Thursday, January 31, 2013

Do you have a reading plan?

art by: Lee Lufkin Kaula

I can hear you already... and, do I see eyes rolling? "Reading plan? Like, sit down and read? Have you met my family? Do you think I have extra time on my hands?"

No worries- these are all things I have thought, myself {some days still do}. A few years ago when we first moved to Iowa I remember hearing a gal share her "book a month" plan and I got dizzy just thinking about it - and, I only had one child at that point. :) All this to say...I understand the eye rolls, dizziness and gasping at the idea of reading a book a month. I do. 

To be honest and personal with you - I don't do well with "down" time. I usually end up wasting it away watching TV {seriously...Food network and HGTV could be my demise}, snacking or reading blogs. Not that any of those are horrible things - but, for me, they can be life suckers if not done in moderation. I know this about myself and I'm working on it. The idea of sitting down to read during "free" time used to appall me. Especially in college when I felt like all I was ever doing is reading, reading, reading...but nothing I really wanted to be reading. So for years I quit. Not one good book read {sans Scripture!}. I married a man who was equally as disinterested in reading and we lived happily ever after... until he graduated school a year later and all of the sudden was devouring books by the week. I watched before my very eyes as he transformed. The Lord was using good, solid, truth in these books to change and mold my guy. He was learning NEW and EXCITING things and was making quiet, down, reading time a priority. And I watched him... for years. Now, I would pick up a book now and again - usually something historical romantic, or, a brush up on something important, but - never to the extent to which my dear one read. I was even a little jealous as children came along that he could still manage to make time for this, enjoy it, and... was he even highlighting his book?! The last few years I have slowly climbed onto this reading train... and, I'm loving it more then ever lately. Even if sometimes I do create more chaos for myself when I try to read too many books at once. :)

Long story short - one of my goals for 2013 is to read a book a month. They can be long or short, on topic or totally fictional. I may even throw in a cookbook as reading. Hey, I'm new at this! I'm starting to understand and see the value in learning something new... or, at least - using time to work my brain in stead of snacking my life away or staring discontentedly at the TV screen. I'm realizing already that a book a month is a GREAT goal - but may not always happen. Case in point - it's January 31st and I still have 5 chapters left in my current theology-heavy book! And, not so much quiet time planned this day. So, I'll still hope for a book a month - but, my months may look a little different then everyone else's {wink}. 

I don't have a complete list yet of what I'll be reading, but here is what is happening NOW and what's up next:

January - "The Hole in our Holiness" by Kevin DeYoung. 
Seriously. Good. Like the bottom line on the cover says, "Filling the gap between Gospel passion and the pursuit of Godliness". I have been so challenged this month at rethinking godliness and holiness. Rethinking obedience and Christian virtue...ah, so good. 

February - Double whammy month! I'm reading TWO... but, one is tiny. 
"Where is your pineapple?" by Raelene Phillips
This little nugget was a Christmas gift from my mother... who knows how much I enjoy hosting people in my home. I have so much to learn, though. SO MUCH. This is just a tiny little 68 page book about the history of hospitality and some biblical aspects of it. I'm eager to read it! 

"I used to be so organized" by Glynnis Whitwer
Glynnis writes and works with Proverbs 31 ministries and I have so enjoyed reading some of her blog posts and daily emails about organization. She's a believer and all her wisdom comes pointed towards magnifying the Lord. And let's be honest... I need the tips on organization in my home. 

March - "Why Pro-life?" by Randy Alcorn
Why Pro-Life?: Caring for the Unborn and Their Mothers
This just touches a spot on my heart... especially as we watch the events happening in our country. Lord, wake these women up! I want to be educated and ready for conversations. 

So, there you have it. First three months planned out. 
Are you on a reading plan? 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The snowy day

We woke up this morning to this fantastic sight -

And, a lot of it. Schools closed. Brad home. Myself, well, I love and so enjoy a good snow day. All 4 of us kinda bundled up here in our home together. It's wonderful. We had eggs, pancakes and bacon for breakfast and spent the whole morning listening to music, playing, and chillen' in our jammies :)

Mid morning I set the girls up for some craft time, which they so enjoy. Today we started making cards to send to cousins and grandparents. {shhhh don't tell} I had found an idea on Pinterest to use toliet paper rolls, bend them into a heart shape and use as a stamp. It worked! Or, in pinterest terms... Nailed it! ;) They were all about this cool craft.

This one with the expressions...could she be any more like me?! Ah, I love just them to pieces. The craft kept them busy all of... wait for it... 10 minutes. Then we cleaned up and they skipped on their merry way - wearing dress up heels and carrying baby dolls. Love it.

Now that nap time is here the hubs and I are enjoying our quiet afternoon, and waiting to see if our evening activities are cancelled. Oh the anticipation. I'm thinking of flipping on some HGTV and just enjoying the calm. And speaking of HGTV - I'm really excited about a NEW show coming up next month.
Filmed right here in our little ol' city of Des Moines! If you are at all into salvaged furniture, antiques, upcycled things, junkin', etc... maybe check this show out. Although, not the most romantic plans for Valentines day - this how might be on our agenda. :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

HAPPY Homemaker Monday!

It has been such a great day so far today! Woke up early to read {so did baby girl} and had a great time at the kitchen table, bible open, coffee hot, reading... while the 1 year old babbled at me. It worked. Special moments. I'm not normally fond of having my "quiet" time WITH someone - but, there is something to be said for letting your children watch you study God's word, I think. I'm praying that come to know Jesus for themselves someday soon! 

Anyway, the rest of the morning has gone wonderfully smooth. The girls and I made a trip to Target to grab some necessities and now we are getting ready for lunch. I let the girls each choose a small toy while at Target {that almost NEVER happens}, so they are playing quietly and thinking I'm the BEST mom in the world :) I'll let them think that... 

Happy Monday. 

The Weather:::
Today is in the 40's and I heard tomorrow may be in the 50's! Then, back to 16 later this week :) Oh, Iowa.

Right now I am:::
Just put baby girl down for afternoon nap. Watching the neighbors yard get dug up... strange, they def don't look like a professional company.

I kinda want another cup of coffee...
and, I need to get started on laundry.
And, loving Matt Maher on Spotify.

On my reading pile:::
Streams in the Desert
The Meaning of Marriage { has been MONTHS}
The Hole in our Holiness by Kevin DeYoung

On my TV:::
Big girl is watching Diego, which, she says she doesn't like any other time except when I say "nap time". Now, all of the sudden it has a new appeal. Interesting.

Also - HOLY CRYING FITS - Downton season 3 literally had me in tears last night :( Was NOT expecting that. Well, kinda was. But still!

Favorite Blog post this week:::
Haven't done much blog scanning yet this week... but, Ann Voskamp is always a safe bet on something great!

Something fun to share:::
Just really LOVING Spotify. If you haven't joined up - do it. Google spotify and see what comes up. FREE music - almost every album you can imagine. I love making new playlists. Which...leads me to my second FUN thing to share -

I'm making a play list for Valentines day. Songs I'll just have playing the next few weeks to help hubs and I remember :) Lots of Steven Curtis Chapman, etc. :)

On the menu this week::::
Tonight we're having zesty potato soup. And, I haven't gone grocery shopping beyond that. Maybe more survivor week based on what we already have? We did SO well with that last week!

On my to do list:::

What am I creating::::
I was given two wonderful bookcases this week - and, I'm in the process of deciding what to do with them. Thinking of painting one for the upstairs hallway. :) Endless options.

Homemaking tips:::
Yikes. When it comes to shopping... check the end caps and sales aisles FIRST. I found loads of organic apple juice, coffee, canned tomato sauce,  etc there today - most were below 50% off!

Looking around the house:::
Room is clean. Bed made. Score!

From the camera:::
We had our incorporation service last night for our church's 3rd church plant! Awesome to see the Lord work in and through our communities! Highpointe church - we LOVE you!

On my prayer list:::
Teens. :)
Prego friends :)
Thinking of future plans for my own family...

Bible verses, Devos::::
Greatly encouraged by 2 Cor. today - reminded that many have gone before in life and ministry... and they faced similar challenges. Same God. Same Power! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Breakfast date.

{me, out our fave lil' breakfast spot}
What do you do when you have a wonderful friend who VOLUNTEERS to take your children for the morning so you can spend some time with your hubby?

You go on a BREAKFAST date! :) And so we did! Our fave little place, La Mie, was hoppin' and we got to sit and eat our yummy food slooooowly. :) I tried something new - Salmon Tartine. It was... piled high with avocado and sprouts and not really breakfasty...but, good! And don't forget their amazing coffee and pecan rolls! 

I am truly blessed to be surrounded by friends who love us and who value our marriage!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

.:Big - fat - lazy - days:.

It seems that on the weeks where we don't have much planned... I get even less done. How is that happening?! I'm beyond sluggish. I have entire days without plans, not even 1 thing, and yet I can barely manage to get the dishwasher unloaded.

In my defense :
1) It's freezing. Literally 0 degrees last night. So, moving around without wearing blankets is difficult ;)
2) I have two very cuddly girls lately... cannot get enough of me, and I'm loving it.
3) Did you know that there are some AMAZING cooking shows on cable TV in the mid morning while children are playing quietly in a different room? I just discovered this. Danger. 

So, we are having some big-fat-lazy days around here and I will not complain. Though, I will admit, I can't do this much longer - MUST accomplish something! {Even if it is only getting into regular clothes before noon}

Random thought - I think our mattress has bit the dust. Well, to rephrase... it has bitten the dust. Years ago, actually. I saw a commercial this morning that said if your mattress is more then 8 years old it's technically no longer any good. It makes sense! I haven't had a good nights sleep on that thing in a year...and, we'll be married for 8 years this August. Shocking. Upon window shopping online I decided with our new mattress {someday} I'd like to decorate it like this -
How romantic! I love the gray and the bunching!

Ah, one can dream, right? Now back to reality... {and our existing bed with no budget for any new beds}

This weekend will pick back up with coffee dates, basketball games, babysitting for friends, ministry things and then next week is starting to fill up, too. But for right now - today - I'm heading back down to the couch, with a new mug of coffee... and I'm going to drink in this quiet afternoon, get some reading done and just enjoy this time at home. Maybe these light weeks aren't too bad!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What to do on the below zero days.

My 4 year old has asked every day since Friday if we could go outside. Normally, I'd toughen up, get everyone coated and booted up and let them play in the yard a bit. But, normally, it's not 4 degrees. Ok, it might be a little warmer then that - but, not much. It's COLD! I fear my girls would last 1 minute and I'm just not into it. Also not into the runny noses or the panic and screams of "mommy this snow is cold". seriously.

Today I had to be creative, as all the indoor fun activities were starting to lose their appeal. Even the question  "would you like to watch a movie?" wasn't met with cheers. Huh. So, I went to my cupboard to see what I could dream up and it played out like this...

Two large jelly roll pans, some flour, and cookie cutters. :) Throw on a couple aprons on some cute kids... and you have a mid morning event! Ava really got into this and August... well, she ended up throwing handfuls of flour in the air and laughing. Guess it's a win-win either way.
They seriously stuck around and played with this activity for close to an hour. The little one gave up after a few minutes - but then kept coming back to watch and babble. I used that hour to sit WITH them at the table and plan our February meal plan :) We were all happy. The little conversations while all sitting together were precious and priceless.

After this fun we had a yummy spaghetti lunch and the girls are now napping beautifully as the afternoon passes by. My scentsy melter is working overtime and while I don't know what the scent is - it makes me happy. I love these chilly, stay at home, kinda days. Thank you, Lord.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - {{freezing}}

Monday, Monday, Monday... what a love/hate thing I have going on with this day. LOVE the new start to a fresh out of the box week, HATE the messy Monday morning routine {sometimes}. But even in the mess and slight chaos of toys, crumbs, dirty dishes and noise I see the blessings of these days with babies and life. Let's see what this week holds, eh?

The Weather:::
I believe we were at all of 4 degrees this morning. Balmy! ;) Wind chills were in the negative, and I won't complain. 

Right now I am:::
Taking a break. Had a super clingy, whiny, early riser all morning. So, now that both girls are down for naps I'm sipping my house blend Starbucks coffee with eggnog creamer, tinkering on FB and Pinterest and just enjoying some quiet time for a few minutes. Bliss! 

While holding the whiny girl this morning I just kept thinking about how quickly these days are going by. She'll be 2 in May and I'm totally unprepared for another 2 year old. {sniff} I love my babies and it's so difficult to watch them grow up - yet, at the same time... so important. I had a flash forward moment where both girls were teenagers and I was alone in an empty house - def got the emotions running this morning. Cuddled the whiny one a little tighter. 

On my reading pile:::
"The Hole in our Holiness" by Kevin DeYoung. FABULOUS! It's my first book of the year - and it's a great, challenging read. A leeeetle outside my norm reading range - but, loving it! 
The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness
Here's the description - 
"The hole in our holiness is that we don't seem to care much about holiness. Or, at the very least, we don't understand it. And we all have our reasons too: Maybe the pursuit of holiness seems legalistic. Maybe it feels like one more thing to worry about in your already overwhelming life. Maybe the emphasis on effort in the Christian life appears unspiritual. Or maybe you've been trying really hard to be holy and it's just not working! Whatever the case, the problem is clear: too few Christians look like Christ and too many don’t seem all that concerned about it.
This is a book for those of us who are ready to take holiness seriously, ready to be more like Jesus, ready to live in light of the grace that produces godliness. This is a book about God's power to help us grow in personal holiness and to enjoy the process of transformation."

On my TV:::
Ah, so enjoying Downton this season. Just finished episode 3 last night on PBS and I have all sorts of questions and no idea where the season will take the characters. So good! Love a good cliffhanger story! 

Favorite blog post this week:::
When does Human life begin? by Mark Driscoll on the Resurgence website. 
Our society and political leaders need to WAKE UP. Life begins the moment of conception... fact. 

Something fun to share:::
Oh! I'm joining up with Courtney at Women living Well for the "Be my Valentine" Marriage challenge. Join us! Such a great chance to encourage and show love to our hubbys!

On the menu this week:::
It's "survivor" week around here. Using up what we already have in the home. I have lots of canned veggies, noodles and bread. Might get interesting. :) 

On my to do list:::
Wash pans soaking in the sink
Tidy living room and vacuum
Write down list of "needs" for Valentines crafts

What I'm creating:::
The girls and I will be working on Valentines day decor this week! And, Grammy's bday cards :) 

Homemaking tips:::
There is something about a nice smelling home. I try and keep a candle, air freshener, or scentsy melter going most of the day. It's an easy way to bring beauty into my home. :) 

Looking around the house:::
My room is clean! Bed made! Clothes put away! It's a miracle! 
I have the end of a Gold Canyon Moroccan Amber Vanilla candle sitting here...wondering if it will smell good melted in my scentsy? Can you do that?!

From the camera:::
These two :) A pinterest idea to keep the little busy while the bigger did school, ended up entertaining them both for quite a while. Who would have thought that pipe cleaners and a colander could be so much fun?

On my prayer list:::
Our church - continued growth and glory to God! 
Teens struggling.
Husband, today as he works and studies. 

Devotionals, bible verses:::
Today I was in Acts being reminded that the early church was SO passionate - I wanna live like that! 

Be my Valentine - Marriage Challenge

Happy Monday to you! As I glanced over my day planner this morning I realized what a light week we have - and, I'm excited about that. :) It should give me plenty of time to conquer those Valentine projects I've been thinking about... or, maybe just take a break and focus some extra time on my hubby and children.

For the next few weeks I'm linking up with Courtney over at Women Living Well. She has a great Valentine themed marriage challenge and I'm eager to jump on board. If you are looking for some creative ways to add some spice {or healing} to your marriage... check it out!

Week 1 challenge is to PRAISE my guy verbally. I need to look for opportunities and do it often! Here is my battle plan {because you know by nature we want to grump and complain... at least, I do}:

-Write a sweet email to him at work while the girls are napping today, detailing all the ways I'm thankful for him. Not just "Thanks for working", but creative things I've observed in him over the years that I am so grateful for.

- Write an I LOVE YOU note on his FB page. {he kinda hates FB...but, has one :) }

- Not utter one grumpy word tonight when he gets home from work. THIS IS THE HARD ONE. No matter how naughty the girls are today, or how tired I am, or how forgetful he may be about one little detail... I won't speak a grumpy word. Pray for me? Instead - I will be attentive to the details of his day {if he wants to chat about them}, praise him in front of our kids for working hard all day, and make his night special by not bossing him about. :)

So thankful for my godly, loving, husband... can't wait to take time and really THINK about this challenge.

Already enjoying this challenge! Anyone else in?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Finds :)

Happy Friday! My plans for the start to our Friday changed late last night - and, instead of taking our girls to Monkey Joe's this morning... Daddy ended up at a funeral, and the gals and I headed to drop off some bags at Goodwill.  But you just go with it. Ebb and flow. Right?

Since we ended up having a GREAT time at Goodwill and came across some GREAT finds - I thought I'd do a quick "Friday Finds", which, doesn't exist anywhere else in the bloggy world, I don't think - but, sounded catchy when I typed it in. Because I'm so "on the fly" creative like that. :) If you have a "Friday Finds"... forgive me?

Today was a good day for Ava. I found 3 pieces for her - and got them all for under $5! Are you still not trying Goodwill? :) All 3 pieces are like new and name brands - Old Navy, Xhiliration, and Hartstrings. Also, all are size 5 or 6...because my 4 year old is massive tall. And doesn't seem to slow down in the growth department. She just jumped into a solid size 11 in shoes this week! Yikes! Wanna see the goods? She is REALLY into dresses and I love that I can grab two or three for a buck or so apiece. :) The girls also scored a miniature doll wagon for $1.99 - it's too cute and will be in another braggy post about my beauties. :)

Another fun Friday find was this pic on my phone - we are thinking big sis was attempting a photo shoot with the baby.
Daddy thinks she did a pretty good job with the camera {Phone}... I think I agree. 

Girls are sleeping now and once daddy get's home we'll try this Monkey Joe's trip again. 
Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It's Thursday...which really means it's Friday

Let me explain.

My husband is a pastor who takes Fridays as his day "off". {Please note the quotes} :)
So, Thursday night really is like Friday night for us - and we look forward to it each week! Most weeks we don't have anything over the top crazy planned, just being together as a family. It's wonderful. And noisy. Tonight we have cell group time with some of our youth leaders - a great, encouraging time of coming together to hear from God's word, pray together, and just pull together as a team.

Tomorrow we are thinking of taking our girls to Monkey Joe's. If you've never heard of this place - it's a room full of jump houses, inflatable everything, etc. Kids go nuts! This was my goober two years ago at Christmas... a bouncing ball of sweat. Seriously, she kills me with the sweat. 

The girls have been more clingy and needy then usual lately and I'm thinking an hour of nonstop bounce fun might be the cure all. We have spent a lot of time indoors lately all cooped up in sweaters and what not. :) 

Besides fun stuff like that - I'm hoping to get a jump start on a few house projects and valentines day crafts. It is just a month away and I really, really, really wanna be ready this year. {sigh}
Yesterday I was finally able to find and order something with my 3 year old Pottery Barn gift card. I know, 3 years of just holding it! Nuts. These pretty faux flowering branches were on sale... and I happened to have a large mason jar that needs filling. I'm planning to redo all the living room decor. {shhh it's a secret}

I'm also hoping to maybe {finally} get our upstairs hallway and bathroom painted this weekend. We have the paint for the hall - just need some rollers {and time}. The bathroom... well, that's been a mind boggler for 3 years now. Ugh. Wanna see a few ideas I found on Pinterest for our hall way. Note: These have not been hubby approved yet. 
stair landing
LOVE the tons of frames & random mirror and key.
example of where to place what.
Not so much the stripes - but, love the simple shelving, and various surrounding pieces.
burlap in frames... with clip to make changing pics easy
Or, possibly just something streamlined and less random. :) 
Anyway, trying to work with what we already own- and man, my basement has plenty to look through. 

So, yes. It's Thursday - so, it's really MY Friday night :) 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It's a WINNER.

Thanks to all who entered the giveaway yesterday! I sincerely hope it was encouraging and refreshing to know that we all struggle to find that balance - but we "are more then conquerors"! :)

The winner of the booklet and CD set is -


Congrats to you! And, enjoy! Fritz and Amy mentioned in their comment that one way they are able to stay on track is with the help of an accountability partner to text with. Great idea! 
Keep pressin' on, friends! He is worthy! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A good day for a giveaway!

Happy Tuesday! Laid back day here. I worked allll day yesterday getting our entire first floor cleaned and organized. You'd think with a smaller sized house that wouldn't take so long, but, the holidays seemed to hit us hard this year - and, I'll admit that I was slacking for awhile. And then that week of sickness... and my excuses go on and on. But, all of floor 1 is done and we took just an easy morning here at home. Hubby went to work, I had some quiet time in Romans, the girls played nicely with their dolls. Lovely. We skipped preschool this morning and I think Ava is enjoying the break - which, is weird because every other day {even Saturday and Sunday} she's begging to do more school. 

It's nice to have a relaxed day. Until this afternoon when I conquer the upstairs. :) And then tonight... it's DATE NIGHT! Just me and the hubs enjoying a "quiet" meal at the Texas Road House. 

On to the giveaway, shall we?

As a momma to two small children, I'm familiar with how difficult it is at times to get in some really good {quality} quiet time with the Lord. Where do you begin? What do you read? How do I do this? Why doesn't this feel beneficial at times? All questions I've had myself. It's important to remember that there are seasons in life where quiet time will look very different. When my first baby was a newborn, I had amazing quiet times with her sleeping on my chest, any time. When baby #2 came around quiet time was when both children were sleeping, usually in the afternoon. Now, I have an early riser 1 year old {so early morning doesn't work for me} and a barely-napping 4 year old {so nap time doesn't work now either}. I'm finding creative ways and adapting. Honestly, some days it's exhausting just trying to think about and find a time for this supposed "quiet" time. This is where the Grace comes in :) 

So, while I don't have a solution per say, I will tell you - it's not about a specific time, I don't believe. We have to be flexible and in the moment and just the use the time we have, to the max. I'm still working on this every single day. I have friends who rise early and their kids sleep, I have friends who stay up late after the family goes to bed, and others still who have taught their children to play quietly mid-morning while they study God's word. We all have to find our flow. What's important is that we are seeking the Lord. 

I hope to encourage one of you with a lil' something to maybe jazz up your quiet time, or, inspire you to START BACK UP in making it a priority. 
These two items are nothing fancy. A small booklet on the names of God and a beautifully put together CD set. But, both of these things have been an encouragement to me at different times and I wanted to share! You have all day today to enter your comment and you can answer one of these questions :

What are you currently doing for your personal time with the Lord?


What is your biggest struggle in making time with the Lord a priority?

Remember, we've all been there - or are there - now. I'm eager to hear your answers and will announce a winner tomorrow morning! Have a super Tuesday! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday {woot}

First of all - Valentines day is EXACTLY a month away. If you are like me... you need the entire time to get things planned and done. Start now. And, you're welcome!


Happy Homemaker Monday! My wonderful hubs has taken both our girls upstairs to play and I'm enjoying some quiet alone time on the couch, listening to Rachmaninoff. It's the little things :) We have a busy day ahead and actually a fairly busy week - I hope to be intentional and make the most of every day. 

The Weather::: 
Today it will be 23 degrees. The weather lady jokingly said, "it might feel warm to some of you, but it's not". Wind chill joke? Oh, weather people. I can't complain. I really do like this time of year. Kinda forces you to slow down, breathe, cuddle up and be warm.

Right now I am:::
Enjoying some classical masterpieces via our cable music channel, sipping some Italian Roast coffee, listening to my family play in my 4 year olds room, I'm wrapped in a snow flake blanket from my friend Suzy. 
I can't get an article I read this weekend off of my mind. Moralistic Parenting. Am I training my children to simply be good for goodness sake? Or, is there more to it? Check out that article here.
Hoping to get some thoughts down later this week on this topic.

On my reading pile:::
Reading "Streams in the Desert" for my quiet time.
Finishing "The Meaning of Marriage" by Timothy Keller
Book of Romans
On my TV:::
Will probably let the girls watch a few toons this morning while I get preschool stuff prepped and some laundry started. 
Favorite blog post this week:::
Really enjoyed Mandy's thoughts over at Biblical Homemaking this week - perfect for a new year! "Changing your habits for God's glory" - check it out!

Something fun to share:::
Well, at least... I think it's fun. I ordered a 5 day clothes organizer for my 4 year old daughters closet. She has entered the "I want to pick out my own clothes" stage. Blah. I'm eager for her to learn responsibility - but the control freak side of me still wants to pick the cute outfits! Our solution {for now} is that I will pick the 5 outfits - she gets to pick which one she wants to wear on what day. :) Sounds fun right? I think so.
On the menu for the week:::
Monday - Basil pork chops with salsa pasta & beans
Tuesday - Asian beef & noodles {for the girls} But, DATE NIGHT at the TEXAS Road house for mommy and daddy :)
Weds - Leftover
Thursday - Bacon & egg bagels
Friday - Baked chicken with pasta
Saturday - Lasagna Pizza
Sunday - Gnocchi with pesto sauce

On my to do list:::
Acquire a computer printer
mop kitchen
set up more mouse traps - bold thing comes right towards us at night :(
drop off salvation army donations
pay cell bill

What I am creating:::
Nothing. Too cold to go outside. No projects right now.

Homemaking tips:::
Wipe down bathroom mirror after you shower. Use the steam, skip the windex - looks great and saves a paper towel :) 

Looking around the house:::
Not too bad. Sun shining SUPER bright through the dining room... a few toys out. Lot of blankets tossed on the couch. 1 kid now eating a greek yogurt. 

From the camera:::
My children and my precious Nieces with my grandma, a very special lady, at Christmas. It is so precious to me that my girls know my grandparents! I am blessed. 

On my prayer list:::
Reader Angie :) 
Teens and decisions
Those with the flu that seems to be lingering....
Wisdom in raising my children

Bible verse, devotional:::
Romans 1:16-17 I am not ashamed of the Gospel! Such a meaty verse. :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A retreat, deep thoughts, and... a GIVEAWAY

Last weekend I was able to hang out with some awesome people. Leaders, students, teachers. We had a great retreat and I cannot tell you enough how much I love this group.
The Lord taught me several mini-lessons while on this retreat and I was blessed and encouraged to see my senior girls stand up and take leadership. We are so thankful for our local church body. :) The weekend also may or may not have included stair surfing.

Deep thoughts.
Yesterday I read an article on moralistic parenting, put out by Resurgence. Wow. It has been on my heart and mind ever since. I might do a whole post about thoughts on this sometime this week - seems like something I'm battling with, and couldn't put a name on it. It has now been named. CONVICTED. If you haven't taken the time to read it - let me encourage you to do so. Our children NEED us to teach truth to them - not a morality based gospel. Check out "The Danger of Moralistic Parenting" here. Seriously. Do it.

Last, I have a lil' giveaway planned for sometime this week. :)
It's been A-while and I'm excited to bless some reader with TWO fun things. On a personal note - I've been having a difficult time getting into a good 2013 groove. I had high hopes and plans of how to revamp my prayer life, deepen devotional time, etc. All my plans have failed as we battled traveling, sickness, chaos and just the general start of a new year.  {my tree just came down this week} But, the Lords mercies are new EACH day and I'll start again anew tomorrow. My point is this - sometimes we have all these grand plans and even the really great ones fall flat. I'd like to encourage one of you with some tools I think aid in a good quiet time during your day. :) Hint - music might be included!
So, stay tuned. And, do share how you are going deeper in your walk with the Lord.

Friday, January 11, 2013



Adding this to the number one spot on the checklist this year. 
It is amazing how taxing, trying, busy, being a mother can be. 
I needed this reminder today - even though I'm never intentionally mixing up these two priorities. 


Thursday, January 10, 2013

View from the couch.

Yesterday morning my alarm went off at 6:10. I rolled over and could NOT believe that no one else was awake or crying in their beds... could this really be happening?! As I sat up to go do some good bible reading, I felt this wave of nausea - like, "Don't move another muscle". I obeyed the body and laid down. My husband asked me if I was going to get up and read and I explained the situation. "Uh oh, you have what I had" was his response. Lovely. 

I ended up sleeping, dozing, and laying around on the bed and couch for the remainder of the day. Hubs watched the girls in the morning and came home to do lunch and dinner - bless that man! He even brought me a Wendy's baked potato, as it was the only thing all day that sounded somewhat appetizing. Baked potato and 7up - ah, what a life! Sickness. There is just no TIME for that when you are a parent. Can I get an amen?! 

I remember coming out of a doze at one point and seeing every single toy we own {in the living room} dumped out in piles around the couch. Even when sick - my children just wanted to be near me. Apparently dumping out toys by my side of the couch is like an kid offering. Thank you, darlings, thank you. 

For the most part the day went well - Ava got to watch TV the entire day, which, was not my favorite...but, it worked in the moment. We watched lots of movies and she sat very still, and sometimes even sat on the floor and played quietly. Augs, on the other hand, did NOT understand this "mom on the couch" business. Jumping on my stomach, stealing my glasses and running away, trying to feed me while I was dozing, etc. This girl keeps me busy! She kept bringing me books, climbing up on me, sitting on my head, then reading to me. It was precious, and painful and did not help the nausea. But, I love her. This morning she continues on in the area of CUTE - by attempting to dress herself.
Close honey! But, that is a shirt. For 20 months... not too shabby! :)

Now, onto a day of double the housework as normal. I'm so thankful to be feeling better and I'm so thankful for a family who doesn't completely fall apart when Momma just needs to lay down. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Preschool: Day 1

It's been a long time coming, but, we finally started preschool at home today. But let's back up... so I can tell you how ONCE AGAIN my plans were thwarted. I, wanted to get up at 6 and have some quiet time in the word. Drink a cup of coffee. Gather my thoughts. Pen some notes in my "teacher" planner book. I, wanted things to go a certain way. Limited chaos was at the top of the list. And, once again I didn't get my way.

August woke up at 5:42am. Which, is just a gross time. Especially when you already have an early morning planned and those last 15 minutes would have been precious. Anyway, my plan changed from having a quiet time in the word - to laying on the couch in the dark, with a toddler on my chest. I was freezing because I forgot to grab a blanket for myself and I didn't dare move or it would stir her again. {sigh} So I just lay there and prayed. I was tempted to cry. Why does it seem that every time I set the alarm early... my kids wake up BEFORE me?! It's like a kid radar or something. Actually, I know its part of my sanctification. But that's another post. Aug's snoozed another 10 minutes and then went straight to whining and crying as loud as possible for "milk" and "eat" and "Nana" {banana}. This crying woke up her sister. We were all awake by 6:40am. Now my eager preschooler is asking over and over... "are we gonna do school now?" and I'm struggling to smile and act excited - because I'm not and honestly, my eyes hurt from being awake. Ah, but enough of that - we already know that part of being a momma is not sleeping and having your own plans change on the dime. And I know full well that I am blessed beyond measure that I even get to lose sleep over these precious ones. 

After breakfast we headed upstairs to the school room. It's nothing fancy and right now has zero decorations or school type things in it. I'm still working and planning a scheming ideas. But the kids table was up and our school bin was filled with workbooks and sharpened pencils. :) I had hoped to start each school time with prayer and a few songs - like I would have done in my preschool, sans prayer. The 4 year old announces that she doesn't want pray and then refuses to sing "this is the day" with me. I press on. Augs is now attempting to dig out all the pencils from the school box. How does one home school with more then 1 child?! I admire you. What went on from there was half chaos/half fun/very precious/memorable/totally amateur. But, we went through 3 workbook topics and Ava was SO eager. She just kept wanting to do and do and do. Which, tell me I need to plan some more! My heart kinda aches as I realize now I didn't get a picture of her "First day" and I'm annoyed that August was such a distraction and Ava was frustrated with her. But, it's also all good. I'm convicted that I could use my personal time better to plan and organize this for both of them. But ultimately, all that matters is that we made a memory and we have finally begun! 

Preschool: Day 1. In the bag. Here's to many more better days! This afternoon I found this quote in my email and I'm so thankful for the awesome reminder :

“You know, motherhood has caused me to come face to face with my less-than-wonderful qualities. Sometimes my kids bring out the worst in me. However, God doesn’t waste a thing. He uses my kids to bring me to Him. When I come face to face with my shortcomings, my weaknesses, and my sin, it’s a reminder of my need for a God who wants me to be more like Him each and every day.” 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Ever feel ugly?

Remember the character from the famous Greek wedding movie? Opening scenes show a tired, frumpy, undone, gal... working at her fathers restaurant, basically unhappy in her life. You want to feel bad for her. But, it's also kind of funny. 

This morning I feel like her. Only, in the tired, frumpy, undone sort of way. I'm VERY happy and thankful for my life. :) 

It was as I was walking out of Target this morning in my black jogging suit {which, has NEVER been jogged in}complete with HUGE winter coat, no makeup, two children, huge purse spilling out receipts, diapers, etc. and realizing I don't think I even ran a brush through my hair... when I saw HER. Tiny, perfect hair, perfect makeup, amazing clothes, manicured nails, carrying a Starbucks latte and a Victoria's Secret bag. She even walked cute. Annnnd... my 4 year old noticed the "pretty lady". For some reason, at that moment - no matter how thankful, blessed and content I was... I felt UGLY. I just wanted to duck away and hide. And while I've had those moments before... this one took me off guard. I'm still bothered by it. As women, we never want to feel those times. Even when life is crazy hard and days are long - we don't want to be ugly or feel ugly. And at that moment I felt like the UGLY poster child. 

I tried to recall scripture on "real" beauty - how the Lord calls us to guard our hearts and work on our beauty within. It was a comfort. But then I looked down to realize my jogging pants have shrunk and now 2 inches of my {unshaved} legs are showing. One more thing on the list... sigh.

There's no real lesson or moral with this post - just that, like everyone else, my insecurities are very real and I'm humbled and reminded AGAIN how vital and important it is to know truth, practice truth... and, shave. 
And for goodness sake... find 4 minutes to brush your hair. Shout out to all my hard working momma friends, today! 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Jan 2nd, and I'm already tired.

At 11pm last night I tip-toed into the baby's room, turned her space heater from the "low heat" option to the fan option, tip toed back out and went to bed. I was tired. Always seem to be tired. But especially drained after a late night on NYE and girls waking up per their normal time the following day. Ah, but that's life. At 3:23am I hear a little voice crying for her momma and to "eeeat". Our toddler hasn't been eating much through the day - just picks and nibbles like a bird - so, she's especially hungry first thing in the morning. Normally morning is around 6:45/7... and not 3:30am. So, I stood by her door to listen and sure enough after a few more fusses she was back to sleep. And so was I soon after. Then again at 5am I hear more crying and fussing. And I'm frustrated with myself because my first inclination is not to be concerned and caring towards my child... my first reaction {and verbal response} is "You have GOT to be kidding me!? I am so tired." My husband has heard this a million times since we began having children 4 years ago. Though, I admit, I'm much more whiny about it now. 

So, I stand by her door again and wait - only this time the crying won't stop and so I open her door to "rescue" her. When the door cracked a wave a heat hit my face and then I realized the bigger problem. Instead of turning the space heater down to "Fan" - I had turned it up to "high heat". So for "X" amount of hours our poor babe was attempting to sleep in a boiling hot room. :( Fail. Big. Mom. FAIL. Her skin was hot and she was understandable cranky. Think back to summer camp days - attempting to fall asleep in your cabin when it was 100 degrees on a summer night. Then, add warm baby pajamas and several crocheted blankets. Yeouch! I felt just awful. So, I grabbed her up and we headed back to my bed. Usually she'll curl right back up and sleep with us until a more reasonable hour. This was not to be today, however. She was mad and hot and wanted nothing to do with cuddling or sleeping. So, we started our morning very early and the little one continues to let me know how displeased she was and still is. Lots of whining, crying, and general grumps are going on. It's January 2nd, and I'm exhausted. This was NOT the plan I had in mind for starting out our new year. 

I had every intention of using this year to really dig in and GROW in the Lord, have time in the Word, bible study and prayer. I wanted to be intentional in the teaching of my children, fun with arts and crafts, creative in my home... but, all I FEEL like doing is laying across the couch with my favorite blanket and sleeping. And maybe crying. They seem to go hand in hand some days. And, I know it's only the second day and that I really don't even need to measure based on days... but, that general feeling of failing is so present today. It's hovering. It's exhausting. How can I do this? How can I be effective when I can't keep my eyes open?! 

Mrs. Charles Cowman, in her book, "Streams in the desert" had something to say this morning that I felt was written personally just for me, only... way back in 1925.

"Rouse thee, O believer, from thy low condition! Cast away thy sloth, thy lethargy, they coldness, or whatever interferes with thy chaste and pure love to Christ. Make Him the source, the center, and the circumference of all they soul's range of delight. Rest no longer satisfied with they dwarfish attainments. Aspire to a higher, a nobler, a fuller life. "Upward to Heaven! Nearer to God! -Spurgeon"

Ah, life water to a thirsty mom this morning. A reminder that my JOY, my PURPOSE, my STRENGTH, doesn't lie in my cup of coffee or even getting 10 minutes alone in the word - {tho I enjoy both!}. These things come from making Christ central in my life, in all I do. And with that motivation... I will press on.