July 31, 2011

Thoughts from my dad

My dad is called upon quite frequently at his church do to the children's message.  He does not take this job lightly and always comes up with amazing ways of teaching the kids something important about God.  This week it was about worship.  He told me he came up with a prop while sitting outside in the back yard relaxing.  He was looking at the corn stalks and noticed how their 'arms' were all raised up to God, growing up and praising the creator.  Then he said to think about all kinds of plants and how they all have it figured out, in order to grow, they must grow up to the sun, the source of their light, the source of their every being.  If corn stalks have it figured out, how hard is it for us to figure out?  Wow!  I don't think I will ever look at another corn stalk again without thinking of praising our God for all he gives for us.  Thanks Dad, for not only teaching the kids, but for teaching us!
Psalm 150:6
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.




July 6, 2011

My Dream Board

My WW leader challenged us to create a dream board.  I thought it sounded like fun so I gave it a try.  According to her, if you make one of these...things will start happening!  If you want to make one for yourself, check out Oprah.com and type in Dream board to make your own.  
Goal #1-Meaningful devotions and prayer at the supper table
Goal #2-Better communication with my husband
Goal #3-Run two 5K races
Goal #4-Tone my arms
Goal #5-Buy a music device
Goal #6-Read at least 2 books a month
Goal #7-Save money
Goal #8-Be a more patient mom

June 13, 2011

Why bad things happen

Last night at church Dave Stravers from Mission India preached.  He talked on John 9:1-12 with major emphasis on the first three verses.  His sermon was about why bad things happen, such as the horrible social system that India has.  I can, as I'm sure many other people, can think of so many things going on in my own life and in the world around me that I constantly wonder...why is this happening.  That is exactly what Jesus' disciples did when they encountered yet another blind person.  They asked Jesus, "Who sinned?" They wanted to know why this man was blind, what did he do or his parents do to deserve this.  How many times do I ask God that when something bad happens, or even worse, how many times do I say "that happened because God is not happy with ______________."  I am really good at doing that.  But again, God's word "slapped me in the face" (in a good way, don't worry!) and here is His amazing response to the disciples and to us:
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:3.  


Whoa...that verse took my breath away.  Of course I know there are times when God uses things in our lives to get us back on track with him.  But what about all the other amazing things that he does just so that we may see His miracles working!  I think it's time I start looking for the works of God being displayed instead of trying to find the blame.  

June 2, 2011

Watermelon Love!


video
Aaron loves watermelon!  I think he would only eat that if we let him!  We have to hide it most of the time when we do eat it just to make sure he eats his other food too.  We have learned to limit him though...too much watermelon can make a big mess in a few hours.

May 31, 2011

Superman's Mom

I found this poem earlier in the year and have been wanting to share it for a long time...Here's to all the mom's of boys!

Superman's Mom
Last week I fought a dragon strong
Then climbed a castle wall.
Too bad I fell from off the roof
Mom's flowers broke my fall.

Yesterday I sailed to sea
With pirates at the door.
Too bad the tub was just too small
To keep the ocean off the floor.

Today I launched a rocket to
The moon for Mom to see.
Too bad the wheel came flying off
And so I skinned my knee.

But mom was there to pick me up
And make me feel alright
Then sent me out to save the world
And put my cape on tight.

Someday I'll grow and fly away
Little doesn't last for long.
But when I'm big, I won't forget
Even superman needs a mom.
~Liz Lemon Swindle
My superheros!

April 10, 2011

Easter Idea

I was planning out my week of activities do to with the kiddos and ran across this awesome recipe.  Has anyone ever made these?  I can't wait to do it with Joey and maybe start a tradition!  What a great way to tell the story of Easter for kids to understand.


Easter Story Cookies
Ingredients:
 • Bible
 • 1 c whole pecans
 • 1 tsp. vinegar
 • 3 egg whites
 • pinch of salt
 • 1 c granulated sugar
 • 1 qt. or gal. size zipper bag
 • wooden spoon
 • tape
Directions:
 1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
 2.  Place pecans in ziploc bag and let kids beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces.
     Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read: John 19:1-3. Then
     Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his
     head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the
     Jews!" And they struck him in the face.
 3. Let each child smell the vinegar. Add teaspoon of vinegar into the mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus
     was thirsty on the cross He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30...Later, knowing that all was
     now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." A jar of wine
     vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and
     lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he had received the drink,Jesus said,"It is finished." With that, he bowed his head       and gave up his spirit.
 4.  Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read
     John 10:10-11. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life,
     and have it to the full. "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."
 5.  Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl.
     Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own
     sins. Read Luke 23:27 A large number of people followed Him, including women who mourned and wailed for
     Him.
 6.  So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup of sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the
     story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Psalm
     34:8--Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him~and John 3:16--"For
     God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believeth in Him shall not perish
     but have everlasting life."
 7.  Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color
     white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah
     1:18--"Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall
     be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." And John 3:1-3 Now there
     was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at
     night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could perform the
     miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth,
     no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
 8. Fold in broken nuts.
 9. Line cookie sheet with waxed paper. Drop mixture by spoonfuls onto waxed paper.
 10. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60 As
     evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a   disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph
     took the body, wrapped it in clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of
     rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.
 11. Place the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape
     and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66 "Take a guard," Pilate
     answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting a guard.
 12. GO TO BED. Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers
     were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 "I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn
     while the world rejoices. You will grieve, buy your grief will turn to joy." And John 16:22 "So with you~
     Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your
     joy."
 13. On Easter morning, open the oven and remove the cookies. Take a bite. Notice~the cookies are hollow.
 14. On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.
 15. Read Matthew 28:1-9 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other
     Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from
     heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning,
     and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead
     men. The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was
     crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go
     quickly and tell His disciples: "He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There
     you will see Him. Now I have told you." So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with
     joy, and ran to tell His disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them, "Greetings," He said. They came to Him,
     clasped his feet and worshipped Him.
Easter Egg Cookies

February 16, 2011

Valentines Day Fun and some mom tips

I LOVE Valentine's Day and want to make sure that my boys know that even though it may seem like a silly holiday, they need to make sure they let the people in their lives know they are loved!  I found these adorable Valentine ideas from another blogger.  You take a sucker and cut out lips for girls and mustaches for boys.  Joey loved it because he said he looks like Daddy!  He still asks for it with all of his suckers!
We made a special pizza for supper on Saturday night.  I'm not the most creative but here's how it turned out...
Now for some fun mom tips.  I got this idea from a class that I took from the Kent District Library on Magical Math.  
Here's what my living room looked like at first.  I have been collecting boxes for the last couple of weeks and taping them up again to make them whole.  The kids then are allowed to build with them.  It's so fun to watch them try to figure out how to make the different shaped boxes go together.  Here's some pictures of the boys at work. Even Aaron loved this activity!
My last mom tip is for all the moms of boys!  I was getting so sick of wiping off the seat when I had to go to the bathroom thanks to a short little man who is too "big" to stand on the stool to go potty.  So I thought of a way to make him remember to lift up the seat.  

I put stickers on the lid of the toilet seat that Joey has to hide before he can go potty.  We told him that the aliens can't watch him go pee so he has to hide them.  He loves the idea and has lifted the seat every time!  Oh the wonderful power of stickers!

February 8, 2011

I don't know how you do it

I hear that phrase so many times when people ask me what I do.  Apparently I have a hard job. I can think of a hundred other jobs that are harder than at home daycare but that's not what this post is about.  I thought it would be fun to create a top ten list of how I do what I do!  So here it is...
Top Ten Reasons I can do Daycare
10) I get to wear sweats everyday
9) I can wake up 10 minutes before work and still be on time
8) My house gets messy quickly but I have lots of little helpers to clean
7) I get to do a craft everyday
6) Cuddles with my boys and the other kids too
5) I get to stay home with my kids
4) I have a big back yard (that I can't wait to get out into once the snow is a little less)
3) I have great kiddos that I'm blessed to take care of
2) I get to stay home with my kids, and still get paid!
1) I can only accomplish all of this by praying every morning for patience and joy.  Without asking God for his help throughout the day, I would not have good days.
The number one reason has been so helpful to me!  I am astonished every day when I don't get up early to pray and give the day to God how crappy my day can be.  God really does give what we ask even little things like patience and joy.  I'm so thankful that I have a God who listens to the little things.  And I'm thankful that I have the great job of taking care of his precious children.  Now you know!


January 19, 2011

Families and a recipe

We have been attending church on Sunday nights as a commitment with our small group and I have really been enjoying them!  I feel they are a hidden gem that many many people in our congregation are missing out on.  This week the message from Pastor Tom was called "Families: Toxic or Tranquil" He talked about how there are many types of toxic family groups and what you can do to help change the way things are going.  He gave 5 things we can do every day to make our families better.  I typed them up on the computer and put them in a few places in our house as reminders of things we should be doing everyday to make our family the best it can be.  I thought I would share them with you too!
1)Emphasize the uniqueness of every member of your family and encourage individuality.
2)Maintain consistency of the messages we convey.
3)Give immediate and appropriate discipline (kids can't call the shots).
4)Allow a generous margin for mistakes.
5)Require responsibility for actions.
These five things are so simple and yet so easily get forgotten.  I hope and pray that by seeing these reminders everyday Brian and I can continue to raise Joey and Aaron up to be amazing men of Christ!

Also I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes with you.  We have it about every other week here!  It's from Weight Watchers and is simply amazing and so easy.  I'm a big fan of using my slow cooker since I have daycare kids at my house until 5:30-6 everyday so this one has become a staple here.

Slow Cooker Lasagna
 1 pound(s) uncooked lean ground beef (with 7% fat)     
 1 small onion(s), chopped  
 1 clove(s) (medium) garlic clove(s), minced   
 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes     
 15 oz canned tomato sauce   
 1 tsp table salt   
 1 tsp dried oregano   
 1/2 tsp dried basil   
 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste   
 1 cup(s) part-skim ricotta cheese   
 1 1/2 cup(s) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheeses, divided   
 6 item(s) dry lasagna noodles, no-cook   
 1/2 cup(s) shredded parmesan cheese, strong-flavored like Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano

Instructions

  • Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef, onion and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes; simmer 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together ricotta cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.

  • Spoon 1/3 of beef mixture into a 5-quart slow cooker. Break 3 lasagna sheets in half and arrange over beef mixture; top with half of ricotta mixture. Repeat with another layer and finish with remaining 1/3 of beef mixture.

  • Cover slow cooker and cook on low setting for 4 to 6 hours. Remove cover; turn off heat and season to taste, if desired.

  • In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese; sprinkle over beef mixture. Cover and set aside until cheese melts and lasagna firms up, about 10 minutes. Yields 1/6th of dish per serving.
http://www.weightwatchers.com/food/rcp/index.aspx?recipeid=135321# 

Enjoy it tonight!
  

January 12, 2011

Lullabies

Do you sing them to your babies?  As I was rocking Aaron to sleep tonight contemplating how long I should rock him, I started singing one of my favorite lullabies to him.  Joey heard what I was doing and sat right next to me and so I sang to both boys.  I could tell he was a little jealous because I sang a song that I have been singing to Joey since he was born.  But I made it fun by inserting both of their names in the song and looking at both while singing.  I could see though how it affected Joey.  Most nights I sing to him in his bed, in the dark, with my eyes closed.  Tonight I could see his whole mood change in front of me as he watched me sing and then wanted to rock along with Aaron and me.  What precious times!  We, as moms and dads, have such amazing opportunities to love on our children!  Even if you don't have a great singing voice, that special time before bed can be so important.  When all is quiet after a crazy day, some of the best bonding occurs.  It did make me think though that I may need to get a few more songs in my "playlist," some special ones that I only sing to Aaron so that Joey can have his special ones too.  Here's my list of a few that I sing...feel free to add more.
Beautiful Boy by John Lennon-My brother TJ sent this song on a cd along with the next one when Joey was born.  Love it!
Godspeed by the Dixie Chicks-This one sums up being a mom to boys in every way!


Masterpiece by Sandi Patti-I can remember growing up, hearing this song every time a baby was baptized in our church.  That is one tradition that I really miss!  This song is so amazing!
Feel free to add your suggestions!  Thanks for reading!

January 7, 2011

"I'm so glad you're home!"

Last night Brian and I were blessed by my parents to have a date night.  It seems they come so infrequently that when I finally beg my parents to come out I get so excited to have an evening with just Brian that it's all I can think about.  Being cheap (and poor!), we really rely on mine and Brian's parents to babysit for us.  They are so gracious to come and spend time with their boys that we are really blessed.  But that's another post.
Brian and I had a great time: getting a little shopping done at the mall (VS has their big sale-great prices on bras and panties-something I hardly ever let myself spend money on!) and eating at one of my favorite restaurants, On The Border.  It's amazing how different dinners out are without the boys.  Needless to say, we had a great time as usual.
       We got home around 8:30 hoping to have both boys in bed.  That was not the case.  We opened the door to a sleepy little boy staring at us and telling us how happy he was that we were home.  I'm not gonna lie and say I was a little sad he was still up but I soon understood the reason why he had not fallen asleep.  Talking with my parents about the evening, Joey's sweet little voice kept repeating "I'm so happy you're home."  I think we heard it nine or ten times.  It really made me think what it's like for them when we go away.  We continually reassure him before we leave that we will return and remind him when we do that we kept our promise.  But sometimes that is just not enough.
Aren't we just like that with the Father?  He continually reminds us that He is coming back, but I always feel like I am waiting up by the door for him.  Everyday I see examples of his love and shepherding over my life and yet still find myself wondering where he is.  I long for the day when I see him face to face and hear him say "I'm so happy you're home!"
          I have done a lot of growing in this area of my spiritual life lately, trusting God that I do have a home to enjoy forever. For the longest time I had let fear drive my thoughts about heaven, and would spend many nights laying in bed being scared of dying.  Looking back I realize how silly that really was.  Why?  Has He not promised me numerous times that he is coming back?  How could I believe some of his promises but not this one?  Why did I let fear run my life and many times steal my sleep?
It wasn't until I earnestly started praying about it and giving that fear over to God that anything changed.  The devil knew he had a hold on me and made me feel embarrassed to tell anyone, especially God that I was afraid of dying.  I just recently started exploring passages on heaven.  I finally was able to read through Revelations without fear.  I had always avoided that book because I simply did not want to think about it.
         Now I long for heaven.  I don't have a death-wish by any means, but my soul longs for the day when I can hear heaven's music and see my Father face to face. I have been reading books on people's accounts of going to heaven and returning.  Two of my favorites are 90 Minutes In Heaven by Don Piper and Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo.  The second book is by far one of my favorites and a must read for anyone who is doubting heaven.
Praise God that I have a forever home and will some day here from my Father's mouth "I'm so happy you're home!"
John 14:2 (from the Message)

 1-4 "Don't let this throw you. You trust God, don't you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father's home. If that weren't so, would I have told you that I'm on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I'm on my way to get your room ready, I'll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I'm taking."

Starting a new endeavor

I have felt the tugging to post more things on my blog and while "resting" during nap time today I decided to listen to my voices and make my blog more than just me raving about my boys.  I'm sure there will be plenty of that still but there are just times when I feel I need to share the things that God are speaking to me with other moms like myself.  (If you are not a mom, I hope you can enjoy this blog just as much...but most of my thoughts are generally about motherhood.)
God has given us mothers such an amazing, crazy and important job to do.  He blessed me with two little boys who are by all means the most challenging things I have ever been in charge of!  But through this blog I would love dialog and feedback on how we can all journey through this together raising children who love and fear our amazing God.  Thanks for reading!