray with carrot sticks, sliced cheese, turkey peperoni slices, olives, apples, cucumbers
Dinner-Gluten free chicken pot pie.  I buy a gluten free frozen two pack of pie crusts.  I then follow the recipe on the back, except I use potato starch to thicken the gravy.  I use chicken, potatoes and mixed veggies.  I use a bag of frozen mixed carrots, peas and corn.  I do sautee them in oil with onions before adding them to the gravy.  I use the second pie crust as a top, I have to re-roll it out after thawing it and then lay it over the top and vent it.  This meal takes a little more prep time but it has become a FAVORITE!  I usually have the most time to prepare dinner on Saturdays.  
Snacks- fruit, kind bars, and sometimes air popped pop corn for a family movie night or maybe even some ice cream.  

I do not usually make deserts with my meals, but I do usually bake a desert about once a week, either cookies, apple crisp, cinnamon rolls or something sweet.  I usually bring it with to events so we don't have the temptation of eating all of it ourselves.  We can literally do that in one sitting! 

I hope this list of menu ideas helps you.  I know when I first went gluten free there were all these crazy menu plans with foods I'd never heard of or tried.  I knew I needed to stick to basic things I knew my family enjoyed but tweak them to be gluten free, organic and healthier.  

Good luck in your menu planning!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


I had a scare.  My children took off into the forest without permission.  They didn't take their older sister who could have helped them back.  They ran as fast as they could deeper and deeper into the forest. Trying to hide, wanting to stay longer with their friends, they disappeared.  I called for them and they did not answer.  The search began. My heart pounding, praying they were safe, they hadn't gone too far or gotten hurt falling down the sometimes cliff like terrain.  I prayed and wanted them safe, but I was also filled with anger.  How dare they run off without permission.  How dare they go deeper off the path, knowing it was forbidden.  The anger welled up more, as I called to them and they refused to answer, hiding, purposely not wanting to be found.  When I did find them my heart was filled with two great emotions; one of thanksgiving for their safety and one of anger.  I wanted to grab them and hold them tight, crying over them to never scare me like that again.  The other feeling of great frustration filled with disgust.  Angry they had disobeyed me and another adult and purposely forged deeper and deeper into the woods with no regard for their safety or obeying, just doing as they pleased.  These two emotions waged war inside.  How could I show them I love them and I'm so glad they are safe, and yet make sure they get the point that what the did was so wrong.

I wonder, how many times do we run from the path that God has for us, paying no mind to the possible dangers that lie ahead?  How many times does God call out to us, crying out in agony wanting us safe and we ignore his voice?  How often do we hide from God and his truth, his justice and his mercy because we rather do our own thing? Do we hide in the woods of cyberspace or our business?

I told my kids that just as they went off the right path and I searched for them, that God always searches for us.  Just as they had consequences for their disobedience, we too have consequences when we disobey God.  Just as I held them and thanked God for their safety and forgave them, so God draws us into his arms, and forgives us.

As I pondered the events of the day I wondered what God might be showing me.  God help me not to wonder from you, help me to listen for your voice calling me back to you if I do stray.  Thank you God that you protect me daily from things I'm completely unaware of.  The longer I parent the more parallels I see between our relationship with our children and God's relationship with us.

What are your children teaching you about Christ today?  If you are running, turn back to Jesus, he's searching for you, calling you and desires you safely on the right path.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pass on the Blessings

God's timing and conducting of events is always so amazing to me.  For over a month I held on to a gift card wanting to go use it.  I wanted to buy myself clothes.  Day after day, week after week I'd get frustrated that I couldn't go shopping alone.  Let's face it bringing 3 kids along to try on clothes is not exactly fun or relaxing.  Well, finally, last week I was able to use that gift card.  I ended up alone, at night, heading home from dropping a friend off at the airport.  All of this was pretty unplanned, but NOT to God.  As I wandered around the store a women came very near me looking at clothes.  I could smell cigarette smoke on her being allergic, that normally makes me move farther away.  Yet in that moment God spoke to my heart.  He said, "I LOVE her."

I thought about God's words and let them sink in.  Of course we all know God loves everyone, but to feel it in that moment.  To think that he does not look at her and see what the world sees, he does not smell her and move away.  She is beautiful and fragrant to the LORD, her creator, and he LOVES her.  As I pondered that I nodded to myself thinking of all the ways God has recently shown me his love.  The many blessing he's poured out on me.  Just as he loves me, or my children he loves the stranger in the store.  Just as he wants to bless me, he wants to bless her.

As I tried on clothes I felt the LORD nudge at my heart again.  I felt as though he was saying to me, give your gift card to her.  I stood in the dressing room thinking, "Wait a minute God, I've been trying to get here for over a month.  I could use this and even if the only thing I need is jeans, I could always buy shirts for my husband or clothes for my kids.  Are you sure you are telling me to do this and it's not just some random thought in my own head?"  The thought came to my mind to put out a fleece, like Gideon did.  So I said, "Ok LORD, if you really want me to give her this card I will, but I want to know you are really telling me this, so if I am close enough to her to touch her, like I run into her, then I'll know you are actually telling me this, I won't purposely go looking for her God, but if you put her in my midst I'll know this is your desire."  I walked out of the dressing room fulling expecting to run smack into her.  I did not run into her.  I went up to the counter with my one pair of jeans, the only thing I really needed and purchased them.  I saw her across the store and wondered if I should go up to her.  Then I thought about what I prayed and I finished my purchase.  As I finished I turned around and she was right behind me waiting in line.  I could reach out and touch her if I wanted to.  So I handed her the gift card.  It still had just about $50.00 left on it.  I told her I really felt like I was supposed to give it to her.  She kept saying, "Really?" staring at me as if she was in shock. The cashier also seemed shocked.  She then said, "Wow, I just had most of my belongings stolen, literally almost all I own.  Thank you."  I nodded and walked out of the store and went about my business thanking God that he chose to use me to bless another daughter that he loves.

The next day as I went to check the mail there was an anonymous card telling me thank you for being used by God.  In it was the 50.00 I talked about last week.  God knew the timing.  It was no surprise to him that I wouldn't be able to go shopping till that night.  It was no surprise to him that I would give about 50 dollars and turn around and be blessed with it back the very next day.  It made me think of Abraham when he was asked to sacrifice Issac.  God knew he would provide a sacrifice and that Issac would return home with his father unharmed, but he was testing his obedience. 

When we are ready to obey God he uses us to bless others and many times we are blessed in the process.  Sometimes physically and sometimes our reward waits in heaven but either way the LORD delights in our obedience.  I want to delight Yahweh God, don't you?

May you be open to the LORD this day, listen to HIS voice and be ready to be used to bless others.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Obedience Leads to Blessing

God calls us to not just believe in our faith, but to act out our faith.  Faith without works is dead.  Recently God has been stretching my faith, and asking me and my husband to live our faith out in sacrificial ways.

My birthday was coming up and we had discussed going out to eat as a family to celebrate.  My husband was putting aside money for us to go to a nice restaurant with a live mariachi band. As the day drew near for my birthday, it also drew near to my hubby's coworker's last day of work.  My husband had felt the LORD nudging at his heart to give his co-worker a Bible before he left.  This co-worker was from India and not a follower of Jesus, but they had many wonderful conversations about Christ.  He was praying, unknown to me, about whether or not he should get this man a Bible.  I came to him as God placed it on my heart that he should give him one as a parting gift.  The only money available for the Bible was the money put aside for my birthday dinner.  I told my husband it was way more important to me to see this man have God's word, than to go out to eat. So faithfully we gave up a night out for a better cause.  After getting the Bible there was money left over and my husband thought, "I can still do something for my wife with this bit of cash."  As he was heading to work he came across a very cold, homeless man on one of the coldest days this winter.  He felt the LORD nudge at his heart again to give this man the rest of the money.  He wrestled with the idea asking, "Really God? I mean I don't know what he's going to do with the money."  He felt the LORD say to him, "Just obey me."  He proceeded to give this man the money and the man looked up at my husband and thanked him, full of gratitude and told him, "I'm going to go eat right now, really, I've been so hungry and I'm going to get some food, thank you."

It is not our job to question what God says, our job is to obey.  Sometimes it may seem crazy or it may cost you something you were looking forward to, but God's way is ALWAYS best. 

After our obedience God blessed us in many many ways.  In this week alone multiple things have happened!  I thought how nice it would be to have patio furniture and told God I knew if it was something we were to have he would provide in HIS timing.  Literally the next day I got a call that people were moving and would we like their patio furniture for FREE.  It was delivered that night. An envelope came in the mail with 50.00 cash in it, completely anonymous!  These are the types of things our AMAZING, ALL POWERFUL GOD does.  He knows our needs, he uses us to provide for others and he blesses us when we are obedient.  What a great God we serve.

May you praise him with your obedience today!

Samuel said, "Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams"
1 Samuel 15:22

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Praise from the Mouths of Babes

As I was leading my children through our Bible time I thought about the importance of taking time to praise the Father with them. We have been studying the parable of the sower and the wise and foolish builder. We've talked about the importance of having the right type of heart before God, being the good soil and following his word like the wise builder.   After we finished the Bible lesson instead of moving on to math, I told them we were going to praise God together.  I told them that they could jump and shout and sing to Jesus.  We started singing and dancing and praying and shouting to God telling him we love him.  I put on some music, some was fast like Shake, and Take the Shackles off my Feet.  We also did a lot of Hillsong United Kids, like Jesus You're My Superhero.  I watched as my kids jumped and danced and sang and shouted to the Lord. 

My son, who's only 6 came to me while he was singing and praising and he said, "Mom, I feel like I'm the good soil while I'm praising God and my roots are going deep.  You know Mom this is more important than the other stuff we were gonna do today.  I could just praise God all day."  I wanted to cry as I listened to him explain this to me with enthusiasm. 

I thought of Jesus saying out of the mouths of babes God ordains perfect praise.  They get it.  They are not hindered in shouting and jumping and praising God.  We to should come to the Lord like little children knowing that what he has for us each day is better and more important than anything on our to do list. 

Thank you God for using my little boy to remind me of that.

But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they became indignant and said to Him, "Do You hear what these children are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read, 'OUT OF THE MOUTH OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF'?"
Mathew 21:15-17

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Praise Him

I have seen the power of praise.  When you truly praise the LORD, and draw close to him nothing else seems to matter.  Your circumstance may not change but your heart will. 

I think of how hindered I feel sometimes in praising the LORD.  While in church surrounded by other believers I have worried more about what the people around me may think than desiring to please my God, and my creator.  There are times when my spirit moves within me and I want to shout, to dance, to jump up and down at the awesomeness of Yahweh.  Yet my flesh stops my spirit.  I think,  "wait a minute, I can't do that.  I'd look crazy.  People will look at me, what will they think." Why do I worry about what people would think.  Was I created to gratify people, or was I created to serve a mighty God.  Do I have a spirit to keep it trapped inside my flesh to only do what I desire to do, or do I have a spirit to be united with the Spirit of a Living God, to glorify HIM and draw near to HIM.  

I think of David returning with the arch of God, leaping and dancing in the presence of the LORD.  He wasn't down cast, he wasn't containing his spirit. He didn't sit, hands in lap, saying in a calm voice, "well praise the LORD we have the arch".  No, he was leaping for joy before the GOD he loved.  When David returns to the palace, to his wife, she rebukes him for dancing.  Being more concerned with the flesh she thought he looked foolish and was bringing shame to himself.  How dare he dance like that in front of common people.  She tried to dampen his joy and excitement in the LORD.  I don't know about you but I don't want to be like his wife.  I don't want to dampen the joy of those around me and I don't want to be so stuck in the flesh that I cannot be moved by the spirit.  I want to be like David. I want to dance and leap before the LORD. 

Will you praise the Lord today with dancing and shouts of joy?

Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre. 4Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. 5Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
Psalm 150:3-5

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Everything that has Breath, Praise the LORD

 I shared how at times I have battles in my mind, as many of us do, and must praise HIS name to break free from the lies and have victory.  I am reminded of David and how he wrote Psalm after Psalm many times beginning with the feeling of helplessness and ending with mighty declarations of praise.  I think of Jesus himself who healed and taught and then went away to the wilderness to pray, worship, praise Father God before going back into the daily grind of meeting the needs of those around him. We all must praise the Father.

Over and over the Bible talks about all creation praising him.  When Christ was entering Jerusalem and the crowd was yelling, "BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." But Jesus answered, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!" (Luke 19:28-40)

Did you hear that.  The stones along the sides of the road, the rocks, these inanimate objects would cry out to God if we were silent.  They would praise the LORD,  because even they know they were created by a great and mighty God, Yahweh. In Psalm 148 it talks about each thing, sea creatures, mountains, stars, all created things praising our amazing God.  I see the trees waving their branches to our creator.  I hear the birds singing songs daily.  Can you imagine the great orchestra of created things praising our God.

 I found a video of what the stars sound like when high powered satellites are pointed at them and what whale songs sound like, and it's amazing to hear the sounds of creation. To think of all creation praising the LORD. Watching the video and having the opportunity to sing along with the stars and the whales to our glorious God brought my heart joy today and I wanted to share it with you.

Cry out to GOD, cry out to our creator, for HE is good!  Praise HIS name.  As you Praise him your heart will feel his presence, the loads you are carrying will melt away.  You can come into the presence of God through singing, and praising his name and that is an amazing gift.

Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
 Psalm 100:2

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Battles of the Mind

I'm having a hard day today.  I want to to think on what is good and lovely and instead I'm replaying tapes in my mind of tough, bad and sad days.  It's ironic really, I sat at the breakfast table as my kids talked about nightmares they hate and I said, "don't dwell on those things, God wants us to think about what is good and pure and honorable.  We have to capture those bad thoughts and throw them out."  Yet throughout the day I was dealing with un-redemptive thoughts and it was very hard to take them captive.

On days like today I replay things that happened as I grew up.  I replay the day my mother told me she hated me when I was a brand new teen already unsure and confused about life.  I replay the call as an adult where I told her if she wanted a real relationship with me, she'd have to work at it and take time to talk to me and gain my trust again, and she replied, "I'm not sure you're worth that." and she never called again.  I replay so many heart breaks and memories that I wish I didn't have and my soul yearns to be free of that.  I want good thoughts God.  I want pure thoughts and honorable thoughts, but for half my life it was filled with people speaking negative into me, hurting me and using me.  How do I separate those memories from who I am in Christ, for how I've been redeemed.

I know the battle plan.  Take the thoughts captive, replace them with praise.  Replace them with truth. I am loved, I am worth it.  I'm so loved and so worth it that Christ came down to earth, left heaven with all it's glory and became nothing but a man and then died a horrible death.  He says I'm worth it.  He says I'm loved.  He died so that I could be free from sin, from death, from hurt and live eternally in peace and joy and love with him.  There are no tears there.  I pray the memories of hurt are gone too.  Yet the battle plan is hard at times.  It's hard to replace the thoughts with the truth.  It's hard to believe the truth when you've been told how worthless you are for so many years.  So then the battle plan is to praise.  Praise for the good.

I praise Him.  I praise Him because I didn't end up the way I could have.  I praise Him that he rescued me.  When I was cast out, when even my high school didn't want me, when I was considered too high risk, He rescued me.  I could have ended up on the streets like my mother.  I could have ended up in jail, like so many family members.  I could have ended up an alcoholic or in an abusive relationship.  I could have followed in the foot steps of my blood.  But instead HIS blood covered me.  I praise HIM for HIS blood, that gave me forgiveness, that broke the cycle of the past, that said no, that's no longer your history, I AM. I praise HIM that I can be different, I can learn how to be, how to act, how to live as I follow HIS footsteps.

On days like today I can still praise, for God has done amazing things, and given me a life that some thought impossible.  What can you praise God for today?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sick and Tired

Just being real today.  My eldest has been sick all week and I'm drained. Having kids waking up throughout the night coughing and feverish is a recipe for disaster.  Goodbye, good night's sleep.  I think about how a little cold completely changes our routines.  The focus shifts from growing in our academics to just keeping up with the needs of the day.  I feel like I run through the day getting more tissues, more tea, more drinks, more chest rubs, more medicines.  I love using natural remedies and herbs, so there is getting those to be taken at the right times.  Making soup, making vitamin smoothies or pop-sickles to help the sore throats.  It seems like I'm constantly taking out trash of tissues, or vomit and doing laundry trying to keep all the germs from spreading. All of this for just a little cold.

Then I think about those going through serious sickness.  Cancer spreading throughout their bodies.  Literally fighting to live daily.  I think of my best friend as she battles cancer and begins another new treatment.  Chemo today.  I think of her having to sit for 5 hours as the chemo is pumped into her blood and body.  She's fought so hard, and used so many more natural means hoping to avoid chemo. I think of her having to surrender all daily to God knowing that only He knows what the future will bring and only he can truly heal her.  I think how hard it is in that circumstance to focus on small daily tasks when thoughts can easily be consumed with the sickness.

I think of the children in Africa, that I read about in Kisses from Katie.  I think about the sick that are dying alone, without anyone to care for them.  I think of the children with no mommies to rub their aching bodies or to make them tea or to just cuddle them as they sleep.  The ones that have no money for the medicines that will help them feel better and get better quicker.  I think of those who have no friends to bring them a meal or a blanket.

Even in our sickness I see our excess, our blessings.  My kids may be sick and I may be tired, but I know it's temporary.  I know we have the resources to get better.  I know we will soon return to our normal daily routine.  I am blessed with friends who pray for us and people who pick up some groceries when I can't get out of the house with sick kids.  I'm blessed with friends that have brought over soup.  I see these blessings and feel so humbled.  I am not worthy. I am not better than those who are truly sick and dying around the world, yet I have so many blessings.  I do not deserve it, I just happened to be born in America and surrounded by excess.  I thank the Lord for my blessings and I thank him for reminding me that even when we are sick and tired we still have so much to be thankful for.

Whatever you are going through today may you see God's blessings in the midst of it.  May you know that you are blessed and may you reach out to those around you and bless them.

1 Thessalonians 5:18  In all things give thanks for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Friend's Rock- From Buggins

I love friends.  They are fun, cool and funny.  We tell jokes and dance.  Mostly we sit and talk.  I think my friends are the best.  Sometimes when you are having a bad day friends cheer you up.  I know that I can count on my friends to keep secrets.  I love my friends and I hope our friendships never brake.

Well Good bye for now, and see you next time on Buggins Bable.

"Friends love at all times"  Proverbs 17:17

My almost 9 year old wrote the message above.  I hope you will be a good friend today, and remember that friends love at all times.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

Our Excess

I recently finished a book called Kisses from Katie.  If you haven't read it, I highly suggest you do.  It's a true story about a 19 year old girl who went to Africa and how her life was changed as she reached out to the people and children there.  Katie is now 26 I believe and she's still in Uganda changing lives as she says yes to Christ.

As I read her book the one thing that struck me over and over again was our excess.  I look around and I see toys scattered all over most of my house.  I see a fridge and freezer full of food.  I see piles and piles of laundry, showing me that I have plenty of clothes.  I see boxes in closets and corners full of stuff.  Stuff that we accumulate and carry around with us.  I know I am not rich by America's standards, yet I'm exceedingly rich compared to Uganda and most of the world.  I have always struggled within when I think about how much we have compared to most of the world. 

As I was reading my Bible the verse "And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God." Luke 6:20 hit me in a new way. The truly poor, the ones with out excess are the ones in the world right now that are more on fire for God.  The areas of severe physically poverty are the areas of amazing spiritual revival.  The more I read missionary stories the more I see it.  Those who have much and are rich physically lack spiritually.  They are so consumed with their stuff, and taking care of their stuff they don't have time for what's truly important, spending time with God. I think about how busy my laundry, and dishes and toys and electronics keep me.  I'm constantly having to clean up something, check on something, take care of something.  Those things that call to me often call me away from God.  It creeps into my quiet time, it fills my day so that I'm too tired or have too little to give afterward.  Yet you look at these countries that have nothing physically, lacking clothing, food, basic needs being met, but the people are blessed and overflowing spiritually.  They are craving God, looking to him for all their needs.  It amazes me.  I see why Christ said Blessed are the poor.  I see why the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

 I don't know anyone who desires to be poor.  Yet I do desire to be apart of God's kingdom.  I desire to press into God and to spend time with him.  I desire to grow and to change, and to be more like Christ.  I don't think I have to loose all my stuff to do it, or move to Uganda, but I do think I need to prioritize God over my stuff. I love missionary stories, LOVE them.  They are great at stretching my faith, at reminding me of who God is and at edifying me in my thoughts and my relationship with Christ.  

If you haven't read any missionary stories lately I suggest you do.  Start with Kisses From Katie, it will rock your thoughts and your faith if you let it.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Gluten Free, Dye Free, Princess Castle Cake

After we went through the lesson on what makes us God's little princesses we had a lovely tea party and of course cake.  This lovely pink and purple castle cake is in fact gluten free and dye or food coloring free.  I used my chocolate cake recipe (that is my standard go to for cakes) but doubled it.  I made two 9 inch round cake pans and then I used two round Pyrex dishes.  I baked all the cakes at the same time.  I let them cool over night and then cut off the tops and sides with a bread knife to ensure the cake was nice and soft.  I made a standard butter cream frosting, using organic butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, cream and a dash of salt.

We do not use regular food dyes.  All the FDC #'s are forbidden in our house.  That's a topic for another day.  But what little girl wants plain old white frosting for a princess castle, none that I know. Just because we're dye free doesn't mean we're color free!  For the coloring I used freeze dried blueberries and cherries.  I made them into a powder in my magic bullet.  The cherries were a bit of a problem as they still had juice inside and became leathery, so I took those and dehydrated them over night and then powdered them in the magic bullet.  The powder mixed in to the frosting very easily and gave it a wonderful slightly blueberry taste.  The top was a light pink as was the frosting between the layers and the rest was purple. This was the easiest and tastiest way I have found to color cakes.  I've tried the $9.00 box of "natural" food coloring and it tastes awful and doesn't work that great.  Coloring the frosting this way was actually my dear hubby's idea and it worked awesome.

 I got gluten free wafer cookies for the door, dye free sun drops and fruit slices from Whole Foods made the windows and decorations.  The tower is 3 gluten free ice cream cones frosted and placed together.  The flags are fun crazy straws.  This was the easiest castle we've every made.  It's not super elaborate, but it was perfect for my little princess.

If you are in need of a good food coloring, with out the processing, coal tar and number signs attached try freeze dried fruit next time.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

God's Princess Lesson

Today we are having a princess tea party.  As my little one planed and prepared for the party we talked about how we could share God's love with the little girls who come.  I hope all of you will enjoy this.  You could do it for a party or as a Bible study with your little girls.

We purchased little crowns, clip on earrings, fancy rings and wands or as I like to call them scepters. Whether you are young or old this is a great visual to remind you of God's desires for you.

You are God's princess because he is the King of Kings.  All princesses need crowns. We all know crowns go on our heads of course and in our heads we have all kinds of thoughts.  As God's princesses we need to have thoughts that are good.  God says, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8  After sharing this with your princess, place the crown on her head as a reminder to think on good thoughts. 

Of course little princesses need jewelry too.  Beautiful earrings can clip on to their little ears.  What are our ears used for? Listening and hearing of course.  God wants his princesses to listen to his voice.  Deuteronomy 15:5-6 says, " If only you listen obediently to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today the LORD your God will bless you as He has promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you."  We want God's blessing so we must listen to his voice.  The earrings will remind us to listen to God and obey.

All princesses have rings.  Place a ring on each hand.  We use our hands to pray.  The rings are to remind us to pray to God.  The Bible tells us in Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"

And finally princesses have wands, or what is called a scepter.  A long time ago kings would hold a scepter in their hands and if a person came to the king to make a request or wanted to be seen by the king, he would have to hold out the scepter to allow the person to come.  Do you remember Queen Ester, she waited to see if she could come before the king.  He looked at her and had favor for her, he wanted her to come to him, so he held out his scepter and she touched the tip of it.  Our little scepters are to remind us that God always wants us to come to him, we are always welcomed in his kingdom because he loves us so much.  Even when we do wrong or don't act like a princess he loves us.  Romans 5:8  "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

May we all remember we are the King's children and act like it today.  Be blessed as you think of his great love for you.  I hope you will do a Princess lesson with a little princess in your life. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

My ABC Book

I talked about the process of learning to read the other day.  I thought I'd share with you what I used with my kiddos as they were learning their letters.  Back in 2011 I put together an ABC book.  It's basically a letter a week book.  I found things from all over the internet to include, but I meticulously spent hours and days creating a publisher file.  I included what to do on what day and found composers and artists and bible verses to go with each letter.  Some of the pages I made completely from scratch. Other pages I found neat crafts and attached them to the page.  I have used this book with all my kids.  I didn't have it all together in a nice PDF for my oldest, but I used all the same things.  They have all LOVED it. 

I set it up so that you print it out double sided.  It's HUGE.  We printed A-L and had that bound and then printed M-Z and had that bound.  I took pictures of the things we did and added them to the "pictures of my week" page. The books became their ABC book/ and scrap book of their learning all in one. For Q week for example we made a mini quilt for my daughter's baby doll.  We took lots of pictures of her and put those in the book.  Sometimes I took a picture with the craft they made.  When we were on P week we went to the zoo and I got pictures of my kids in front of the Polar Bear and Puma and they went in the book.  All the pictures made it extra special. 

I have had multiple friends use this with their kids too.  I hope this will benefit you and your family.  It's full of fun crafts and a week worth of things to do for each letter.  I found a lot of the crafts or worksheets on DLTK website.  I decided to include the PDF I made here.  I hope you get as much enjoyment and use out of it as we have! 

 Letter of the Week Book!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Process is Important

My youngest daughter really wants to learn to read.  She doesn't understand that learning her letters and their sounds is part of the process.  The other day her two siblings were reading their Bible study books on their own answering questions.

She comes to me and says, "I looked around and they are all doing it all themselves, and I tried but I read it all wrong and so you have to read it with me.  And you should really teach me to read already you know!"

She's all of 4! I couldn't help cracking up with laughter.  She's too darn cute.  I told her I am teaching her to read.  She responded with raised eyebrows and massive skepticism.  I took out our letter cards s, a and t and laid them on the floor.  I had her tell me their sounds and then I put them together and she read the word sat!  She was so excited.  She did sat, mat and at.  We had to video tape it and send it to daddy.  Now she has a new found excitement for reviewing her letter sounds and doing phonogram cards.  She sees the bigger picture!

I pray, I will see each  mundane task God has me do actually has a bigger purpose.  I pray that you too, whoever you are, will see you have purpose.  As you do the dishes and laundry over and over, as you pick up the same toys over and over  remember that all the repetition and seemingly dull work really is for a greater purpose.  May God give you glimpses at how important your work is.  While my daughter wants to open the world of reading and go places quickly, she has to take it one step at a time.  While I say things like God use me, I want to change the world, I want to do missions and make a difference he says, "Serve your family, one step at a time, and you will be changing the world."

Be blessed today in the process, it's important too!