What it means to me to be thankful as an American

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thanksgiving is about as American a holiday as the 4th of July and apple pie. Although you don't need to be an American to be thankful of course. Thanksgiving is such a great part of our history and traditions. The kids and I read and do unit studies on Thanksgiving every year and I am always astounded at the pilgrim's fortitude and faith to go through all they went through to come to America for religious freedom.

I really love The Light and the Glory book which gives a historical and accurate account of all that transpired in our country's beginnings with deep insight on our Christian beginnings.

I have been thinking lately about what it means to me to be thankful as an American. Everyday I have so many things to be thankful for but with Thanksgiving coming up I thought I would share the things that I am really thankful for as an American. When I was younger I traveled with my family out of the country and was able to experience life outside of America, for which I am truly thankful for. America is not the only country on earth and we do not do everything right or have it all together by any means. But as an American there are some specific things that I am thankful for despite being an American and because I am American.

Here is what I came up with:

1.Freedom to Worship

Even though our country seems to be turning more and more away from God I am thankful for the freedom that I have to worship God with other believers in a church service and at home. It is something that is easy to take for granted and I know in many other countries Christians are being persecuted for meeting publicly to worship. I am also thankful that not only do I own my own Bible but have many Bibles in my home. The Pilgrims came here so they could worship God freely, how they felt he was leading them and I am so happy that we are still able to keep their dreams alive.

2.Freedom to Homeschool

Being able to educate my children at home is something I don't take lightly. It is one of my jobs. Not only am I teaching my children but I am learning every day to die to myself, to be more organized, to figure the best way to make our days run as smoothly as possible, to run to God for help and strength when I can't do it on my own.

Though there are many days when I would happily send them off to someone else to teach them; homeschooling has become such a wonderful part of our lives. I love the freedom I have to teach my children from home and focus on subjects and beliefs that are very important to us. I love that we can learn things by doing them, as we go about our daily lives. I love that their Dad is so involved in teaching them life skills, i.e. fishing, hunting, carpentry, beekeeping, urban farming. I can learn right alongside my children. I can tweak our curriculum and learning styles to fit each individual child and I can be with them through their learning and growing process. There are so many things that we are able to delve into and learn in different ways because of homeschooling and for that I am truly grateful.

3. Happily Married

The divorce rate in America is sadly 40 to 50% of married couples( source) Although I know there are of course cases where divorce is unfortunately the only option; I believe divorce is such an evil in our country that divides so many families and brings so much pain and trauma to both the adults and children involved. As the wife of a middle school pastor I have seen the statistics to be true. Most of the kids we work with come from divorced families and the it's evident to see the toll it is taking on many of their lives. That being said I am so thankful for the wonderful marriage that I have with my husband that is only because of Christ as the center of it. I am thankful that my kids have never had to experience divorce and know that their mother and father not only love them but love each other.

I don't say this lightly or to say that my husband and I have it all together or are doing everything right. I just do not take being in a beautiful, loving, Christ centered relationship for granted. I know it's rare.

4. Living in Peace and Safety

There is a lot of crazy, terrifying stuff going on in the world right now. I guess there always is, even if we don't know it. America has it's fair share of bad guys and bad things happening but I am not afraid to leave my house, go to the store or a public place. This could change someday but right now we can go about our city freely. The things we worry about are what we are going to eat for dinner. This doesn't mean I don't ever worry or fear for my children's and husband's lives; because I do. I worry about sickness and death coming, I worry about getting into car accidents, I worry about them growing up and going out into the world. But right now my kids don't know what it is to go hungry,they don't know what it is not to have a place to sleep, they don't know war, or death or fear. They know there are terrible things happening in the world and we pray together about them but they do not have to experience them. They are having the best childhood I could imagine and this gives me the greatest joy and fills my heart with such gratitude.

I could rattle off a ton of other things I am thankful for but I think these sum up pretty much what I am thankful for as an American. I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving. Being with family and friends and sharing a delicious meal together. No gifts, no worries just enjoying good fellowship and food. What could be better? The Pilgrims and Indians started a great thing in coming together to give thanks for the bounty that God had blessed them with after going through starvation, death and such hardships. I am glad we are keeping the memory of their sacrifices alive, while stuffing ourselves at the same time!

I think Thanksgiving optimizes what everyone wants for their families... Freedom. Food. Fellowship.

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for as an American? (or non-American)??

Linking up here!

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A Day in the Life of a Toddler

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

When Israel( my firstborn who is now 10) was still inside my womb I started a little book, recording how my pregnancy was going. When he was born I tried to write updates of what our days were like, his likes and dislikes, his personality and funny things he did or eventually would say. With each new child I have tried to do the same thing. I haven't been as consistent as I would like but I am happy to have something to look back at and see the kids growth and remember all the cute things they did.

I realized recently that I haven't started one for Luke yet. In my defense, one of the reasons I started this blog was to journal some of our everyday life. This one is for you Luke!

Today is Sunday so of course getting ready for church something is bound to happen. Josh was gone for the weekend so needless to say I had my hands full! I have to say we were able to get ready fairly quickly and the only hitch was that Luke threw a down right fit until I figured out which clothes he wanted to wear. I have come to find that all my children tend to be very particular about certain things. Today it was clothing. I finally figured out he wanted to wear Simeon's dinosaur shirt even though it was way too big for him.

After church I had to stop at Target for some necessities. I put Luke in the cart with a water bottle. I ran into a friend and as we talked I noticed out of the corner of my eye that he had started spilling the water out all over himself and onto the floor. His shirt was soaked so I took it off and used it to wipe up the wet floor until an employee was able to clean it up.

As we got in line Luke proceeded to free himself from his buckle and start taking off the rest of his clothes. He started screaming until I helped him with the rest. I really didn't want a screaming child any longer in the store than everybody else so I helped him strip down to his diaper. We paid for our stuff and high tailed it out of there only to realize as we were leaving that we forgot our bag!

After Target we headed to Michaels for some art supplies that Israel needed. Yes, Luke was still in just a diaper. He kept on getting out of the cart so I let him stand next to me while we looked in the aisle for paints. As Israel and I were looking at paint Luke had decided to fill our cart with about 25 little bottles of paint. Oh boy, this was going to be fun!

Somehow we managed to get out of their alive and with only a few meltdowns. The cashier was sweet and said she loved big families and wish she grew up in one. I wished the same thing when I was younger, but I am sure living out the reality of my dreams now!

We finally made it home and after recuperating I tried to finish a project I have been working on while Luke was sleeping. I had to trace words very carefully onto a board that I had on the floor. As soon as Luke woke up I snuggled him for a bit and then tried to get back to my project. Luke thought it would be a golden opportunity to jump on my back as I kneeled on the floor over my work. Some days you just have to get things done even with a monkey on your back.

Ellie helped me for a little while with my project but got bored and wanted to paint her nails. She soon came back needing nail polish remover. I went and got it for her and a little bit later heard cries of terror. Luke had found where she had left it and yes you guessed it... dumped the whole thing out; removing the paint off of Ellie's dresser and the varnish off my beautiful original wood floors!

As I write this our house reeks of nail polish remover... I am sure we have inhaled more than is good for us. The stench was so powerful that the kids had to sleep in the living room that night.

I tried to air out the room as best I could and had the kids go out in the back yard and play. They sure played hard because they were covered in dirt when they came in. I got them into the bath as soon as I could. As my back was turned Luke decided to unroll all the toilet paper into the toilet. Thankfully I turned around in time to save part of the roll.

Oh Luke, you sure are cute and so much fun but what a little terror you can be! Even in the midst of Luke's craziness he is just the best and we are all crazy about him. Though he keeps me constantly on my toes he keeps me laughing also.
Luke turns two the end of the month so I can only imagine what is in store for us!

Do you have a toddler? 

Can you relate to my day??

What is the craziest thing your toddler has done? 

Linking up here!

Field Trip: to M.O.S.I -Museum of Science and Industry

Saturday, November 14, 2015

A couple of months ago we went to the Museum of Science and Industry for free Homeschoolers Day. You know me and anything free. I am finally getting around to posting the pictures of our day. 

We met up with one of my friends who homeschools also. I think the kids could have stayed at the big foam building block things all day. Forget all the cool scientific stuff. They just want to play. 

There were some really cool displays. The 3D printer was pretty amazing and of course the boys loved the robotic remote control vehicles.

Simeon was enthralled by the  life size Dinosaur skeletons. Anything dinosaur and he is there! We had to wait a while but the kids finally got into the wind tunnel. Let's just say they were blown away;)

Everyone started doing the "I'm hungry whine about an hour into our trip. Thankfully we packed a lunch and devoured it in no time flat. All that learning and having fun will do that to you.

 If you are local M.O.S.I. has a great discount for homeschoolers which we are hoping to take advantage of soon. Here is a link to the site for more details. Not only do you get year passes for M.O.S.I but discounts to many museums in the area!

Of course one of the biggest hits was the kids seeing their own shadows! Go figure! It was a bit more crowded than I would have liked but all in all it was a fun and very educational time.

Linking up here!

DIY Child's Apron

Thursday, November 12, 2015

I know it's still November but December is literally going to be here before you know it. I am excited about Thanksgiving but in order for this Christmas to be as stress free as possible I am trying to plan ahead as much as possible for Christmas, especially if I am going to make any gifts myself. 

I am by no means a seamstress but there is the occasional time when I do love to sew; providing it's not too complicated. Last year I got the idea to make Ellie an apron from a dish towel for Christmas. I saw these cute dish towels at Ikea and could not resist. And they have cupcakes on them, come on cupcakes? It was a no brainer.
Ellie's favorite thing to do with me is bake, and I have to say I love it too. Though there are times when she can be a little over zealous, I try to let her help me as much as I can. I knew I wanted to get her an apron and some cooking utensils and cookbook for Christmas. 

I am all about simple and believe me this apron is so simple a caveman could do it ;P Being the procrastinator that I am sometimes, I think I made it 2 days before Christmas. It literally only took me about an hour to make. Sorry the pictures are kind of dark. I made it at night, while all the kids were asleep.:)

What you will need: 
Dish Towel
Sewing Machine
Good Scissors
Measuring Tape

How to:

1. Fold in half from top to bottom. Measure 8in. across. Draw and line at the 8in. mark. Then cut. 
2. From there measure diagonally to the edge. Draw a line and cut.
3. At the top pin the ribbon (you will need 20 in) to the fabric, about an inch from the end. Fold fabric over 2x. Pin in place. Make sure ribbon matches up so it's not rolled the wrong way.
4. Place ribbon (10in. on each side) at the waist. Folding 2x also and pinning in place.
5. Time to sew. Remember to backstitch at the beginning. Sew all the way around stopping at the corners and adjusting needle.
6. Now all you have to do is iron and possibly burn ends of ribbon so they don't frey. You are done!!! See wasn't that easy!?
I'm happy to say Ellie got right to work in her new apron and it fit perfectly. She was 4 when I made it and it was a little long. It should still fit her for a couple of years yet. We have already made so good memories baking together in her new apron and I'm looking forward to many more!

I love giving themed gifts so to Ellie's apron I also added this Disney Princess cookbook

She still looks at it all the time and we have had a lot of fun making some of the delicious and easy recipes that coincide with each princess. If you have a little kitchen helper that also loves princesses this is a must have!

I also got her a baking kit. She loves using her own little rolling pin, bread pan and other utensils in the kitchen.

Linking up here.

Let me know how your apron comes out and if you have any questions!

Do you enjoy baking with your children? 

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Lilla Rose Review and Giveaway!

Monday, November 9, 2015

I was given a Lilla Rose flexi clip in exchange for doing this review. All opinions and thoughts are my own:)

I have two hair styles: down and up. I like to keep things simple and easy;) I personally think I look better when my hair is down, but I can not stand my hair in my face when I am busy cleaning, doing laundry and hefting my two year old around. Not to mention, the weather here in Florida is either hot, hot and sticky or unbearably hot which unfortunately equals a lot of sweating.

You will rarely find me talking about hair and beauty here but when Melanie, a Lilla Rose Consultant asked me to do a review and giveaway I jumped at the opportunity. I'm all about getting my hair out of my face so I can focus on the task at hand. I honestly only ever use hair bands, which I am constantly losing or breaking. They are pretty much the only hair accessories I have. I wasn't sure how I would adapt to using anything else, being the plain hair jane that I am. I found though that the flexi clip was very comfortable and did the job of keeping my hair up and out of my face in style! I am using the small size. Isn't it pretty!? Way better than an elastic band!
My hair has thinned since having all my babies and I found it worked best for me when I used it to put up all of my hair but it still worked great in a ponytail and half up. 
Here is a little tutorial if you are having trouble keeping your clip in snug.
My daughter also tried out the mini clip and loved wearing it. Her hair is also is very fine and we used it mostly to put her hair up in a twist. Trying to put her hair in a pony tail has always been a painful trial. I use the little elastic bands to put her hair up and every time we take them out it is a harrowing experience for her. I usually end up not only pulling the elastic out but strands of her hair also. We were both very happy and relieved when I took out the mini flexi and it didn't take out any of her hair! She also really liked how fancy it was since we usually only use plastic clips in her hair.
We have been using this homemade detangler spray before we brush her hair. It has really helped lessen the tears as she wakes up with really bad bed head every morning.

If you are having trouble with your hair being unruly or in your face, I definitely recommend trying out Lilla Rose hair jewelry. No more lost or broken hair bands and no more prematurely losing your hair;) And they are really like having functional jewelry in your hair!

You can contact Melanie at her website to order your own and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a small flexi clip!   Christmas is coming and I know these are going to make great gifts for some of your friends and family! When the winner is selected you will be contacted and asked for your address.

The giveaway will run from today till next Monday. November 9th till the 16th. Sorry to my friends in other countries but the giveaway will only be open to U.S. residents. The more options you enter, the better chance you have of winning:)
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Out and About: Chalk Art Walk and Exploring our Downtown

Saturday, November 7, 2015

I shared last week about our trip to the Museum of Fine Arts. After the museum we went to the Chalk Art walk which I saved to share today. The kids and I were amazed at the chalk creations and how they transformed the sidewalks. I have to admit I don't envy the chalk artists life. They are a tough breed. It was brutally hot outside and all their hard work could be ruined in minutes if it rained.(which it did that night) I would much rather create something that would last but some of the artists I talked to have been doing this all their life so I guess they must enjoy it.

We were given tickets to use for voting on which chalk art we like the best. We chose the blue heron. They had chalk for the kids to use and they were very inspired by the professionals. Thankfully Luke was inspired to take a nap!

On our walk  back to our van we took a last look at our pier which is being torn down for a new one. It has been an iconic landmark here for years and was a point of controversy as to tearing it down or not and then what to put in it's place. I think the city has finally decided on what to replace it with. I am excited about it as I wasn't to crazy about the old one. 

We truly live in such a beautiful place. Our whole county is a peninsula, so pretty much any way you go you will run into the water. We have bad areas like everywhere else but the downtown is really gorgeous. It's right on Tampa Bay and has the best view of the sun rising in the morning. 

If you are ever in Florida and want to visit a great place you really need to check out St.Petersburg or as we call it St.Pete. Most of our weekends are filled with cleaning, preparing for the school week, birthday parties and family get togethers but I love it when we are able to leave the dirty dishes and laundry and get out and explore. I am trying to get used to taking them out all by myself when Josh is away and I have to say that sometimes it's way easier than staying inside with all their craziness.

Linking up at these great link parties!

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