Sunday, November 30, 2008

Snow much fun!

The kids were looking forward to some fun time in the Canadian snow! Although it didn't snow much while we were there, there was just enough left on the ground to have some snowball fun. They had such a great time with their cousin.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Making more memories....

We have been enjoying our Thanksgiving holiday with my family in Canada. It was a spur of the moment trip but I'm so glad we came. I have had a chance to go visit my Grandma in the hospital and spend some time with her and Grandpa. We took the kids for a visit and it was wonderful to see my Grandma light up at the surprise visit! For a moment I was able to see the youthful person inside come alive as she shared some time with her great grandchildren. Grandma is not one to be confined to a bed....she would want to be down on the floor playing and holding her grandkids but unfortunately this time had to be different. The kids shared a hospital bed with her and colored pictures for her to keep and told stories of what is going on in their little world. She sat with a smile on her face soaking in their images and personality changes since their last visit several months ago. I sat in the corner soaking up my own images of a Grandmother who has made so many wonderful memories with me. I told the kids stories of Great Grandma's special cupcakes and delicious pancakes made in her iron skillet. I saw my Grandpa watching with love and concern at his wife who has difficulty catching her breath simply adjusting her position in bed. I think the great grandkids were able to help them forget about things for a short while and have some enjoyment again. I will take these memories back home with me and pray that I will get the chance to make more memories in the future with them.
Grandparents are very special people. Sometimes when life gets hectic and we make ourselves busy with daily activities and our own families, we tend diminish the importance of maintaining a close relationship with them. What a blessing it is for our children to still be able to make memories with their Great Grandparents...to hear the stories and have a bond with these people who have had an important role in helping us become the people we are today and who are having an impact on who they are becoming as individuals. Cherish these memories!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving - Day 5

When I start thinking of all the things I'm thankful for....the list becomes quite long!  I want to thank the Lord today for supplying ALL my needs.  He has given us a roof over our head, He has provided a job for my husband to pay all our bills, He has always met our financial needs, He provides food for every meal!  There have been many times we've wondered how God was going to meet a need but when it came time it was provided!  How awesome is our God.  He cares so much for me and continually shows me how much He loves me!  
There have been times when I go before the Lord to provide for a need and I feel ashamed for asking because I know I have failed Him in areas of my life.  But our God is not like that.....He doesn't give of Himself as a reward for doing well.  He gives of Himself because He loves me...even when I fail Him!!  That makes me all the more WANT to please Him.  I want to show God love and obedience because He has accepted me for who I am and all my shortcomings....all my sinfulness.  I give God all the glory for everything in my life.  It is only through Him that I can accomplish the things that I do.  
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope you have much to be thankful for as well!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving - Day 4

Another thing I thank God for is our health! Although we have to endure many medical issues year after year, I am thankful for the health God HAS given us. It seems as though right from the start of our marriage, we have suffered with medical problems. Right now we have been in the midst of a more than 2 year battle with a condition my husband is experiencing and the doctors don't know how to fix it....you have to love those ones huh! He has had over 8 surgeries now (we are beginning to lose count) and we really don't know when we will see the end of it. All we can do is trust God and know that He is in control of this situation and there is a reason and purpose for it. It is so very easy to take our health for granted until something goes wrong.
We are thinking of our grandmothers who are experiencing health issues right now and our father's who have each had to deal with medical issues in the past and ongoing. We remember all our loved ones in prayer for healing and recovery. We continue to pray that one day God will see fit to rid my husband of his condition. We thank God for the healthy niece we have recently added to the family and a healthy nephew a few months earlier. Oh how much we have to be thankful for!!

Thanksgiving - Day 3

My next thankful item are the wonderful friends and "family" God has brought into my life. We have a very supportive and close church family. We are a small congregation taught by a Godly man whose emphasis is bringing glory to our God! It is such a great feeling to know that you have so many wonderful people you can turn to at any time who are willing to be there for you! There have been so many times that many of us in the church, including ourselves, have had a need and people step up to the plate with willing hearts to serve. I thank God for each of them.
We also have been blessed with wonderful neighbors. Just to have the comfort of knowing you have someone close by willing to be there for you is a blessing. We have been able to rely on each other when circumstances arise and we enjoy our conversations together!
There are also our friends who may not be close by but we are able to share fellowship over the phone and through email. I enjoy being able to talk mother-to-mother to these ladies and be encouraged by them!

Thank you Lord for all of these individuals you have placed in my life.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving - Day 2

Onto my next item of thankfulness. It is not very hard to guess....my family is very precious to me. I thank God for the people that are in my life, the people God hand picked for me to share my life with.
I thank God for my parents who raised me up in a Christian home, who taught me Biblical principles, who love me and continue to help guide me. They are very special people and I thank them for all the love and time they have invested in me so that I have become the person I am today. I thank God for my siblings and the close friendship we have shared even after we have all moved out of the house and started our own lives.
I thank God for the man He brought into my life to be my partner, best friend, and lover. We have quite the story of how we met and dated. He being from the south and me from Canada, it was a LONG distance relationship! We spent many hours talking on the phone and flying back and forth to see each other. It did not take me long to realize this was the man God had in store for me to marry. I have enjoyed my life with him to the utmost and I love thinking about the years ahead for us. As for my children....what a blessing! For anyone who has had difficulty with pregnancies, I'm sure they can relate to the joy of finally holding your precious child in your arms. I am overwhelmed at times when I think of God's goodness to me and how undeserving I am. I thank God for allowing me the privilege of loving, raising, and nurturing our three kids.
I thank God for my Mother and Father-in-law. How special it is to have another set of Godly parents to share life with! And all my extended family on both sides. I have Godly Grandparents who are such a blessing to me, Aunts and Uncles who have given so much of themselves to me while growing up and into adulthood. I am surrounded by such a loving support system and people of wisdom. I thank God for each of you and love you!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thanksgiving - Day 1

I thought this being Thanksgiving week I would post each day of something I am thankful for. I am going to start with being thankful for the most precious gift given to me in all the world. On November 28 I celebrate my "christian birthday". It is the day I accepted Jesus Christ's free gift of salvation. It is the day I became His child! Because of my sin, I was condemned to hell but Christ went and died on the cross for my sin. Despite the fact that I will never love Him like He loves me, despite the fact that I will never be able to repay Him for His goodness, despite the fact that I fail Him every day....He loves me! He wants me! He wants to have a relationship with me and shower me with His blessings! How can we ever understand and comprehend that kind of love!!! I came to Him as filthy rags and He embraced me and rejoiced that I had become His child. It is an unconditional never ending love, and what a feeling....a comfort....a peace to know that He is my Heavenly Father and He is taking care of me. He is my Savior, my Lord, my King! I am thankful for the assurance that I will live with Him in eternity one day. How exciting that will be and a day I am looking forward to!
What a day that will be
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.
-Jim Hill

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I love a great find....


I am so thankful for this great deal!!! I have several curriculum books I need to get for our next year and to buy them new would just be so expensive. I have been searching ebay for discounts and could not seem to find the books I needed and when I did, they were going for the same price as buying them new. Yesterday I just happened to find these two books (which I need!!) that had just been posted for $19.00 (total with shipping....'like new'). These books are over $70.00 new! I couldn't believe it....perseverance has paid off. Thank you Lord for bringing these my way.
I love this series for our History work. (We have been using a borrowed copy) It is taking us chronologically through the Bible as well as adding significant times in our World History. I take this series make it a complete study by adding language art (she writes a report about what she has learned, writes out key verses relating to the subject), art work (draws something related to the study), geography (we find where it takes place and color a map of the area), and reading (I get her to read part of the story from the Bible). We have really been enjoying it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Crockpot Mac n Cheese

Company is coming tonight and a recipe I love to pull out is this one for Mac 'n Cheese. I can't take credit for this one though. I got it from my sister-in-law (not sure where she picked it up from). If you love mac 'n cheese and you have a crockpot, you HAVE to try this!!! It is easy to make and absolutely delicious! Here are the ingredients....

8 oz. Macaroni *cooked and drained
2 tbsp Wesson Oil * (I use olive oil)
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 large can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups sweet milk (whole or 2%)
2 eggs well beaten
1/2 cup melted margarine or butter
dash of pepper and salt

Spray crock pot with non stick cooking spray. Pour all ingredients in and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Stir completely right before serving.

Remember to use cooked macaroni!! My husband tried to make it once and forgot this step *smile*. I like to actually increase the macaroni to 16 oz and use 4 cups of cheese. You can also experiment with different pasta. We tried the spiral noodles and it turned out well.
As for the rest of the menu, it is shake and bake chicken, scalloped potatoes, corn, broccoli and rolls and finishing off with chocolate pudding pie! Yum.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Is there a boy somewhere in here???

Too cute!! I go and check on the kids before heading to bed and I had to take a double look. Where was he? If he could have fit more on the bed with him I sure he would have....

Update...

A quick update on both grandma's.....Grandma N in Canada will be leaving the hospital on Monday. The doctor's have told her she will probably have another heart attack within the next 6 months that will be too much for her body to handle. We would have liked to have had better news, but our God is in control. We are hoping there will be some way to make it up to Canada to visit....hopefully we can work something out.
My husband's grandma has seen improvement since suffering a stroke. Her left side of the body was affected from sight, to hearing, to movement of the limbs. She has been able to get some motion back in her arm and leg but will be undergoing physical therapy to try to improve this. We are very encouraged by this! We continue to pray for both of them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Grandmothers

We have had quite the start to this week already. My grandma in Canada went to the hospital with what they believe was a heart attack and now we find out that my husband's grandma has gone to the hospital with a stroke that has affected her left side. It is a reminder of how frail our earthen bodies are. We rejoice in the fact that both these women lean on their Lord and Savior during these times of unknown. They have both been an example to us, their grandchildren, as they have displayed their love for God throughout the years. We pray with them for healing, wisdom, a quick recovery, and the peace of mind that only our Lord can give. We love you both so very much!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mosaic art

We were going to be studying more about Egypt today and last night we headed off to Wal-mart to do our grocery shopping and just happened upon this mosaic art project in the craft section. It fit right into our study and thought it would be a treat for her to do. Of course it just happened to be Tinkerbell!!!! It was a little time consuming so Mommy assisted towards the end but she did a really good job herself. We went to the library and found some books about King Tut and his tomb, got to see some interesting pictures of mummification (didn't gross her out too much), learned all about the rituals of burying Pharoah's in the pyramids, and why the Pharoah's bury their treasure with them. I was telling her how they believe in the afterlife and what you bury goes with you into the next world....her response was "that's just silly!" Way to go sweetheart! That's what I like to hear. It was a great opportunity to ask her why it is silly and reiterate what the Bible tells us about death and eternity. Here is a picture of the finished product.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Did a tornado come this way?

Please tell me I'm not be the only one out there who can't seem to keep her house tidy!! It seems as though as soon as I clean up one room, the next one is a disaster zone. I have yet to find just the right balance between motherly duties, household duties, and reserving energy for my husband and myself! I have not been one in the past for making up weekly household schedules or meal plans but I'm thinking that might be a great start to dividing up my time in a timely fashion to reduce a little of the joyous chaos around here :-)
If anyone has tips that you'd like to share or has scheduling ideas, I'd love to hear them. I really want to get more organize so I'm using my time to the fullest. I wrote this poem last year and thought I would share it.


A Mother's Prayer

Dear Lord I need your help today,
My patience has run dry.
The kids seem extra rambuncious
I'm struggling to get by.

The laundry's in a heap and growing,

There's crumbs all over the floor.
The bathroom mirror has fingerprints
From the week before.

The dishes are piled high in the sink,
And the dishwasher is packed.
My ironing board is being used
For a book and magazine rack.

I can see dust bunnies under the couch
Mixed in with toys and blocks.
Under the chair there's more to be found
Like wrappers and missing socks.

It seems to be an endless cycle
With things that need to get done,
But no matter how my house may look
My kids are the important ones.

So Lord, I need an extra helping
Of tenderness and love,
So I can be the Mother I need
To be for my little ones.

Please help me show them that through the mess
And all the tasks I see,
That Mommy is happy, tender and loving
Cause Christ is shining through me!
-Alissa Lawrence

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fire Drill

We were learning about Fire Safety last week and I thought we would do an actually fire drill so the kids know exactly what do to incase there was a fire at home. I put the kids in their beds and then we went through each step together. After a few practice runs, they each got in their bed and Mommy went to her bedroom and pressed the fire alarm. They did a great job and it is something I am going to continue on a regular basis so they don't forget. Many years ago I heard a lady talking about teaching her young child a song about 911. I don't know exactly how her's went so we made one up very similar. If you have children, I highly recommend teaching them about dialing 911 at a young age! There are many stories of 3 and 4 year olds who have saved lives because they knew what to do in an emergency. We had a lot of fun doing our fire drill as well, especially doing it blindfolded (since you never know what could happen during the night). Here is our 911 song!
video

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mother Daughter Day

We were fortunate enough to have been given some "fun" money to go have a Mother, Daughter day to go shopping and spend some girl time together. We went to a couple stores and purchased some fun things, then finished off our day with a milkshake before coming home to the boys :)
She is getting to the age now where she is full of questions about anything and everything and can come up with some very interesting thoughts! I try to take every opportunity I can to get her to share with me what she is thinking and feeling, and to ask questions about any subject she wants. I want to instill this in her at an early age, so that it becomes natural and comfortable for her to discuss anything with Mommy. Can you imagine what a joy and delight it will be to have this same openness when she has reached her teenage years and beyond.
When I think of my kids growing up from a child to teen to adulthood, it can be a little scary. No matter how much we teach our children about Christ and their need of Him, it comes down to their desire to want that relationship with Him. I can guide, I can arm them with knowledge, I can be an example, but I can't make that decision for them. All I can do as a mother is to get on my knees every night and pray for my children.
The years seem to be going by faster and faster with each passing year. Maybe a sign I am getting older! I often need to remind myself to enjoy these precious moments with my kids while they are young.....to stop and enjoy the giggles, the stories, the make-believe.
We had a fun day together us girls. Hand in hand looking through all the pretty clothes...and finally she spotted some Tinkerbell pajamas. So with our "fun" money she splurged on a few girlie items and we were able to spend some wonderful moments together growing closer as Mommy and daughter.

Her new Tinkerbell pj's

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wish list...already?

It's hard to believe we just have a little over 5 weeks till Christmas. We have been getting magazines and catalogues in the mail lately from toy stores. The kids have already started their wish lists, going through and circling the items they would love to have. So far our daughter is still interested in princesses and Dora but also wants a cash register and an Easy-bake oven. We have been working on counting money in Math and she loves to play "bank". She said she wants the cash register to help her learn more about money (Nana already has dibbs on this gift). She also has shown a big interest in baking and has stated she wants to be a baker when she grows up. For her daddy's birthday this year, I gave her a cake mix box and let her go to it. She read the directions, got her ingredients and made some very delicious cupcakes! (also putting her fraction skills to good use measuring out the ingredients!)
Our son is very much into anything to do with dinosaurs and GI Joe. He's now gotten to the point where he will act things out and have conversations between his action figures. Very cute to watch.

The mommy in me wants to lean more towards something more educational :-) We have been getting some of the Nest Entertainment DVD's from the library which are animated stories from the Bible. This week's favorite is Esther, John the Baptist and Samuel. The library actually carries a big selection of these videos. Nest Entertainment also does a history series about important historical figures like presidents, Galileo, Christopher Columbus etc....
Mommy's wish list is books, books and more books!! I have so many homeschooling books I'd love to get for our upcoming year. I did really well this past year getting most of our curriculum through Ebay. I don't think I paid more than half of what these books were brand new. It was just time consuming but well worth it!!
But let's slow down and enjoy Thanksgiving first! It's always enjoyable to sit down to a turkey dinner with family and spend the afternoon together. We have so much to be thankful for. God has been so good to us as He has in the past, continually meeting our every need. I look forward to sharing what I am thankful for but for now I will leave you with some pictures of the kids making daddy's birthday cupcakes.

Chore charts

I tried this once before when the kids were younger and it didn't work so well at the time. I think definitely now that they are a little older, this will work much better. I don't like to have to constantly remind the kids to clean up after themselves, tidy their areas etc. I'm hoping that with these charts, they will see what their duties are in the house and that they are helping to make the household run smoothly. As they get older we will adjust their charts with more responsibility. I have posted these in their room as a reminder. Since our 3 year old can't read I have used pictures to help him remember.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Skirt...


And now a skirt....out of a t-shirt!! I don't know why I didn't think of that before. I just cut from under the arm holes straight across (size small woman's shirt) and put elastic around the waist. Easy, quick and cheap!! Also made a matching pair of pants for her brother. She couldn't wait to wear it. It was so cute to hear her at piano lessons today telling her friends "You'll never guess how mommy made my skirt....out of a SHIRT!!"

Geography made fun


We have lots of fun with Geography. I am actually learning so much myself (one subject I never excelled in during school) . We are going through the book Missionary Stories with the Millers. These stories are teaching us about the importance of prayer, God's protective care, relying on God for our every need, and the importance of teaching other's about God's Word. After we read our story, we get out our globe and find the country our missionary lived in. We then go to our laminated map (from sonlight.com) and write their name on the country where they live. When we are all done with this book we just wipe the map clean and start all over again with a different series. It has really helped her learn about places all over the world and is teaching her how wonderful our God is!

Little People....Big Fun!


I thought these were so cute and knew the kids would have a ball with these for hours! I found them at the Dollar Store and it came with 4 Little People Dolls and 3 pairs of cut out clothes for each doll. They've been playing with them all morning...giggles and conversation. Music to my ears!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Success!



And here they are...the pants fit perfectly!! I love this idea.
Can't wait to make more. I'm sure it would work wonderfully
for skirts too. Just need to make the waist.
I'll have to try it :-)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pants so easy!

I am a crafty person meaning I enjoy crafts! I enjoy cross-stitching, sewing, scrapbooking, etc. When I get a chance, I really want to start a quilt but that may be when I have a little more free time :) I came across this blog on how to make children's pants using old t-shirts. I love it!! Since we just got rid of 2 bags full of clothes to Goodwill, I ran out to Wal-mart and picked up 3 shirts for $3.00. I couldn't wait to try this and WOW...I whipped up a pair of size 12month pants tonight in under an hour. Can't wait to see how they'll look on him tomorrow! For instructions visit here

Afternoon Walk

We have the perfect neighborhood to go for a walk. There is only one entrance in and out of our small subdivision and the road goes in a circle with a nice hill for that extra leg workout (especially when pushing a stroller!!) I finally remembered to bring my camera with me but we have missed the peak of the autumn colors.

Monday, November 10, 2008

John 3:16 (3 year old version)

Add Image
video
Here is our 3 year old saying his bible verse
John 3:16. Hopefully you will be able to make
most of it out :-)
It is so precious to hear them memorizing God's Word!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Last 9 weeks!

So we are heading into the last nine weeks of homeschooling! Our school year began back in May and this was our first registered year with a homeschool association. Our oldest is completing grade one and it has been such a journey for the both of us! To boast on her a bit....she is a fantastic kid! (a little bias here no doubt :-) She has always been eager to learn and she picks most things up so very quickly. For the most part it has been such an exciting year for both of us. I am surprised at the amount of information this young girl can process! We have actually been moving on to grade 2 work in some areas. I am so very proud of her.
As for me....well my journey through this process has been humbling and such a learning experience, not only about how to teach a little one at home, but the things I have learned about myself. The Lord has brought me a long way since May and I thank Him so very much!! There were times I was feeling so overwhelmed wondering why in the world I ever thought I could manage something like this. I was trying to accomplish things in my own strength instead of leaning on the Lord. Oh how quickly the Lord showed me my need of Him in EVERY area of my life. When we invite the Lord in to guide our every footstep, things go so much smoother and there is such a peace and comfort He gives us. Philippians 4:13 says "I can do all things THROUGH Christ which strengtheneth me" .... I like the word 'through' because it gives us the idea of all encompassing...from beginning to end, top to bottom, all around us. When we go through something, we are in the midst of, not stepping over, not walking along beside, but surrounded by. God doesn't want to be called upon only during the difficult tasks, nor does He say "I've helped you for awhile now...you're on your own for a few weeks!" How thankful I am that He is always there waiting and wanting to give all that He has, I just need to ask!! We have access to a never ending supply of God's goodness and love. What a wonderful Heavenly Father and I can say on the authority of the Word of God that I am one of His own! A beautiful thought as I head off to bed and prepare for the last nine weeks......

Cousins

Here's a few pictures from tonight of the cousins
(minus our Canadian one's)



Saturday, November 8, 2008

Here comes trouble...

How much trouble can one little boy get into?





Caught in the act!

New addition...another niece!


Laelyn Jean Smith
born November 8, 2008
at 2:49am
8 lbs 20.5 inches

Friday, November 7, 2008

Let them paint....(then clean up!)

Art class is not something we do everyday
(besides their usual coloring and drawing)
but I try to incorporate it often in our schedule
as a planned activity where we can discuss
things relating to our art project. Today was
dinosaurs! A topic which both of them love to
talk about and learn about. They painted
the Triceratops, the Pteranodon,
the Deinonychus, and the Allosaurus.
We are very much looking forward to going
to the Creation Museum in December! http://www.creationmuseum.org/plan-your-visit/exhibits
It will be enjoyable and educational with no
fear of "millions of years ago" throughout our
tour. The Bible is their History book!




Thursday, November 6, 2008

Daddy's Shoes


It always makes me laugh when the kids walk around in Mommy and Daddy shoes. Little girls in high heels, little boys in size 13 mens footwear! Such a sweet reminder about the importance of praying for our children to become the men and women God wants them to grow up to be. What an awesome responsibility for us as parents to set the example of Godly manhood/womanhood. One day they will fill those shoes and my prayer is that their feet will be set on the path God wants for their lives and a heart ready and willing for what He has in store for them. But for now, I take joy in the sound of little pattering footsteps running through the house......