Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thankful Turkey

Looking at all the Thanksgiving crafts ideas, I liked the Thankful Turkey best. It was something we could all participate in. I wrapped a styrofoam ball in brown yarn, made a ball of light brown yarn, cut out feathers from construction paper and attached them to toothpicks, cut out a beak and that red thing from construction paper, glue face to the head, attached head with toothpick to body. Then, we were ready for making our thankful feathers.

What we're thankful for:
Jacob- green, my turkey, eggs, my family
Beth- my family, God, outdoors, my church, food, me, my home
Laura- my salvation, my church, my family, my home, our health, friends, laughter
Kevin- blessings, church, God, job, my family, my wife, Beth and Jacob

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving from our family!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mainstay Farm

The first official field trip for Beth's class was to a precious local pumpkin/Christmas tree farm- Mainstay Farm. I love that I get to go with her, and that they don't mind if Jacob comes along. For Beth, I think the best part was probably riding the bus to get there and back.

The presentation about the farm was far more interesting than I would have expected. The owner talked about how when they bought the land to have a farm and decided to name it, they chose Mainstay, based on I Corinthians 15:58 (Be ye steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, ...knowing that your toil is not in vain). Months later, when they decided to start growing Christmas trees, they learned that a special stake, which is called a mainstay, used in helping the baby trees- it marks the seedling; it protects the seedling when storms come; it gives the seedling stability, disciplining it so it will become what it is intended to be. Just like the Lord is our mainstay! How cool! They give this presentation to both Christian and public schools. What an awesome testimony! Of course, for the entertainment factor, she couldn't find her chicken.
The kids got to watch a very interesting film about how pumkins grow,
race to dress a scarecrow,
play on a giant slide (Beth's teacher used Jacob as an excuse to go down the slide herself),
play in a haybarn,

roast marshmellows,

take a hayride through the Christmas trees,

and play in a big tree house.

All before lunch!
Then, a picnic lunch (and a quick visit to the gift shop- where I got some homemade blackberry jelly and an adorable ornament). Since it was the end of pumpkin season, the kids were told they could take home as many pumpkins as they could carry. After lots of indecision, we went home with 6 little pumpkins!

Ooey, gooey reward

Beth (really, Kevin and I) worked so hard on the school fundraiser, she earned two prizes- Chick Fil A lunch at school (10 items by the early date) and a field trip to Peter Piper Pizza (15 items total). She was so excited to ride the school van with her friends to the pizza. Kevin, Jacob and I met them there for some extra supervision and a little fun. There were 3 kids from Beth's class who earned the trip. I think there were 15 kids in the elementary who earned the trip.

The kids got a great behind the scenes tour of pizza making. Then, they got to choose the toppings for their personal sized pizza.

While pizzas were cooking, they got to play games and ride rides. Beth mostly played in the playset and drove the race car. She managed to play a few games to earn tickets. Jacob's favorite ride is the carousel. This was the Dino ride, and I'm not sure what that look is about. Silly boy!
Pizza time! They were so proud of their pizzas, and they were quite yummy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Book It

Remeber the Book It program when you were in school? Oh, man, I do! For reading books (which I loved anyway), I earned free pizza at Pizza Hut. It was quite a treat! I wonder if I still have my pin with stars for the months I earned my pizza.... Kevin, however doesn't remember doing this in school. Look at this shirt I found- I think I need it!

Well, a note went home with Beth at the first of October that they were starting Book It. She needed to have 550 minutes of reading time a month to earn a free pizza. No problem! At least I thought. I timed the reading we did with her for naps and nighttime then any other we might read together. By the end of the month, we were cramming to get that 550 minutes done. Whew~ we made it! Beth earned her first pizza. In the next week, we'll actually go get that first earned pizza. I wonder if she'll get a pin or something like I did?
This month, we're well on our way to having the minutes done, without cramming. This time, I'm timing any reading she does on her own. So far, we're at 410 minutes, with 7 days to go. I love that she loves to read and be read to. Currently, she's soaking up the American Girl books. While the time concept isn't quite sticking, she's enjoying learning about other girls throughout history. So far, we've read some Felicity and lots of Molly.

Perfect Playdate

We have some friends that we rarely get to see anymore. Then, we had an ah-ha moment. Both of our kindergarteners go half-day, so we could have a morning playdate with our little ones. Plenty of playtime then off to pick up big kids. PERFECT! Of course, Jacob had to wear his ball cap for the day and put it on "all by myself".
Jacob was so interested in all the different toys they had. He and Clara played with a jump-it toy for a while, and John Michael played alone. Then Clara wanted a story. JM listened until he realized Jacob was playing with a toy he wanted.
Clara was in her girl-world most of the time. The boys played nicely together for the most part. The car was the only thing that caused some jealousy.
They made us chocolate- calorie free! What sweet boys!
More than the kids playing together, I really enjoyed catching up with my friend. Our lives are so busy in opposite directions that we don't often get time together. I think we'll have to plan more morning playdates!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Grandparent weekend

Popi and Yaya came for a visit. I love when they come. The kids have so much fun playing. Kevin and I get to get away for a date night. It started off pretty chilly, but then the weather was great! We enjoyed some great outside time.
We found a praying mantis. When Popi showed Beth, she backed away as fast as she could. What a girl! Jacob was interested for a little while, but didn't want to hold it.

The advantages of living on the down-slope of the hill. FUN!

I thought I should get in on the fun too. Jacob didn't like it until I let him ride with me. No, I didn't make Kevin pull us back up the hill.

Beth was busy singing and balancing. We think we may start her in gymnastics in the spring. Oh, see that wave in the back of her hair, that's natural, and one of the few things she inherited from me. So, while the kids really resemble Kevin, I did get a few genetics in there!

Time to rest a bit
But not for long! Beth wanted to have some Popi snuggles.

Meanwhile, Jacob discovered Beth's nature treasure box and how to get it opened. He was quite pleased with himself. :)

Don't worry, there was plenty of relaxing time too.

Computer Time. Beth showed Yaya her favorite website- Oh, I have GOT to find that stuff for nail biting. WM doesn't carry it anymore, couldn't find it at Target. Any ideas?

Popi and Jacob had work to do too.

Sunday morning comics.

I sure treasure these moments of watching my kids enjoy my parents and my parents enjoy my kids. It reminds me to slow down and play more, despite the chores that need doing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Look what we made!

Craft projects are fun at our house! There isn't a day that goes by that something is colored. Beth would make one everyday if she could. Jacob likes them as the mood strikes. I want to do more than my chore list allows.
Jacob learned about the letter I, so we made an instrument.
Beth and I made mummy treat holders for Halloween.
At church, Jacob learned about God giving us joy. They made these flowers. When the teacher asked what made Jacob happy, he said "flowers" (I think because he was making flowers) and "Beth". How precious is that!
Beth had Bible character dress up night at Awanas. Beth wanted to be Mary, Jesus' mother. I figured I could whip up something easy enough. Of course, I waited until the last minute, but it all worked out fine. Promise you won't look too closely! After I made it, she asked why it wasn't fancy. Ah, a teachable moment, in many ways.

Round Up Weekend

Every fall, our church holds a good ol' fashioned Round Up Weekend. Folks around the church really look forward to it. The sanctuary is decorated in antiques and quilts. Some people get really into the spirit and wear old-fashioned prarie clothes or western wear (not too much of a stretch here in Texas on that).

On Saturday, there's an event for the school age kids. I went along with Beth to see what all the fun was about. The kids started with a Bible lesson then it was off to the games. There was barrel racing (riding stick horses around barrels), calf roping (see below), buckin' bronco riding (see below), a hay ride and hot dog lunch. Beth's K4/K5 group even got some playground time. All before noon!

Sunday started with a cowboy breakfast of pancakes and sausage, cooked over an open fire. Some folks had their horses out to see and pet. Service included a concert by Brian Free and Assurance. Wow, good music! Of course, good preaching too. The sanctuary was packed for both services. Then, for a fajita lunch on the grounds.

I'm so thankful for a great church with fun things for families to do, fellowship with other believers. Being a Christian doesn't mean you have to be boring!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank you

In 1938, this day was declared a National legal holiday, "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace." While originally called Armistice Day, honoring WWI veterans, in 1954, it was changed to include honoring all veterans.
Thank you, veterans. Thank you for your service to our country. Thank you for your sacrifices- of family, of time, of life. Thank you for keeping our country free. Thank you to the families for supporting them. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy 90th birthday Nanny!

On October 4th, we headed down to celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday! She is an amazing woman totally worth celebrating! When Nanny was 80, she demanded a birthday party. As she got closer to 90, she told us she expected another one. When she was diagnosed with inoperable stomach cancer over a year ago, we didn't expect her to make it to 90. Not only has she made it, but she's doing great! Nanny has a great sense of humor and positive attitude that I think have made all the difference in her longevity.

If you were to call her on the phone, don't expect to get a word in edgewise. It doesn't matter if her medicine makes her mouth dry, she's still going to talk your ear off. She'll tell you the same story that you heard last time you called. When you jog her memory of something, you'll hear a story you've heard 100 times, but she tells it like it's the first time she's ever told it. We love getting her going on a story! On the other hand, when I lived close to her, I would enjoy time with her, getting to hear a new story I truly never had heard before, learning more about our family history. In her lifetime, she has seen more change in America and in scientific advancements than in all the years before that. And, I assure you, she remembers it all.

There is nothing better than celebrating with family. Nanny has 5 children and 2 step sons. She has 9 grandchildren, 8 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren. Many cousins and longtime family friends came for the celebration as well. Nanny's best friend, Elsie, came with her husband, Bob. Elsie likes to tease Nanny about being older, by about 3 months.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ladies Retreat

When our church hosted a one night away ladies retreat, I knew I should go. I figured it would be a nice night away from normal and a great chance to get to know other ladies in the church better. I had no idea I'd have such a great time!!! Our ladies' ministry retreat team works so hard to put together an amazing weekend. Thank you team!

This year's theme was "Life is not a bowl of cherries" (sometimes you get the pitts). It also had an old-home feel of decorations and activities, returning to when women took care of the home in every aspect. No, I'm not inspired to spin my own cotton to make clothes with. But, the team went all out with trailers full of decorations to make the theme up right. This lady on the stage was in full time-warp mode, talking about how things were done way back when, all while she spun wool.

Upon arrival, we dropped off our snacks. Needless to say, we wouldn't be going hungry this weekend! We got a cherry tote bag with our itenerary and other goodies for the weekend. Then, we could scope out the goody baskets. Let me tell you, these baskets are something! There were some for silent auction- everything from home decor themed stuff, handpainted artwork, a complete set of dishes. Then, there were raffle baskets- more themes of chocolate, laundry, old fashioned candy, girly stuff (one had a digital camera), and tons more. I think there were over 60 baskets to be auctioned/raffled. All the proceeds went back to the ladies ministry, some of which was donated to a project at the church (our new book store). I bought 5 tickets and actually won a basket of old fashioned candies. It's been fun remembering some of them from childhood, but others were before my time. Still, we've enjoyed it!
We made crafts- a knot doll and a Bible cover. Beth has been asking about a Bible cover, so I was happy to get to make one just for her. She loves it! The doll, well, mine has issues :)
We had fun team building activities. Come to find out, most of the ladies on my team aren't highly competitive. But, we worked well together to get it all done. We had to decorate our team's pole with limited supplies. We had a deviled egg making contest- starting with an egg toss. We had jacks competitions and apple peeling contests.

We had a team skit, selling something. We "sold" a cure-all tonic. Mrs.Ginger (our preacher's wife) came up with a great pitch- it turns your tan skin pale, your brown eyes blue, makes your nails grow, gets rid of wrinkles, makes you rich, you name it. We won because ours was truest to the time theme! :) We also had a scavenger hunt of sorts. There were 46 descriptions of ladies and we had to find who matched that and get their signature. Things like- a stay at home mom, someone who bungee jumped, someone who'd been on Price is Right, someone who could sing I'm A Little Teapot, etc. Then, our teapot singers had to prove it. Hehe! We won this too!
While all this was fun, our main reason for going was spending time growing in Christ as Christian women. The study scripture for the weekend was the book of Joshua, with Joshua 24:15 as our key verse "As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord." Linda Chappell was our speaker, and she was such a sweet lady. Some key thoughts I learned that weekend:
  • Bend your knees before He breaks them. Submit with a gentle bow.
  • What is keeping me from God's promise of abundance? John 10:10 talks about having life abundantly
  • What is MY sacrifice for Him?
  • God already has in me what I need in order to serve Him. I just need to do it. I Corinthians 1:27- I have no excuses! Acts 13:36- David served his generation- I need to do the same in mine.
  • In order for my life to bear fruit, I have to overcome fear of failure and humiliation.
  • Revelation 12:12- Satan already knows his time his short, and he's gonna work to do everything he can to keep us from God.
  • Have I considered God's will for my children vs. my hope for them?
  • Don't allow fear of the world to remove the wisdom of God's Word.

I really enjoyed the quick trip away to learn and grow in God and friendships. I am already looking forward to next year and hoping my mom will come along.

If you are curious about this God I yearn to serve better, please ask me. I'm happy to tell you about the joy in my life because of Him. I'm even more excited to tell you about the joy I have in knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, where I'll spend eternity when I die. I want you to know where you'll be too. Yes, know, not hope or think you'll be.