Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Planning... with a purpose

Summer of Purpose
There is lots of chatter right now about summer plans, bucket lists, reading plans, outdoor fun!  And it has got me all excited!  I want our summer to be full of fun, but also to be full of purpose!  I don't want to end the summer stressed out, run ragged, impatient and wondering how we spent our time.  I need a plan, a sketch of what I want our summer to look like.

We only officially have 3 days until the school year is done for H, so I'm kind of scrambling pulling this all together.  It won't be perfect, but it is a starting place for us.  Here are a few areas that I hope to add purpose to our summer.

There are quite a few goals that we are working on setting for each kiddo.  Areas where we see a need for growth or a new skill mastered.  However, it seems that in the throws of the school year, some of this intentional training gets pushed aside.  I've realized that so often I expect my kids to be able to accomplish a task, without ever having properly trained them on the steps needed.  I want to slow down, to walk them through each part, to encourage them along the way and to celebrate the victories!
Some of our goals:
H- (age 7.5) Tie and double knot his shoes so they won't come undone.  Learn how to make the bed on the top bunk.  Practice printing (he has amazing cursive, but the printing has never been worked on).  Learn how to pack his entire lunch.  There are a more, but those are the start... nothing major, just all tasks/ skills for him to master.
Bug- (age 4.5) Know all her letters and numbers up to 20. Be patient for 1-hour of rest and reading. Getting ready without me prompting her...
B- (age 3) Buckle his carseat buckles all by himself. Become a safe swimmer. Make his bed neatly...

During the school year all of the kids are assigned Bible verses to work on, however, I wanted to hone in on some verses specific to what we are learning/ where my kids hearts are at.  It is my hope to have a verse a week for the kids to memorize for each week we are home.  It is our desire for them to hide God's Word in their hearts, to know Him and love him! 
I found some amazing resources tonight that will help with this:
Seeds Family Worship Songs to printable verses
Other Printable Verses

Being a Blessing not a Burden:
I have really noticed lately my kids are becoming a burden, in areas where they have the capabilities to be a blessing.  For instance, they are all old enough to pick up the toys that they are done playing with.  However, this hasn't been happening without reminders, nagging and consequences.  They are also capable to help with tasks around the house (with happy hearts), however it often turns into lazy work with complaining and grumbling.   I want to help teach my kids the joys of responsibility, the joys of serving others and the overall blessings when we choose to be a blessing to others.  This area of our purposeful summer feels the most daunting to me... probably because I am sinful like them and too often I am a burden to others.  And teaching my kiddos to be a blessing is so much more about the heart than it is the actions.  Heart-training can be so hard!!  No matter what, though this will be our BIG challenge for the summer (and for the next 18 years), I really want to dig in and work on this with them!

Serving Others:
This really goes hand-in-hand with learning to become a blessings!  We want our kids to learn to serve others!  To serve those they love, and to serve those they have never met before.  To serve in big and small ways.  I'm hoping that we can make this a regular part of each week.  That it can stretch us, and grow our love for others.

Daily Routines:
Again, I have noticed that during the school year, that we didn't have time (or for me patience) to hammer out some details that will make our days flow more easily.  I want to help build in new habbits/ routines/ expectations for what should be accomplished in each day.  Here is a rough list of some items that we will be building into our daily routine:

Room Picked up
Family Chores- whatever is needed to help the family/ house run
Reading Time
School Time
Practice Piano
Verse Practice
(I'm sure I'm leaving out some important details here)

Science/ Art:
My kids love projects!  Yet, I have been so bad this last year in preparing any projects for them.  We are going to try to do at least one project a week.  Maybe alternating between a science project and a fun art project.  So many ideas on Pinterest!

Summer Fun List:
We are still going to make our list of fun activities that we hope to accomplish this summer!  Our bucket list for summer 2013... ideas to come

There is my rough list of our purposeful summer.  I'm working on making it look all pretty so I can put it up on poster-boards!  I'd love to hear any other areas where you are excited about your summer, and where you are adding in some intentional thought to make the most of the time with your precious kiddos!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

This has been a joyful Christmas for us, it has been relaxing, full of laughter, kids running around, presents opened, advent crafts, and so much more.  We have had time with family, our little family and our extended family.  We are blessed!!

Here are a few of my favorite things about this holiday season:

Advent for Kids- this year we did Truth in Tinsel- ebook
 The Adventure of Christmas: Helping Children Find Jesus in Our Holiday Traditions
It was a perfect age for our kiddos.  We did all of the reading, loved the discussion that flowed from the questions was great!  I felt like our kids grasped the Christmas story more than ever.  We did many of the crafts included in the book, we modified some of the crafts... well becuase I'm crafty like that : )  I did give myself permission to not do a craft everyday... well because December is busy like that.  I think that if you have kids 8 and under, maybe even up to 10, this is an awesome advent to do!

Advent for Mama-
She Reads Truth- Advent
I read it on my phone through my Bible App- You Version
I started it late, so I tried to read one section in the morning and another at night to try to catch up.  It was great for me to have some focused reading leading up to Christmas too!

Joy To the World-
Our neighborhood goes a tad crazy with Christmas decorations... some beautiful and some overboard {that is an understatement}.  We wanted our house to be festive, but I really desired for our house to show the real reason for Christmas, the birth of Christ.  So my sweet hubby agreed to help me with a craft project... ops, promised him i'd call it an art project: )  I wanted a sign to hang on our porch, but I can't paint-- not at alll!  So all Mr. steady asked is that I showed him the fonts I liked and some ideas of a nativity. 

They he whipped up this masterpiece! It makes my heart happy every time I see it!  I'm sure going to be sad to take it down!

Gingerbread house decorating
We kept our tradition of decorating gingerbread houses with our friends. This year we were smart enough to let H decorate one that stayed at our own house. We couldn't let last years mishap occur again!

There were many other great events, traditions and happenings this holiday season.... Christmas party with my besties from college, H's Christmas play, seeing my sweet MIL, getting to hold my new little nephew, visit from my mom and step-dad, cousin time, amazing Christmas lights, lost of Christmas music, B mastering "Away in the Manger", Christmas eve service with family, beach day, mini family vacation to Palm Desert, many hand-made gifts, peppermint Joe Joes- yummy, Christmas banquet for church, and so very much more!

We have been so very blessed!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

all a ruckus

... and I love it!

This evening as I was cleaning up from dinner, I couldn't help but smile at all of the chaos in our living room.  It was daddy wrestle time, sheer mayhem, and I wouldn't have it any other way!!  I was over come with thanksgiving for God's goodness to us!  I was grinning from the giggles, shrieks of delights, the requests to stop being tickled, even when they didn't really mean it!  I was thankful for a daddy that adores his kiddos and will get down on the floor just to be jumped on by 3 very excited kids.  {I personally don't like being pounced on} I was thankful for a hubby that is out of chronic pain- that can play with his kids again.  In that moment I was surprised at how thankful I was for the trials of this last year... I may not have appreciated these things as much as I do now - if we hadn't been through so much this last year!

Bring on the chaos, the laughter, and the wild kiddos, we are busy making memories here!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Turkey Soup

So many things to be thankful for... including leftovers : )

Tonight I made a really yummy and pretty healthy soup, that we all gobbled up, pun intended!  I was searching for recipes to make with our leftover turkey.   You see there was only 6 of us at our house this year, and I went to Costco to get the turkey... smallest bird I could find was 21 pounds. So we have quite a bit of leftovers.

I found this recipe online and adapted it to what I had and what I knew my family would eat.  Here is my version:

Hearty Turkey with Butternut Squash and Quinoa

1 medium sized butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil/ or butter
1/2 a large yellow onion or one whole medium onion, chopped up
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1 can of black beans
1 Cup uncooked Trader Joes Harvest Grains (mix of couscous, orzo, quinoa)
2 cups cooked cut up or shredded turkey
Sprinkle bowl with parsley flakes

  1. Steam the butternut squash until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Remove half of the squash pieces and set aside. Once cool, cut into cubes
  2. Steam the remaining squash until very tender, an additional 4 to 6 minutes. Mash this squash with the back of a fork. Set aside. 
  3. Drain water from pan, re-heat pan and warm oil or butter.
  4. Saute onion and garlic until starting to brown, about 8 minutes
  5.  Add in salt, and oregano. pieces of squash, and mashed squash, saute for another minute.
  6. Add in Chicken Broth and can of black beans, bring to a boil
  7. Once soup is boiling, add in Harvest Grains (quinoa/ pasta mix), boil for 10 minutes, then turn to low
  8. Add turkey, and cook on low for 10 more minutes
  9. Serve up and sprinkle with parsley flakes

Cornbread was the perfect completion of this meal.  What did you do with your thanksgiving leftovers?

Saturday, November 17, 2012


I can't stop listening to the song "Times" by Tenth Avenue heart has so needed this reminder of God's love.  Below is the lyrics from the second half of the song.  Even if you know this song, slow down and soak it in!

My love is over
It's underneath
It's inside
It's in between

The times that you doubt me
When you can't feel
The times that you question
Is this for real

The times you're broken
The times that you mend
The times you hate me
And the times that you bend

Well my love is over
It's underneath
It's inside
It's in between

The times that you're healing
And when your heart breaks
The times that you feel like you've fallen from grace

The times you're hurting
The times that you heal
The times you go hungry and are tempted to steal

In times of confusion
In chaos and pain
I'm there in your sorrow under the weight of your shame

I'm there through your heart-ache
I'm there in the storm
My love I will keep you by my power alone

I don't care where you've fallen or where you have been
I'll never forsake you
My love never ends
It never ends
 Such incredibly powerful words, such a critical truth that is so easy to loose sight of in this world of striving! I am sincerely praying that you and I grow daily in our desire to know God's love!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

trusting God's best...

Today I was blessed to talk to a dear friend from back home.  She is someone that "gets me" because by nature she is a lot like me.  We haven't talked in quite a while, so as we were catching up I asked for some mommy advice.  You see, she has been a mama 2x as long as I have, she has walked this road of having small kiddos at home and I knew she would have a godly perspective for me.

I shared with her how I was struggling with one of my kiddos, always feeling like this child was not listening, getting distracted, not following through (and more), and that it had evoked a lot of emotion for me.  I was nagging this kiddo, raising my voice, and felt like I was continually being negative in my speech toward this kid.

My friend shared with me that when we get frustrated, try to manipulate, raise our voice or get angry, it is actuality like we are telling God that we don't trust that His way is right.  The Bible tells us that we are to gently approach our children, to pursue their hearts, to appeal to their conscience, to be patient and kind when we lovingly discipline them... just to name a few.

Yet when I'm loosing my cool, I'm in fact telling God that His way won't work!  That my kid is too stubborn to learn that way and that I know how to "really get through to him." 

I had never even contemplated before that my negative response was showing God that I not only wasn't living out His Word (by not being self-controlled, patient and kind) but that I didn't trust that His way was best!  Ugh!

 I'm thankful for a friend who speaks the truth even when it is not easy to hear!  I'm thankful for my many friends in the trenches of mommy-hood with me, and I am thankful for friends that are walking a few feet ahead to help give me perspective and encouragement!

"Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction." 2 Timothy 4:2

"And the Lord's servant (parents) must not quarrel; instead he must be kind to everyone (especially his children) able to teach, not resentful.  Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil..." 2 Timothy 2:24-26

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience..." Colossians 3:12

These three precious hearts have been entrusted to me.  I want to raise them God's way! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012


This morning as I was finishing up my time reading my Bible reading sweet H curled up next to me get an early morning snuggle. He asked what I was reading and I said Proverbs. I asked if he wanted to read it with me and he said yes. So I read verse one of chapter 18 and then he read verse two; back and forth until we completed the whole chapter. It was a sweet time of reading with my little man. But more so it amazed me that not only are these verses so applicable to me, many he was able to grasp the full concept of the verse and therefor the application! We would stop occasionally, and I asked him some questions, especially about verses that I knew would encourage him or that related to an area he needs to grow in.

This moment with H caused me to pause, and ask myself some questions... why haven't I done sat with H and read Proverbs with him daily? Why don't I go to God's Word first when there is a heart issue in his life that needs to be addressed? Why am I so blessed to be the Mama of this amazing little man that desires to know God's Word? How can I be the best mama for him and fully encourage him to seek God daily?

Proverbs 18:15
"The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out."

2 Timothy 3:16-17
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."


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