Tuesday, April 30, 2013

'Twas the last day in April... next up, May challenge.

Today marks the end of April. Crazy, huh? I don't know about you but I felt like that month FLEW by us. We have been enjoying some wonderfully warm days here and the weather man has now announced we may even see some of that white, cold, stuff again... before the real warm settles in for summer. {boo!}

My one lone tulip opened up today. Last year I had 12 - this year - 1. It's been a cold spring! Poor little tulips. It's like my yard knows I'm eager to move away from it. :) Speaking of...

THE FOR SALE SIGN IS IN THE YARD! I came up from working out in the basement and saw it stuck out there. I just smiled. :) The Lord is good and has a plan. Now we just wait for it in anticipation.

Tomorrow I'm starting a 31 day photo challenge that I found on Pinterest. It looks like this:

I've been playing around with our new camera and I'm excited to try out some new techniques. Listen to me... talking like I know what I'm doing. :) Anywhoo... I'd love for you to join me. I'm not super techy and still learning the ropes even about blogging, but, I might attempt to add a link up thingy for those of you who want to hop on board. My disclaimer is this - I may not get to EVERY single one of the 31 pics. And that's ok with me! But I'd like to try. :) So, who's in? 

Have a wonderful Tuesday! See ya next month {wink, wink}. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

End of April - Happy Homemaker Monday!

The weather.....
Hight 60's this morning! Loved taking the girls out back first thing after breakfast. But, I'm afraid the weather man has announced more cold weather later on this week :( 
Right now I am....
Finishing my re-heated cup of morning coffee, looking out the bedroom window at the breeze picking up.  

Hmmmm. Well, our house is FOR SALE. It's all very new and we are praying and waiting for a quick sale. We should be getting a sign in the yard today. Crazy!  

On my reading pile....
Got back into my "God's and Kings" series. Wow. So crazy good! I'm reading mine for free on my Nook and discovered our church library has the next two paper backs. Yes! 
Also, got a new Better Homes and Gardens in the mail today. Can't wait to see this months recipes!

On my TV.....
We did it! We shut off our cable! And guess what...it's totally painless! All the wasted time has now be transferred into conversations, reading and bible study, or just house projects. It's wonderful! 

Blog hopping (newly discovered blog)....
Didn't do a lot of hopping this weekend. 

On the menu for this week....
Oh dear me - I am slacking BIG TIME on the grocery shopping thing. I have meals all planned out but no food to prepare them. 

On my to do list....
Begin packing up the basement - sort out things for a yard sale.
Grocery shopMop kitchen floor
Finish painting hallway

In the craft basket....
Still those baby blankets... :) 

Looking forward to this week....
Wedding shower tonight for a gal at church, Bible study tomorrow morning, youth night on Weds, Cell group on Thursday, Seniors banquet on Friday, dinner with friends on Saturday and hubby preaching Sunday! Told ya it was CRAZY! 

Looking around the house....
My girls are asleep :)
Dishwasher needs loaded and the vacuum needs run in the living room. Who let a toddler walk around with saltines again?! ;) 
From the camera...
The girls and made our Summer Fun checklist this morning! 

On my prayer list.....
My hubby's very busy week! 
Raising children to see Jesus and love Him!
Friends pregnant
Sale of our house! 

 Bible verse, Devotional....
Love Sandra's idea - love this one from Pinterest! 

Let me explain why there is NO header. Something is WRONG with my post and it is all out of whack. Bah! Happy Homemaker Monday! 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A lil' redo

Oh, how the Lord is always providing for us :) I could {and am} write every single one of these blessings down! I can't wait for my children to one day sit and read all about how our God has provided for us - in BIG and little ways.

A few months ago we were given this big ol' dresser. August would need one once we moved the changing table out of her room {sniff sniff tear} - and we weren't sure where one might pop up. The very same day I was thinking about this I saw a couple from church giving one away on FB. Yippee! I didn't even care what it would look like because, you see, I had plans involving lots of mini cans of pink paint.

Here is the before, and please don't mind our filthy old garage ;)

And here is what I was able to finish up this afternoon -
I wanted it to be a little more ombre, instead of the bottom four basically looking like the same color...but, it works for now! Eventually we'll fix that last handle that WILL NOT come off, and we'll sand down and repaint the outer white part, and then find CUTE knobs. But, it works, will fit ALL of the little's clothes and I can't wait to put it in her room. :) The best is that it cost $0!

Next on my to - do list...

This beauty. She has been sitting and sitting and sitting, just waiting for some attention. In the fall I gave it a really good deep clean that has now been undone by a season in the garage :( I have pinned almost every single buffet idea from pinterest and I still cannot decide what I really want to do to it. It's in rough shape so I don't think leaving it in the natural state will work. What would YOU do?

Before I end this post today. Exciting news! As of tomorrow, April 29th, 2013 our home is FOR SALE. We have been waiting and waiting and praying and thinking - and have decided to step out in faith and see what the Lord will do. Pray with us for a quick sale? We have really seen and felt the need to be closer to our church and are asking the Lord to move us there. He'll have to do it - because we are so incapable! 

What a great Sunday! Enjoy yours!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

It's a scavenger hunt!

Preschool in this house has been.... not at all what I imagined. Both for the better and the worse. It takes a lot more work then I realized and I didn't really anticipate what life would be like trying to educate a 4 year old with a 1 year old poking her hands into everything. It's fun, and challenging, and looks different every single day.

Yesterday we tossed the workbooks and alphabet and headed outdoors for some nature discovery. Ava LOVES hands on learning and she really got into our back yard nature hunt.
With her list of things to find.

Little sister didn't quite get the concept of finding things and putting them in a bag, so she worked on entertaining the neighbor cat and balancing on whatever she could walk on.
 Finding lots of discoveries in our own back yard.
My one and only little tulip that has survived how FREEZING it's been here. 

Successful morning of preschool, and I think we all learned something! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Are you in IT?! Because you should be.

Oh, sometimes I am so stubborn and prideful. Or perhaps just ignorant and lazy. Either case is dangerous and sinful. {sigh}

The Lord has been chipping away at my heart for the last few months {years...?}and it seems the more frazzled and out of whack I get, the more He draws me in. This weekend many things in my personal life and heart as well as things in the world all just seemed to come to a head for me - and there was a moment of genuine "BING" where the light bulb just went off. My heart was broken and tender as I evaluated my life and saw a huge, gaping, hole. And just like that I realized why so many other things in life have seemed off kilter. Because you see, even when knee deep in ministry and life and raising children and loving Jesus... you HAVE to be in His word consistently. You have to be digging in and digesting - and for far too long now I just haven't known HOW. Oh I can read through a bible study book and I can tackle a proverb a day like a champ - but my soul has felt starved! I always want more and I just never knew the "perfect" way to get it. Spoiler: there is NO perfect way, so...just do it! 

I attended a 4 year Bible college and have been a believer since I was 13 years old. I grew up in the church since I was 5 and have attended every VBS, youth group, club, etc. known to kid-kind. I had AMAZING youth leaders and a fantastic youth pastor {and wife!} in middle school that have left deep impact on my life. :) The Lord has showered me with amazing relationships that have helped me grow and develop into a woman of God. I married a godly and Christ-seeking man. Thank.You.Jesus! But even through all of that - I've never heard such a clear and impactful way of bible study as I did this weekend at our ladies conference. I was signed up to be in another breakout session, but I felt the Lord impress on my heart to attend the "Choosing Joy Daily in God's Word" session. Because truth is - I don't always have joy in God's word and often times my day feels like a big chaotic WHAT AM I DOING!? kind of thing. So, I went and I sat in the very front row. :)  It was like a banquet table to this hungry heart! 

"Maintaining the Christian life apart from a steady diet of His word is impossible."

"There isn't anything on your schedule that could possibly be more valuable than time 
spent with your Father."
-Charles Stanley, In-touch magazine

For those of us who feel like we are floundering or lost or just not sure of where to start and HOW to study God's word - let me share what I've learned and fan the flame for you. Because we MUST be in God's word! Choose your passage or book of the bible or wherever you are reading, grab a notebook and pen,  and then... 

SPECS. Not a real word, but, in acronym form we get this:

S- Sins. What sins are in the passage read? Do I have something I need to repent of and change?
P- Promises. What promises are their to claim? Write them down.
E- Examples to follow. What are they? Good or bad.
C- Commands to obey. List them. Know them. Take them seriously.
S- Scripture to memorize. Tuck it into your brain and KNOW it. 

This method blew me away. I actually teared up and cried right there in the workshop in the front row. It resonated with me and the Lord just gently pushed on my heart and convicted me that I NEED to be in His word and THIS is a good and helpful way! It had never been presented so clearly and passionately. I was SO thankful to have been in that workshop. 

And a few starting point ideas for those of us who never know where to open up to:
  1. Psalm 119 study. Read 8 verses a day and then ask yourself these questions:
  • What does the word DO?
  • What is it?
  • What is my responsibility? 
2. Life of Christ/ Gospels study
  • Read through the Gospels {Matt, Mark, Luke, John}
  • What did Christ do? List every action. Know Jesus and how He lived. {WOW!}
3. Epistles Study
  • How did believers grow and change?
  • How seriously FAITH matters
4. Chronological reading of the bible from start to finish. Get the full picture! 

Wow, I am so so thankful for the ladies {Julie & Danielle} who shared such great wisdom and leadership. My heart is brimming to full and I'm eager and excited to jump in on these things! In my quiet time today I was reminded again of just how important it is to keep growing and being in God's word. 

"For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;" Col. 1:9-10

This is commandment, friends... GROW! 

John MacArthur comments on the knowledge of God like this:

"Spiritual growth cannot occur apart from this knowledge. The evidences of spiritual growth include a deeper love for God's word, a more perfect obedience, a strong doctrinal foundation, an expanding faith, and a greater love for others." 
-MacArthur study bible, Colossians 1:10 

Are you in IT? Because... You should be. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday

Happy Homemaker Monday 
Hello fellow homemakers! Happy Monday to you! We are having a laid back morning here and I'm eager to get much done today. But first... some homemaker fun. :) 

The weather.....
Well, we still can't seem to maintain Spring around these parts. 60's today and then a chance for snow again tomorrow. {sigh} But, we'll be thankful for whatever comes our way!
Right now I am....
Just finished my coffee! Watching my big girl play with her polly pockets, littlest is curled up with her daddy watching a movie. Just enjoying being snuggled under this warm blanket on a chilly morning.
We are seriously planning some future happenings in our life. HUGE things and changes. Already confident the Lord will direct as He always does.

On my reading pile....
Midwest Living Magazine
Living magazine
Better Homes and Gardens Magazine
-->they all came this weekend and I can't wait to leaf through them!

On my TV.....
"Tangled". Girls love this one!

Blog hopping (newly discovered blog)....
Mommies with Hope is a blog for women who have experienced the loss of a child through miscarriage or still birth/complications. Breaks my heart how many women are touched through this kind of thing - self included. Anyway, the gal who writes for this blog just did our womens retreat at church this weekend and she has great resources!

On the menu for this week....
Monday - Brunswick stew!
*need to plan out the rest of the week!

On my to do list....
Whole house tidy
Pack up excess toys and clothes

Looking forward to this week....
Play group at church, youth group, possible "junkin" experience this weekend, and a trip to the HUGE childrens consignment sale at the fairground!

Looking around the house....
Folded clothes need put away, stuffed animals everywhere { I swear they multiply in the night!}, blankets all over the couch. We live here :)

From the camera....
This one...with her bonnet and always wanting to wear "pwetty dwesses". :) 

On my prayer list.....
Friends expecting babies
Those who battle with infertility and infant loss
My family, raising children who love Jesus

Bible verse, Devotional....
Really enjoying the book of Acts - specifically THIS passage yesterday in chapter 17. I'm trying to memorize it! 

  “24 The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else."

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cooking Thursday: In my Kitchen

Welcome! I'm linking up with Sandra today and sharing some recipe ideas for this Thursday day. :) Here is the view I've had most of the day so far, my kitchen. Hopefully you are enjoying a calm and quiet part of your day - I am! My littles are napping, a cake is baking, and it's rainy, dark, and gloomy outside. {This cup of French roast is helping the relaxation, too.} I really do love working in my kitchen and making delicious things to bless my family with. What a joy and honor to be the homemaker! Today everything is made from scratch and I have loved getting my hands messy in the carrot shreds, etc. Praise the Lord for this job! 

Thurday nights are pretty special around our home, as it's really like a Friday night to us. My husband has Fridays off and we use that day for family activities or just catching up on rest. It's glorious and such a blessing to work somewhere where time off is given and understood! Thursday nights I try to make a bigger meal - something everyone enjoys and maybe even a dessert. I usually cook every night, but Thursday I aim to make crowd pleasers... maybe avoid my preferred broccoli or veggie soups. Hey, I do have two small girls and a non-veggie loving hubby. I can handle it. :) 

Tonight we are having Ham Balls, Springtime potato salad and for dessert... Mango Carrot cake! Yum. Here are some recipes to share.

Ham Balls:
1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground fully cooked ham
2 eggs
3/4 c milk
2/3 c crushed shredded wheat cereal
1 1/2 c packed brown sugar
2/3 c water
1/3 c vinegar
3/4 t ground mustard
1) In a bowl, combine pork, ham, eggs, milk and cereal; mix well. Shape into 2in. balls; place in a greased 9x13 baking dish.
2) In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, water, vinegar and mustard. Bring to a boil over medium heat; simmer, uncovered, for 4 mins. Pour over the ham balls. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 60-70 minutes or until browned. 
--->Bonus: used some ham chunks I had in the freezer, put it through my meat grinder - voila! Ground ham! 

Springtime Potato Salad:
3 c diced, peeled, cooked potatoes
2 hard boiled eggs
1/4 c chopped celery
1/4 c chopped sweet pickles OR sweet relish
2 T fine chop onion
3 T fine chop or sliced radishes
1/4 c mayo
1 1/2 T sugar
1/2 T vinegar
1/2 T milk
1 t prepared mustard
pinch salt
dash paprika 

1) In a bowl, combine potatoes, eggs, celery, pickles, onion and radishes. In another bowl, combine mayo, sugar, vinegar, milk, mustard, and salt. Mix well. Pour over potatoes; stir to coat. Cover and chill, sprinkle with paprika before serving. 
(this was doubled in my cookbook - so the measurements may seem odd here... I guessed in my head on a few things)

{picture courtesy of BHG.com}
And, as far as dessert goes - Better Homes and Gardens had a great spread in this months magazine on using fruit juices in foods. You can find the Mango Carrot cake, HERE. :) Mine is cooling now and making our home smell just wonderful! 

Happy cooking Thursday! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I can't seem to bring myself to this keyboard and write anything. I've sat down a few times and debated in my head what I wanted to say. But then I push back, sign out, walk away. And while, yes, life is busy - my reason for not writing is not so much due to choatic schedules and to-do lists...but, because I think my heart is too heavy and the words just escape me right now.

While in FL I don't think the severity of what was going on in our world had fully hit me. I mean, I was on vacay. It's easy to click through some news feeds of bad news and onto the "Good stuff". But this week, I can barely even get on the computer - any kind of program - without being confronted with BIG BOLD sin and total despair in our world. I've also left the TV off for the same reason. Because, I know it's there.

I can't put words behind what I feel when I read this "Gosnell" case. How 5 years ago I held my 8 week miscarried baby and sobbed as we drove to the hospital pathology lab. I would have given ANYTHING to have kept that baby alive and growing within me. The agonizing pain of handing your tiny baby over to a path lab worker in a lunchbag - that MESSES with a person. Though, I was and still am covered in grace. But even then... that's not the point. I'm silenced and dumbfounded about what I'm seeing and hearing and want to just SCREAM out for those babies. Sin in my life is no better or worse then that sin - but, LORD, WHY?! Those babies. Oh Jesus, do you hold them? How this breaks your heart. Those mothers, girls even, who just have no idea of the hope and life in Christ. They are empty and lonely and blinded by sin and death. I want to SCREAM out for them.

But instead, I'm silenced. There are no words, only heartbreak. Like I'm gasping but nothing will come out.
Lord, come quickly.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday! {Home again}

Happy Homemaker Monday 

We flew home from Florida on Saturday afternoon and are adjusting back to the not-so-warm Iowa weather. They say it's coming...but, right now we are chilly after spending a week in the 80 degree range. :) I brought a horrible cold home with me and am just now getting back to feeling better. It's Monday. The coffee is hot and the day has begun! 

The weather.....
It's sunny out, that's all that matters right now. Hoping it's warmer today so we can head outside and pull some weeds and start to tidy that yard!

Right now I am....
Drinking coffee, chatting with hubby, mentally planning my day
It's TAX day. What a blessing to have ours done for the year.
And, WOW, we have two gorgeous blue jays out front right now - I really hope they stick around, what a fun thing to watch!
On my reading pile....
"I used to be so Organized" by Glynnis Whitwer

On my TV.....
"The Sound of Music". My girls LOVE this movie and we watch it so often.

On the menu for this week....
Monday:  Grilled cheeseburgers, tomato and cucumber salad & roasted potatoes
Tuesday:  Curried beef stir fry & pea salad
Wednesday:  {making a mango carrot cake!}
Thursday:  Ham balls & potato salad
Friday:  Southwestern Salad  & Chocolate Cake
Saturday:  Chicken Tortilla Bake
Sunday:  Brunswick Stew

On my to do list....
Laundry, Cleaning bedrooms, dusting upstairs, mopping bathroom floor, vacuum upstairs, plan 2nd birthday party for Augs.

In the craft basket....
Would love to finish my two crocheted baby blankets soon.

Looking forward to this week....
Sticking to our menu plan :)
Putting out spring decorations
Accountability group tomorrow, youth on Weds.
Our womens conference is this weekend, really excited about it! 
Looking around the house....
Oh boy. Suitcases and bags laying still full in all the rooms downstairs.
From the camera....
Signs of spring I found in the yard this morning. The previous owner of this home must have had quite a garden, because we find things all the time. I know the big leaves are tulips, but have no clue on this first one. Still beautiful!

On my prayer list.....
Pregnant friends

My children and husband
Life plans for us

Bible verse, Devotional....

I recommend the small devotional "Streams in the desert"  by the Cowmans to anyone who is looking for a thought-a-day type of read. I have found it SO encouraging! 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

.::A Florida Final::.

Tomorrow is our last full day in Florida and it is crazy to me how fast the time has flown by. We've had a wonderful visit and it will be an adjustment once we get back home.

Just a few pics of the last few days adventures :) These two sisters are just the best. I'm such a blessed momma!

 Our view most days... pool side. :)

More lizards. They are everywhere! So cool. 

Tonight ended with a trip to DQ with some other family that was down here at the same time. Good memories and messy messy children.

Ah, Florida. How sweet it has been!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

An online find, or two. :)

Hi friends :) I'll spare you from the millions of pics I've been sharing lately. Can you tell that I adore my new camera?! What fun I've been having with it! Ah, what a blessing...still gives me goosebumps!

I wanted to share something I read online today, especially if you have daughters - it's fantastic and kinda made me tear up a bit. The post is called, "24 ways to prepare your young girl to become a lovely woman", and was from the blog "Club 31 Women". Check it out here.

I haven't gotten to dig into the blog a ton yet, so I'm not sure what else is there - but, was so encouraged by that post! And, I needed this reminder and know I'll need it again and again. :)

And on a totally different note...
Back to my new "toy". I think I'm going to jump on board and take this "challenge" here soon! Though, I might tweak it a bit.
Anyone wanna jump on board with me? :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Florida: Part 3

I got a little bit of a tan today! And, let me say - Thank you - to those of you who have been praying for me and my children. Today was great and my kids seem to be back to "normal". My hubs and his dad made the trek north up to the Gospel Coalition for the next few days, so its just the girls and I and my mom-in-law here at the house.

We kept things pretty laid back for our first solo day at home. The girls and I picked up a small pool from Family Dollar and we just stuck close to home. The weather continues to be wonderful! 

Tonight grandma took us to a local play ground and the girls loved it!

So thankful to be here. :)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Florida: part 2

It's been kind of a rough day for this gal. I'm beat. Tired. Drained.
My girls are out of sorts, to say the least, and my brain hurts just remembering how the day went. It felt like we went from one tantrum to the next to the next to the next... you read me. Even after a 3+ hour nap - still, difficult.

But, it's still Florida. It was a hot and sunny day and I still have reason to praise and give thanks!

Like, these guys. Teeny, little, lizards that just scamper around. They are so cute, kinda.
And, so much beauty in creation. Even the patterns on the palm trees make me smile.

And, most of all - this guy. 
He's by my side and working with me all the time. He is a gift and I love him.
Obviously the angle on this shot is not ideal. But, while the girls were napping it was fun to snap a pic of just the two of us. :) 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Florida: Part 1

Tonight I'm sitting on the floor of my in-laws house. The men are watching basketball, my children are asleep, and it's a calm Saturday night. We have officially spent our first full day here in Florida. It's good! I'm not sure if I'll do many posts while down here, but, we'll call this part 1 just in case. :)

After waking up at the bright and cheery hour of 3:30am yesterday, stepping into the airport at 4:30 and onto a plane at 6 - most of the day was a blur. The girls did a fantastic job of traveling and baby girl even slept for almost the entire second flight! My biggest girl did struggle with her motion sickness - and we are looking into new options as the Sea Bands don't seem to cut it anymore. :/

This morning I sat on the back porch with a hot cup of coffee, my bible,  and... wait for it... this. 
Yes folks. It's glorious, warm, wonderful sun! What an awesome way to start the day. Never mind that I sat right next to a papaya tree, or got to hear the sweet giggles of two well rested and excited little munchkins. :)

 {early game of throw the golf ball, anyone?!}

The papaya tree...and a very curious big girl.

So anyway. Days 1 1/2 are in the bag.
Yesterday while we were still in the Orlando area we made a pit stop at a place called Disney Downtown. It's kind of like the real Disney...only, FREE! Lots of store fronts and even a carousel ride. I learned a few things. 1) My kids are still a little young for Disney, if we even ever go. 2) Life is more enjoyable if you are rested. Blessings to my MIL for entertaining our extremely cranky 4 year old while we were there. 

My handsome traveling companion :)
 Legos! Our newest exploration.
 Little one loving so many "babies". Look at the bags under those tired eyes!
 This is the face of sheer grump-o-ness. Good thing she's cute!
 Little and Papa watching "pish" at Rain Forest Cafe.
 -> this is actually at the airport, but, keeping with the theme, thought I'd share. :)

Happy Saturday and here's to a great week!