Friday, December 16, 2011

Just Stopping For a Cup of Coffee

It's been awhile but...I just have time for a short cup of coffee with you and then I am back to my sewing and other things to get ready for Christmas. I know I haven't blogged in awhile, on any of my blogs except my writer's blog for reviews that were due. My excuses? Well, I have many. We are never short of excuses, at least I'm not. Here are mine!

I have been so busy trying to get EXTRA homeschooling done so we can have the next two weeks off (the week before and week after Christmas) that we even pushed it farther and finished up this Tuesday (my son finished on Monday because he is over zealous). I have three or four posts for my homeschool blog that I NEED to get on there soon! Maybe the week AFTER Christmas I will be able to allow myself time to blog, maybe.

I have been trying to get the house in order for the inspection that should happen soon to get my kid care open. I've been hanging pictures on the wall, which got me to thinking about what OTHER pictures I NEED to put in frames and hang next to those. So far my picture walls look GREAT and I have some ideas on what I want to do. I will try to do a little each payday, get a couple of frames and/or order the prints I want to hang if I don't already have them. I know, that has NOTHING to do with the kid care. But it has to do with getting things out of boxes and on the walls like we actually LIVE here! It's all part of the whole, we are living here and now instead of living to move WHEREVER God is going to send us. We are OK with that but we have been living in that mentality for seven years, first for Colorado and then overseas. Like I said in another post, time to live our lives to the fullest here and now. For we aren't guaranteed tomorrow, so live today! 

I have been sewing! I CAN'T tell you WHAT I am sewing because someone MIGHT see this and find out what is under the tree for them! AFTER Christmas I will be sure to post pictures and details. Needless to say, sewing takes up a LOT of time. I am not even going to get it all done before the 25th, I don't think. I am going to keep trying. 

In fact, I need to get back to work now. My coffee is gone. I only have nine days left till Christmas so I better get busy! This is going to take more than that! 

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Until next time...blessings to you.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Homeschool Group Christmas Party

For our homeschool group Christmas party we had a lot of fun. We all brought goodies to eat and one of the moms put together a great craft for the kids. She brought different sizes of spoons and gave them choices on what to make. They each had the different colors of paint on their tables and had foil to work on. They each had the different colors of paint on their tables and had foil to work on. We had a very large group that day. Everyone had so much fun. They had to wait for directions for the character of their choice. We had a table full of goodies plus cookies for them to decorate. All of the kids enjoyed it, young and old. They had to paint the spoon first before adding any pipe cleaners. They drew on the faces with markers when needed. Then it was time to decorate cookies and eat them. Since we meet in the gym at the church they got to play after we were done. The kids love the new air hockey table.


Merry Christmas!

That's our progress report for today. Thanks for stopping by.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Homeschool Field Trip: Public Library

We had a field trip to the Public Library. It was a lot of fun and very interesting. They kids enjoyed it very much. They got to see the workings of the library from behind the scenes. 

The librarian showed us the books they have in Braille. The kids got to feel the pages. 

He told us about the computer area and what is upstairs.

This is the room that has all the new books being sent to the different libraries around Arlington. 

The children's area was our last stop.

I didn't take pictures of each area. We first went to the area that the books are brought back and how they are sorted and returned to the shelves. We also got to see the teen section. It was just fun getting to see and hear about how the library works. 

That's our progress report for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

First Fest 2011

Here is a cute "scrapbook" I made of the pictures I took tonight of my kids. Samantha made costumes for her and Jennifer. She did Jennifer's hair and makeup, too. They both look awesome! What fun!

Click to play this Smilebox photo album
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This photo album made with Smilebox

Until next time...blessings to you.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dolphin Tale Unit Study Part Three

For the last part of our Dolphin Tale study we made little flip books with the information that we learned from our study. We didn't have a very large group that week but it was fun anyway. 

They had to work to find the words to fit into the blank spaces in the book. 

We loved seeing smiles on their faces as they worked together.

We even had some coloring pages for the younger kids if they wanted to do that, too. 

That's our progress report for today. Thanks for stopping by. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Living Today

Do you ever get lost in tomorrow? Do you ever catch yourself living for tomorrow and what you hope to have? I have to admit I have done that for the past 8 years, if not longer. It has robbed me of the joy of today. Not completely but I can look back and see how it did effect my daily life.

In 2003 we started "dreaming" of moving to Colorado. Other people move where they want to live so why not us? Surely we could find work there just as easily as here. We spend years looking for work, applying for jobs, even looking for homes. We went as far as to purchase land in Colorado with hopes of building a house on it someday. A friend drew up plans for that dream home. We lost that land to the bank after paying on it for 5 years. We kept the house plans and maybe someday... 

In 2009 we started down a path of discovery in the mission field overseas. We became excited to find the people group we were to GO to and live among. We began to dream and plan how that would be and what we would need to do so that our children would flourish. We began training for ourselves and our children to prepare us. Doors opened for training and for a huge trip across the world. We fell in love with the people there and the idea of living there and working to help them have water and a better understanding of Jesus' love. Then the doors began to close. Our hearts are willing should the doors open. Maybe someday...

But what about the here and now? Do you know some of the things that I did because of those dreams? I didn't put pictures up in the hall of my children. It seemed like such an effort for something that I was going to have to take down and pack away. I stopped paying attention to making my home better in little ways so I would enjoy it more. There are things I want to do in my kitchen that are small things but it would look so much nicer. I stopped planning things for the long term HERE. I just kept thinking "we might not be HERE for that". I have packed away my Christmas things more than once thinking "I need to pack these well so they will travel safely" instead of just packing them for the season and knowing I would get them out again in the same house. I have NOT gotten out my fall decorations for years because it just seemed like too much effort. (I have missed my fall angels.) 

I am so done living life this way! I am going to enjoy my life TODAY and let tomorrow come as it may. I am going to enjoy each season to the fullest. I am going to do the things with my family that are fun and make memories to last a lifetime. I am going to focus on doing little things each day to make THIS house a better home for our family. And if the time comes we have the money to build our home or buy a new one that is in a better location in Arlington, then I will be excited and work hard to make that the best it can be. (If we stay in Texas, Arlington seems to be where our family is going to live.) IF one day the doors open up to move to Colorado, we will make that move with excitement. IF one day the doors open up to move across the world to drill water wells and share Jesus with others, we will go with excitement! But no more living for tomorrow. I am living life TODAY and enjoying it. 

The birds are singing loudly outside as the breeze blows through the trees. The sun is shinning and the air is cool. God has blessed me with so much; a home, a wonderful husband, four great kids, some "adopted" kids whom I love as much as my own, grandparents who loved me enough to raise me when my own parents weren't able, sisters (and a brother who is now in Heaven, I pray) who though I didn't grow up with them was allowed to "find" them and have them in my life, other family members who I love dearly, a wonderful family in the faith, and lots and lots of great friends all over the world. I am so blessed beyond imagination. And God continues to bless me daily. Yes, there are the downs in my life, I have had many. But Jesus has carried me through them all. I trust Him to continue to do that throughout my life here on Earth. And when it is all said and done, I will live forever with Him in that heavenly place He has prepared for me. My prayer is that all of those who have touched my life will be there with me. 

Until next time...blessings to you!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Flybaby Returns Again

Have you ever heard of Flylady? I would be surprised if you hadn't. She has been around since 2001. If you have never heard of Flylady let me explain just a little. Flylady helps you to not be overwhelmed with housework and other areas in our lives. It has branched out in different directions and also has things for our children and teens to help them, if they so choose to use them. 

I started using Flylady after my youngest daughter was born and loved it. But I let life get in the way and got bogged down in stuff again. I tried to start again a few years ago but never really put my heart into it. I signed up for the emails again a couple of months ago and didn't do anything with them. But I refused to let myself unsubscribe this time. I knew I wanted to get back on track. 

Today is THAT day! I got up this morning and shined my sink! I am taking baby steps so I won't get overwhelmed. That is what they tell you to do, take baby steps. I am starting out by getting my morning routine and before bed routine down. I am also doing the Zone 4: Mission #1 Monday. Zone 4 is the master bedroom. Today I just have to gather things from my bedroom that don't belong and put them where they do belong or throw them in the trash. I can do that!

I do have other things I have to get done because I am on a time frame but if I do these small things daily along with the big things I have to do, once I am done with the big things I will be in the habit of doing the little things to keep my house clean and in working order and it will seem easy because I will have less to do. The big things I have to do are home repairs and organizing to accommodate a home preschool. But at the same time, it is a part of our declutter and downsize mission. I will be cleaning OUT things and getting rid of unwanted and unnecessary items in my home. I know that I will have less to clean up if I have less stuff. It is just a matter of getting it done. PLUS, a matter of thinking through each purchase after this. Thinking: Do I need this? Do I have room for this? Will we use it? Will it enrich our lives? If the answer is no, then I should not get it.  

The kids have the option of printing off a control journal for themselves. It just helps them keep their room clean and helps them to make sure they have their things picked up from around the house. Jennifer has printed hers off. Jonathan is still thinking it over. That is fine because it is up to them to make this choice to do it without me having to tell them what to do each day. 

Until next time...blessings to you.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Preschool Room Redo - Wall Border Removal

I haven't posted this information on here yet but I am re-opening my Kid Care & Preschool as soon as I get the preschool room fixed up. I am really excited about it. The kids are excited, too. They were not happy when I closed it a year and a half ago. 

The first thing we are doing is painting the room. Before we can do that I had to take down the wall border that ran across the top of the room. Eleven years ago when I bought that wall border I loved it! Mostly, I just wanted something other than white walls and I was going for a very floral look to match some pictures I had gotten from Home Interior. But as we changed this room into a playroom for my business it just didn't look right anymore. Yet I didn't feel like I could change it at the time. Now that we are in a transition from being closed to opening back up this is the perfect time to get things fixed up. (We painted the walls pink to match the flowers. This year we started to paint the walls white but leave the border but it just didn't look good so we stopped at this one wall.)

At first John wanted to just paint over the border because he thought it was going to be really hard to take down. I did a search on painting over wall border and found out that is a HUGE no-no. I also found out some simple ways to take the border OFF! 

Step One: Pull the border off the wall. I tried to get it in as large a piece as I could as I pulled it off. Most of it came off just fine in one big strip but other places it tore in strips and I had to work a little harder to get it off. The yellow you see under the border is the glue.

Step Two: Spray the paper/glue with either Windex or warm water. Both work, in fact, I used both. Coat the area and let it sit there for a couple of minutes. Use a sponge to keep the water from running down your wall. You can also use it to pat the water into the paper to help it soak it up. The more water that soaks into it, the easier it comes off. If you start to scrap it and it doesn't come off easily, spray more water on it and let it sit for another minute. Waiting those few minutes make it easier.

Step Three: Use a scraper to peel the paper off in long or short strips. I used my scraper that came with my cooking stones. Those things come in handy in many areas of do it yourself projects. If you have the paper good and soaked, it should come off in long strips. If there is any leftover glue on the wall, spray the wall with the Windex and use your sponge to get it off. You have to make sure there isn't any left on the wall or when you paint it there will be problems. 

And that is how you remove wall border without buying other products that might or might not cost a lot of money. I did this on Monday afternoon. My daughter helped me by picking up all the border that I scraped off the wall and vacuuming the rest. I am so excited to get to the painting part AFTER John finishes patching and texturing the parts of the wall that need it. 

Until next time...blessings to you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Favorite Season?

Fall just might be my favorite season. I really do love fall, for many reasons. I think I would love fall even if I didn't live somewhere that had 100+ temps all summer. But let me share some other reasons why I love fall. They are much sweeter. 

Getting up in the morning and putting on my socks and sweater so I can stay warm and enjoy the coolness in the air at the same time.

Watching the leaves turn brilliant colors right across the street from me. I often dream of driving through the New England states to see even more brilliance than we get to see in Texas. God's handiwork amazes me.

Sitting on the front porch enjoying the coolness of the afternoon as the breeze blows the trees.

Getting our my fall decorations, like my Fall Angels. I got them a few years ago and just love them. I collect angels so it was perfect when I found them.

There are still warm days mixed in with the cool days but they aren't scorching. 

Carving pumpkins with John and the kids. Last year was our first year but they had so much fun so we will make it a yearly tradition. They picked out their pumpkins on a home school field trip. Fun, fun! 

Baking cookies and muffins to fill the house with warm scents that remind me the holidays are near. 

Having a fire going in the fire place and curling up on the couch to read. This HAS to be one of my favorite ways to read. 

Drinking pumpkin spice flavored coffee. It usually comes out in September and I try to stock up and enjoy it way past winter. 

I get to wear my warmer clothes, hoodies, sweatshirts, sweaters, jackets and coats. 

Leaving the doors and windows open for the cool breeze to come in. Our electric bill drops greatly!

Watching my kids bless the neighbors by bagging their leaves for free. That tradition started out several years ago and continues. I am proud of them.

Participating with my family on Thanksgiving Day delivering turkeys to the families through Mission Arlington. Every Thanksgiving morning our family heads up to the mission to get our list of families requesting dinners. We deliver them and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving. 

Spending an afternoon at the park with my family. On Saturday or Sunday we take our lunch to the park and enjoy the time together at a slower pace. 

Getting to do fall crafts with the kids, here at home and at church. There are some great fall projects that don't cost much to do. 

Attending the fall festivals with my family and friends at church. Our church puts on a city wide festival. Everyone is invited! We have so many people come. What a great time of ministry.

Taking the families from our apartment church to the Mission Arlington  Harvest Fest. We have a hay ride, games, face painting and food. Smiles on the kids faces outshine it all.

I am sure I could come up with many more but for now, this is my list. Are there some special fall things you treasure? Share them with me. I would love to hear about them and maybe add them to my list! 

Until next time...blessings to you.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

AAHE Mission Day - The Voice of the Martyrs

AAHE decided that we would focus on Missions in the month of October this year. I personally think that was a GREAT idea. My family focuses on missions every month, since we are missionaries right here in the DFW area. Many families in Arlington are very mission minded. I think one of the reasons is because we have Mission Arlington to help us realize how important it is, even in our own back yards. 

For our meeting we asked a representative from The Voice of the Martyrs to come and share with us about their ministry. Our guest speaker was Bob Sweely. He had a slide show with pictures of martyrs across the world and explained their story. I think it was great for all of us, young and old, to see these pictures and make it real for us that there are those out there that suffer greatly because of their love for the Lord. We all KNOW that but we don't really THINK about it in a way that it hits home sometimes.

Bob shared with us the many ministry avenues that VoM has. It is amazing. One of the ministry avenues is the Action Pack bags. The vacuum bags are filled by people like us and sent to Christians in restricted nations who have been ostracized by their family, friends, and village because of their faith. Those items are a welcome expression of Christ's love and yours. The items that are needed to fill the bags are everyday things like shirts, socks,hats, foam balls, bars of soap, a blanket, toys, school supplies, etc.

If you would like more information on The Voice of the Martyrs you can check out these different resources.       
Telephone: (918)337-8015   
Orders or contributions: (800)747-0085
Ministry information: (877)337-0302
Bob Sweely, Area Representative

If you want to have him visit your group, give him a call. He is a wonderful man to talk to with a heart for Christ. This ministry is one of the best out there. Support them where you can.

That is our progress report for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dolphin Tale Unit Study Part Two

We spent a major amount of time today in parent discussion because we had a new mom with questions. And after all, that is what we are here for, to help each other, give support and suggestions on what might work. AND to be an ear just to listen. As moms we need that time to share what is on our hearts. I love this group for that very reason. We are there for each other. We all have different teaching styles and curriculum but we all respect each other and don't think one is doing it wrong just because it isn't the way we are doing it. We learn so much from each other each time we meet. 


This week we had eleven kids that were able to come and stay for our craft time. We didn't have a large amount of time for the craft so we didn't do a lot of background on the Anglerfish like we did the Jellyfish. But it is my hope that it will spark an interest in looking into it further. I also printed off some extra stuff for them to do while they were there or at home. 

JC, as always, is being silly and Ryan thinks he is funny. The kids really seemed to have a good time making them. They used egg cartons, pipe cleaners, construction paper to cut out teeth, feathers for the tail and a bead on the end of the pipe cleaner for the "light".  Those two boys seem to really love the idea of the feathers for the tail. I just love the expressions on their faces!

They got to do it all by themselves except for when they asked for our help. It was a pretty easy craft but fun at the same time. They drew eyes and fins on the body with a marker. Each child got to pick from a bag of different color feathers and beads. They got really creative with the eyes and how they decorated them.

The younger AND older kids seemed to enjoy our time working together. Then the older ones had a Winter (that's the dolphin's name) word search and the young ones had a dolphin coloring picture to work on. We are so thankful for the mom's who were there helping us with the crafts, too. It makes it wonderful to have everyone working together. 

I told them if they would take a serious group picture they could do a silly group picture. As you can see, we had some happy kids who were more than willing to take a silly picture as a group. I am so pleased because they all told me how much fun they had and they were full of smiles. THAT is why I love bringing things for them to do. THAT is why I homeschool. THAT is why I love working with kids. Their smiles! 

We have one more week of the Dolphin Tale Unit Study. That will be two weeks from today. There is much more to the study than we have done or will be able to do in the short amount of time we are able to get together. Make sure you take the time to do some of the other activities at home with your kids and share how it turned out with the group. We would love to hear about it.

That's our progress report for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book Reviews: Guest Bloggers

Guest blogger is Jennifer Lynne will share her review of Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry.

What the Story was about: A horse called Phantom and two kids, Paul and Maureen who lived with their grandparents. Also, Phantom's colt, Misty.

What I thought about the story: I thought it was interesting. You can learn a lot from it. You can learn how to care for horses. The kids in the story worked really hard. Once you read the first chapter you can't stop reading. 

We bought the movie for my birthday party. It was good. The book was better than the movie.

I also read the other three books in the series. I love books about horses.

Guest blogger, Jonathan Cole will share his review of Night of the Cossack by Tom Blubaugh. 

What the story was about: An interesting fictional account of a young boy facing a series of tough life-or-death decisions when forced into a life of a Cossack soldier. 

What I thought about the story: I thought it was a great story. There were many hardships in Nathan's life. I was intrigued by the choices that he had to make through the early years in his life. I was surprised by an important relationship in his life turning out to be false. 

The best part about reading books my mom has read is getting to talk about the book with her. We both get excited about the things the characters go through and the choices they make.  

That's our progress report for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, October 10, 2011

All or Nothing

I'm what you might call an all or nothing kind of person. I throw my whole self into what I am doing or I don't do it. That is really a big problem for me at times. I know this about myself and if I feel I can't put my all into it, I just won't start it. My life is full of many things and I have even MORE that I need to be doing.

I am a wife so I have a home to take care of and run. I am the mom to four children, three living at home right now. I homeschool my two youngest children, grades 5 and 7. I review books and other Christian products. I work in many ministries at my church on Wednesday nights. I work with my family at an apartment church on Sunday mornings AFTER we go to church and Sunday School. I love to sew and scrapbook. 

Right now there are MANY sewing and scrapbook projects that I am behind on. I KNOW I need to get busy and do a little each day or at least pick a day a week and work on one of them. But I am not good at doing that. Remember...I am an all or nothing kind of person. If I can't throw myself into it and work on it until I am done, I tend to avoid it. 

My main focus right now is my kids school. That takes a great deal of my time and mental energy. We spend a huge portion of each day during the week getting our lessons done. Some days we are busy in the afternoons with outside the house homeschool activities, like sports or a group get together. Once a month we have Friday off because of a group meeting and an outing to CiCi's Pizza with our group. On those weeks we combine our Friday work during the rest of the week so we don't get behind. We have done so well with that this year. I'm very proud of the kids and myself. After all, if I didn't stay on track they wouldn't either. I know that from past years. It was easy for me to let them have an extra day off if I felt lazy. I refuse to let myself do that this year. This is week 10 and we have stayed the course! 

The next main thing that consumes me is the running of our home. Making sure laundry gets done, meals are made and the kitchen cleaned up. I have to admit that on weekends I am lax in those areas. Monday's usually are filled with playing catch up. I am fortunate that I have my kids to help me. They are learning how to get household chores done so that when they are in a home of their own they will know what to do. As part of the meals for the family, I am cutting coupons and cutting back our expenses at the store. Partially because of necessity. We have to cut back because we have less to put towards it. We are trying to pay off debt so we need to put less towards food and more towards bills. We are not going without food even though we eat less fancy and eat out less. We are learning to make due and eat what we have at the time. 

So while I know I need to get my pictures in scrapbooks and out of containers and I need to get my fabric pieced into quilts for family members, I walk by it daily without touching it. My spend some time working on it each week, if not each day. Maybe I will find motivation to get to it soon. It is my hope.

Until next time...blessings to you!