Summer Fun

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

When I think of summer, I think of: watermelon, swimming, hot days, afternoon showers, watching movies, spending time with family and friends, grilling hot dogs and hamburgers, going to the beach and of course no school!

Though I am learning to love homeschooling my children, I have to admit I was just as excited about this summer as they were. It has been so nice to take a break from our normal schedule, get together with friends and just do whatever we wanted with our extra time and not be in a rush.

School Days will be here soon enough and I know it will be nice to get back into our routine but until then I intend to make the most of these last days.

 Here's how we have been enjoying spending this summer:

We love the beach!! Especially since we live in Florida,not so much the part where we bring all the sand into the car and house... but its worth it!!
Judah ready to catch some waves

Simeon conked out with Daddy

When we can't go to the beach, the kiddy pool is always fun

The kids had fun trying to feed this horse at the blueberry farm. Blueberry picking is always fun in the beginning of the summer and doesn't take very long.

I think Judah ate more then he put in his bucket

Simeon liked picking them and throwing them on the ground.

The kids had fun helping plant our summer garden.

Here's what the garden looks like now!! We had a great harvest of cherry tomatoes, green beans and lettuce!

At certain bowling alley's kids are free during the summer except for shoes, so we took advantage of it!   You should too!

The kids had fun making this bubble snake maker

Having fun with bubbles!

Slip and slides are a blast!

Hanging out and reading with Daddy. Just in case you are wondering I am a part of this family, I am always just behind the camera. One day I'll come out from hiding.

Ice cream date!
Homemade ice cream can't be beat! yum!

Probably a little too much
  time online and watching t.v. on the couch

Lots of Lego time!!
   All that fun is tiring, so we love nap times, though sometimes we don't always make it to  the bed!

What are you enjoying most about summer?

 Though we have been having a great summer, we are still looking forward to our yearly family vacation up in the Blue Ridge mountains, it's always nice to get away!

Where do you spend your family vacation?

Making Christmas Presents in July

Friday, July 26, 2013

Every November it suddenly dawns on me that Christmas is around the corner. You'd think I would
(picture source from pinterest)
have noticed a little earlier especially since the stores start putting Christmas decorations out in  September!

 I always say I am going to prepare earlier each year but it usually comes down to a few weeks before Christmas. Its just hard to get in the mood any earlier for me.

I do start yard saleing and picking up a few gifts here and there when I see a good deal. Sometimes I find things brand new still in their packages and if not who says gifts have to still be packaged if they are in good shape? At least the kids don't care, I think they just like opening presents!

 I really do enjoy making gifts but always neglect to add up the time it takes to make 20 plus people individual gifts, so this year I have determined to start early... really early... like now, so I can enjoy the process and not be up the night before Christmas frantically trying to finish my last minute gifts.

Israel lost in a pile of presents
Because once November is here I will be right dab in the thro's of the school year and I will be having a brand spank'n new baby to keep tabs on let alone 4 other little offspring to keep me on my toes. I don't need to stress myself out and try to even think that I will be making anybody anything.

So I have determined this year I will not be caught off guard... I will be armed and ready!

Now I know Christmas is about Christ, celebrating his birth and the gift of salvation he has given to us! Enjoying our family and friends, giving and getting gifts and of course good food is just an extra bonus!

But it can be easy to get  caught up in the hype of buying things just because we feel its expected and the media tells us we need to.

Lets face it, most of us simply can not afford to buy everyone on our lists what is on the shelves of the store, I certainly can't and I am thankful most of my friends and family  love getting homemade presents and don't mind those from yard sales.

Though I have to say a few good gift cards are life savers when you are in a pinch and who doesn't like gift cards?... I know I do.

 For now summer is upon us; for the most part my days are not too busy or stressful and I actually would like to have some projects going while I have this extra precious time. I have been pinning ideas through out the year on pinterest and now I can put them to good use.

Here's a few of the ideas I am going to get started on and hopefully have done even before November; have nicely wrapped and tucked away ready for the much anticipated day.

I have included all the links to these great gift ideas.  There are only 2 ingredients in this shampoo: honey and olive oil! What could be easier? I probably could do this the night before Christmas. I am glad I shopped early though and found containers just like these for less then 25 cents each at target!!
I am blessed to have a husband that is a beekeeper, I don't do much but enjoy the honey, sell it and look for ways to put it to use in our food and now products for our body and home. I understand that you might not all have beekeeper husbands and honey and beeswax can be expensive, but if you can buy it in bulk it will be worth it!

I was given a whole bag of fleece that will make plenty  of these. Hopefully it will get cold this winter...I live in Florida, so you never know. Who doesn't use lotion and want the best possible ingredients to go on their bodies? 
These hats are so cute!! and I am sure will be really quick and easy to make(if you can crochet); either for adults or children.

I love this recipe for peppermint lip balm. I made a big batch a few christmas' ago but I think I will make it again this year. I use it all year long!
This is one of my favorite finds on pinterest. Its so easy to make, inexpensive, works great and I have all the ingredients on hand! I know my girl friends will love it along with a natural makeup item.

Notice that most of the gifts I have picked to make are ones that my female family and friends will appreciate, my husband will take care of the guys.

I also tried to find ideas for gifts that I know my loved ones will not only like but need, there is nothing worse then getting a gift you don't need or want, well maybe there is but you get what I mean.

I hope you become inspired to find the time to put some thought and creativity into your Christmas and  birthday gifts this year; have fun and save money while your at it!

Pinterest: Friend or Foe?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

When a friend first told me about Pinterest my first response was, "I don't have time for that!"

 Well I know you won't believe me but since joining the throngs of pinterest users, I have miraculously found a secret time portal in the day just for pinterest! Of course I didn't know how much extra time there was to be found in the day till, I got lost in this world of creativity and inspiration at my fingertips.

To put it mildly I have helplessly fallen for Pinterest. It is one of my happy places, where all sense of time and reality fades away.

Isn't it amazing how when you enjoy something you can always find time for it?

Pinterest has opened up  a whole new world of recipes, crafts, home school info, encouragement, laughs, home decor inspiration and organization tips; just to mention a few.

It's like a magazine of helpful information and creative ideas that I willingly admit... I would never come up with on my own.

At first it was just eye candy to me but as I started to delve deeper I found  myself feeling like  I needed to be doing more of the things from the blogs I was pinning in order to feel productive.

Man... these people must have been blessed with all the creative genes, gifting's and energy! What was I doing that could compare  with recycling toilet paper rolls into works of art, T-shirts into jewelry, canning my own tomato sauce or organizing my whole house???

Maybe I wasn't sewing, crafting or cooking gourmet meals everyday but I came to the conclusion I didn't have to, it was okay. I didn't have to get overwhelmed by the all the immense amount of information being thrown at me. I could choose when I wanted to join in and take advantage of all the big and little ideas and tips.  As I have found my  balance in this microcosm, of scrolling pictures, I am thankful for how it has really helped to make my life more creative, fun and organized.

I know it's easy to feel like all these ridiculously talented people are all looking down their nose's at you with their perfectly decorated homes, well planned nutritious meals; saying, " What are you doing?" But you don't have to succumb to those thoughts... that are really only coming from yourself.

You don't have to feel condemned by others who may do more then you and may be more creative then you, but they might not be able to do all that you do. Remember that we are only looking at a part of their lives, we can't see what goes on behind the scenes. These are all real people, with real flaws and real problems also... who can't possibly have it together all the time!

We all have to come to a place where we accept that we all have different gifting's and talent's...and it's okay. 

What a blessing to look up a recipe for kale and find more then you can use, to be given advice from a home school mom of nine, encouragement  from a wife  of 25 years, or a great idea for all that fabric you have laying around.

Here is a good verse to remember when using anything of this world:

 "Those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away." 1 Corinthians 7:31

{How do you apply this verse to Pinterest or anything you use?}

{Limit your time}

Somehow I can find myself  perusing pinterest when I have other more important things that are waiting for my attention. I can get lost and just fade away as I look at one more enlightening quote, or scrumptious delicacy. I try to make sure that when I get on the computer that its not taking away time from my family and housework. If I do go on during a busy day, I try to determine  to go on with the purpose of finding information that I need and I am learning to just stop if my name is being called and my arms are being will be there when I get back.

{Don't compare your life to other's}

Gladly admit your strengths and weaknesses and enjoy being motivated, encouraged and inspired by others. Just because someone else is doing something ,doesn't mean you have to...unless you want to.

{Turn it off if it is causing you to stumble}

It's easy to become jealous or covetous of what others are doing or have. Guard your heart and mind and pry your eyes from the screen if it is stealing your joy. If you want to get back on make sure your heart is in the right place and that if you see something you want it is not making you ungrateful for what you have but  motivating you to make the best of what you have.

{Are you using it or is it using you?}

Remember that the things of this world are just temporary and are meant to be tools to help us through this world; whether we use or don't use them, will not determine our salvation.

It's up to you how you are going to use the things of this world. Ask God to show you when something is becoming an idol and you need to get rid of it. Sometimes it might be that you are the one who needs to change your attitude and not blame the thing for your response to it.

To recap:

Pinterest is your Foe if:
- you are constantly comparing yourself and life to other's
- you are coveting
- it's causing you to feel unproductive and lazy
- you get overwhelmed by it
- you try to do everything you pin
- it depresses you

Pinterest is your Friend if:
- it inspires you
- encourages you
- makes you laugh
- teaches you
- helps you
- you are following people and blogs that will encourage and inspire you

Here are a few bloggers that I love following:
- Mandy B @ Biblicalhomemaking
- Life in Grace
- Darlene Schact {Time Warp Wife}
- Kid Blogger Network, Activities and Crafts
-  It's Just Laine
- 30 Must Follow Christian Mom's
- Unveiled Wife
- Tricia Goyer
- Keeper of the Home
- Lisa Jacobson { Club 31 Women}

I confess I pin way more pins then I actually ever will do, but it's nice to know I have them pinned away for safe keeping for that day when I know I'll need them(and it doesn't take up any room.) Until then I do enjoy actually putting to work the ones that I can use now... when I am able.

Here are a few I did this week:

Homemade Rosemary Mint fabric softener. This was so easy and cheap! from:

 We all had colds this week and though the kids wouldn't try this , it sure helped me.

The kids had so much fun making these and it was so stink'n simple!

I love this baked oatmeal recipe, its easy, nutritious and makes a lot!

What has Pinterest inspired you to do? 
What are your feelings? Friend or Foe?

Jesus, Only Jesus

Monday, July 15, 2013

I have been thinking a lot about my purpose here on earth lately.  I know I am called to be a mother and a wife but what does God truly want from me?

It's so easy to get disillusioned in this life and grow weary in what he has called me to do. I can start to think I am missing out on something. The world and satan are always throwing out hints that just being a mom and a wife isn't enough. I should be making money, having a career, earning a degree, being independent, etc, etc.

I am not just a mom though...I am a daughter of God created to worship and love him first and foremost.

 We all are God's creation and no matter our position in life, knowing and loving Jesus is the #1 purpose he created us for.

I love how Paul puts it:
"But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is  through faith in Christ- the righteousness that comes from Christ and is by faith." Philppians 3:7-9  

Nothing compares to knowing Jesus!!!

Even in the mom world we can listen to what our peers are saying and think that we have to make perfect food, run a perfect home and parent perfectly in order to make us feel that we are fulfilling our mom and wife duties and pleasing God.

Yes, I want to be faithful with what God has given me, take care of my family the best that I can; I know this brings him honor and glory.

 I have to say it feels good to have a clean home, obedient children and good food on the table. I would be remiss though if  I said cleaning, making nutritious meals, caring for my children and husband fulfill the deepest parts of my being. They bring me such joy and there is nothing else I would rather be doing( though at times I might want a day off)but I can not rest all my hopes and dreams on them, even though they are good things.

If I am just focusing on being the perfect mom and wife I will be neglecting my first and highest call... to love and to be loved by Jesus. If I am not seeking God first there is no way that I can even begin to be anything. Jesus must be my all and from him everything else must flow.

                                        "All my fountains are in you" Psalms 87:7

Being the best mom, wife, friend, blogger,church goer, daughter, sister, coworker, teacher... will never fulfill me...only Jesus will. There is nothing I could ever do that would fulfill me like knowing, loving and being  loved by Jesus.

We spend so much time comparing ourselves to other moms and people in our lives that we think have it all together. We were never meant to compare ourselves to each other... but to Christ. I am so thankful for the people he has put in my life to spur me on  and inspire me to be a better mom, housekeeper and wife; to the internet which has opened up a whole world of other moms from which to glean recipes, creative ideas and encouragement, but what is most important is that I know what God has called me to and not feel guilty or unfulfilled if I am not doing what others around me are called to do.

What matters most and will only truly fulfill us is being obedient to what God has called us to do. How can we do this you say?? How do we know his will?? By seeking him first!

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33

If we are seeking him first I believe everything in our life will fall into the right place. When I am seeking my own will first or trying to live to please others that's when my life gets out of wack, everything is out of order and I find myself dissatisfied and unfulfilled. But when I am making him my priority, seeking him first; I find I am a better mom, wife and person for it.

Everything in out lives work best when we put them in this order:

1. GOD

I have been meditating on this song by Matt Redman a lot, It has encouraged me and reminded me that Jesus, Only Jesus can save me from my sins and  give me a hope and a future!!

 Jesus, only Jesus is the one I will stand before when I die and account for my life,he is the only one who can fulfill me and give purpose and meaning to my life, he is the only one who can heal and restore my hurts and my past, he is the only one worthy of my life and my praise.

Only Jesus
 Who has the power to raise the dead?
Who can save us from our sin?
He is our hope, our righteousness
Jesus, only Jesus
Who can make the blind to see?
Who holds the keys that set us free?
He paid it all to bring us peace
Jesus, only Jesus
Holy, King almighty Lord
Saints and angels all adore
I join with them and bow before
Jesus, only Jesus
Who can command the highest praise?
Who has the name above all names?
You stand alone, I stand amazed
Jesus, only Jesus
You will command the highest praise!
Yours is the name above all names!
You stand alone, I stand amazed
Jesus, only Jesus!

Jesus, only Jesus!

DIY Book Nook

Saturday, July 6, 2013

I have been trying to bring some order to the room that is shared by my two boys and girl. It has not been an easy task, but I am slowly making progress. I have been tackling one part of the room at a time,
hoping someday to tame the monsters in the closet and the boogy man under the bed.

During one of my bouts of insomnia(which I suffer every pregnancy) I somehow got to thinking about their room and how I could make it better. Don't you think about all the things you need to do in the wee hours of the morning? Well I do... It came to my mind that I have some extra fabric and Ellie is in desperate need of a spot to put her bedtime books. Why not make her a little book nook?... before my creative juices  stopped flowing.

There is a book case in their room but at nap time Ellie insists on having most all the books in her bed so she can read them till she falls asleep. I usually read her a few since she can not read yet, but I have to draw the limit somewhere and when I am done she reads the rest by memory or makes up her own stories. I love listening at the door as she does her own little voices and sometimes can repeat verbatim whole stories.

From start to finish this little project  only took me an hour to complete,which is very satisfying for someone who wants results but doesn't want to spend a lot of time.

I started by using an old pillow case as the backing. It already had batting sewed into it so it was perfect for holding up to the weight of books. If you don't have something like this try to find a sturdy material or add quilt batting.

Lay it out and cut out some pockets and place where you want. I used some pretty napkins and leftover heavy cotton. 

Ellie thought it would  make a good blanket

Figure out where you want to place pockets

Iron all fabric and fold sides over and iron to make hem

Fold over top of pockets twice and then sew

Pin in place. Don't pin fabric to backing and then sew tops of pockets like I almost did! Make sure you hem the tops then sew them on to the backing.

Now sew pockets on to backing.

To make straps for nook I cut two pieces of fabric the same length about 10- 12in  long and 5in wide then folded half in. in to make hem and then sewed down both sides to make two straps for hanging.

I think Ellie is happy with the results! I screwed nails in the wall to hang the straps on but if you want you could use a curtain rod to hang the straps on. One of my creative friends made the one on the right.

I have a feeling that there will still be books and toys strewn all over the floor when she wakes up but at least she has a cute little place all her own to stash her books and girly stuff.

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