Friday, May 27, 2011

Grateful For The Provider

It’s Grateful Heart Friday and today I’m looking back at this past week and recalling all I have to be grateful for. This week I am super grateful for the provider of our family. My husband works so hard and I am not only blessed by his sacrifice for our family, but I am challenged by his work ethic. He is a man of integrity and conviction and he is a very hard worker. He recently went back “on the road” as a CHP officer after 4 years of working in the judicial protection division. He get’s up at 4am and leaves the house by 4:30am. He’s amazing! I’m grateful that deep in his soul he longs to provide for our family. I know that he would do anything he had to to take care of us. I find great security and comfort in that. I’m grateful that I have been able to stay home with our children and not have an outside job. I’m grateful that my husband doesn’t view his job as more important than mine just because he gets a paycheck. I’m grateful that my husband is modeling to our children what it means to work hard. I am a very blessed woman and I am very grateful for the provider that is my husband. Most of all I’m grateful for Jehova Jire – The God who Provides. God is so faithful to provide for my every need. Not material needs and wants, but the needs of my soul and heart. He is faithful to provide healing where there is pain, Challenge where there is idleness, Conviction where there is sin. God provides comfort, blessing, forgiveness, mercy, purpose, grace, joy, peace… I am grateful.

*This will be my last Grateful Heart post for a few months. I’m moving my Yummy Summer posts to Friday and going back to my original plan of blogging every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Somehow I’ve gotten a little lost and have been blogging daily and it’s keeping me at the computer too much and it’s not healthy for me. I will continue to work on having more gratitude in my life, but for now my gratitude will not be posted on my blog!
          I had the idea to share some fun summertime plans, ideas, recipes, tips, crafts… and I’m really loving it! I’ve been posting my Yummy Summer thoughts on Tuesdays, but until the end of July, Yummy Summer will be now be on Fridays. I hope you’ll join me and share your summertime ideas so that together we can make this a super Yummy Summer for our families.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Serving Others with Joy

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Galatians 6:9
"Delight and fulfillment go hand in hand as a mother seeks to find purpose in the responsibility of serving her family.  She is the center of the home, and God has given her the unique ability to create an atmosphere of peace and joy that only she can bring.  Let the joy of the Lord fill your countenance so that what you portray may be contagious to everyone you influence and come in contact with daily. 
You are God's gift to those you love."
From Time with God for Mothers by Jack Countryman
I don't know about you, but I needed to hear that today!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yummy Summer Beach Day

Last summer I planned to go to the same beach every Tuesday at the same time. I invited several girlfriends to join me with their littles, but told them there was no obligation. “Just know, that I will be there every Tuesday no matter what,” I told them. And I was. I was so much fun to not worry about making plans or phone calls to coordinate, I just knew that every Tuesday I would be at Westward Beach at 10am. One of my dear friends joined us every week and our children had so much fun playing together and looking forward to their weekly beach date!~
This summer I highly recommend having a regularly scheduled beach day. Big picnic, tons of beach toys, sunscreen and *baby powder!  If you don’t have a beach nearby, make it a park that you commit to going to every week at the same time and let all your girlfriends know and be surprised each week with who shows up! Even if no one else joins you one week, it is a surprise date with your kiddos alone!
* baby powder is the best way to get sand off little bodies!  Sprinkle it on and gently wipe it away.  All clean and smelling good!
Check out these other great Yummy Summer ideas from some other moms:
3. The Team Hassler
Yummy Summer is a weekly project to share our summertime ideas.

Join the fun:
1. post your fabulous idea for a summertime craft, day trip, activity, tip, recipe… you name it!
And add the Yummy Summer Button to your post
Not a blogger? No worries – leave your idea as a comment below.
2. Link up your blog post
3. check out all the Yummy Summer ideas and adopt a few for your family
to make this a very Yummy Summer!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Work Hard

Our children watch our every move.  They listen to our every word.  So much of who they become is a reflection of who they most watched.  There is so much pressure as a parent to live my live in an exemplary way.  They way I respond to a rude person in a parking lot, the way I greet my husband when he comes home from work, they way I react when they spill milk, they way I spend my free time, the way I take care of myself, the company I keep… They are learning most everything from me in these early years.  It’s daunting.  Then there’s the dishes.  Something simple, mindless really, that I do every day without thinking about it.  And who is watching? learning? wanting to be just like Mommy? The 2 year old monkey!  He has become my little dishwasher.  I realized that he has seen Mommy working hard around the house and he wants to work hard too (or splash around a little!)  I think that teaching our children the value of working hard is very important.  Our children are a valuable part of our family and they have something to contribute, something that we need.  It gives them such a huge sense of worth and importance when they work hard in the family.  This often comes through teaching them household chores and letting them stumble through them as they learn.  I highlighted a little summer fun I’ll be doing with my children in my Yummy Summer post last week – it’s about having a special chore chart for the summer.  My children are still little, so this is still new for them.  If you have older children, I recommend having weekly chores for them to do throughout the year to affirm that they are a useful and valuable part of the family.  I know the day is quickly coming when my little man will be able to reach the sink without a chair and use the soap without help (tear) and I hope when that time comes he’ll still love washing dishes!
*Link up tomorrow for Yummy Summer!
Where we swap Summertime ideas, activities, crafts, recipes...
to make this a very Yummy Summer for our children!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Grateful For Pickles & Bread

One of our Mother’s Day traditions is to picnic at a nearby park. My husband packs a “Euro” picnic of breads, cheeses, meats, fruits and French berry lemonade and we enjoy this beautiful spot that feels like we are so far from home! This year was fabulous and my husband packed a few extra pb&js for the kids and we headed out. At the park, the littles didn’t want their special lunch,
they wanted our prosciutto on a baguette and cornichon pickles!
 I’m grateful for adventurous children.
 I’m grateful for the little pleasures like a European train station style sandwich.
 I’m grateful that my husband has been getting home from work by 4pm. I’m grateful for a yoga class that still has me sore! I’m grateful for new books, Tangled, and SToribook Weddings. I’m grateful for 2 full nights of sleep without interruption this week. I’m grateful for a dear friend who shared Isaiah 48:17,18 with me. Most of all I’m grateful for a God who knows what is best for me and wants to teach me what that is. If I learn from Him and obey, my life will be filled with peace.

“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” Isaiah 48:17,18

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Embrace The Truth

Here it is.  I STRONGLY dislike dinner time with my children.  There, I said it.  It really is the worst time of the day.  I'm daily hoping that it will change and one day we'll enjoy a meal together with great conversation and no yelling, crying, burping, wild laughter, circus food performances, or vegetable hating. 
Yes, I too have a dream.
My husband grabbed the camera during this wild meal.  He thought it was funny.  I was not amused!
Embrace The Truth and get yourself in a photo today!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rain Rain...

Don’t go away!
The truth is I love the rain!
My home was always filled with music when I was growing up. There was a baby grand piano in the living room and an organ in the family room with some guitars scattered around and a triangle and tambourine! Almost nightly my dad would sit down at the piano and in his honky tonk, bluesy kinda way, he’d play old hymns. If my mom didn’t jump on the organ, she’d start to sing and my dad would kick in with the harmony. I learned all the old hymns by listening and eventually singing along. One of my favorites became,
“Something About That Name,” by the Gaithers:
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
There's just something about that name
Master, Savior, Jesus
Like the fragrance after the rain
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Let all Heaven and Earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms
Will all pass away
But there's something about that Name

The name of Jesus is clean, refreshing, bright, intoxicating, powerful, pure, life-giving and peaceful. Just like the fragrance after the rain. Every time it rains I think of this song and fall in love with Jesus all over again. It's raining today.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chore Charts & Prize Baskets

For today's installment of Yummy Summer, I'm sharing a fun idea for summer - chore charts and prize baskets!
     I have wonderful memories of summertime as a child and the large basket of wrapped prizes that would sit under our fireplace! There were tiny numbers on each package and once we “earned” enough points, we could buy a prize with our points! It was so much fun. All of the gifts were summer related – water toys, bubbles, kites... The way we earned points was by doing chores and various things.  I started this last summer with my girls and it was a blast! 
Today I hit the dollar bin at Target to start collecting my prizes for this summer’s basket.
Here’s the plan:
1. make a chore chart that is age appropriate for your child
If you already have designated chores for your children,
try to think of some new special ones that are just for summer.
(My littlest is only 2, so he won't really have summer responsibilities! 
But I did get him some prizes to pick alongside his sisters!)
2. collect small prizes, wrap them, and designate a point value for each.
3. once school is out, let the games begin!
I hang the charts in the children’s rooms and at bedtime we review the day and fill in their charts.
Some great places to find prizes are Target’s dollar bin and The Dollar Store
coupons for ice cream, movie night or sleepovers also make great prizes
 Yummy Summer is a weekly project to share our summertime ideas.

Here's the scoop:
1. post your fabulous idea for a summertime craft, day trip, activity, tip, recipe… you name it!
And add the Yummy Summer Button to your post
Not a blogger? No worries – leave your idea as a comment below.
2. Link up your blog post
3. check out all the Yummy Summer ideas and adopt a few for your family
to make this a very Yummy Summer!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mixed Up Words

As we pulled into the school parking lot the other day, my daughter confidently announced that her teacher, “has a crotch.” “What?” I asked. “Mrs. S has a crotch,” she insisted. As I chuckled with tears rolling down my face I asked her, “what do you mean by that?” “You know, one of those things that goes under your arm to help you walk,” she explained. “OH! A crutch!” “Yes Mommy, that is what I said.” I got such a kick out of her mixed up words and couldn’t wait to tell her teacher who laughed even harder than I did! I have to admit, it is a lot of fun to hear our children stumbling through newly discovered words and concepts as they mix them up!
      The other day, again in the car, a song came on the radio, “Strength Will Rise,” and my daughter said, “I know this song Mommy. We sang it in church last Sunday when we were adopted.” I didn’t correct her, but simply said, “You’re right sweetheart.” Last Sunday we didn’t adopt my sweet daughter, but we dedicated her and all of our children to the Lord. We committed to raise them in the knowledge of Jesus Christ and do our best as parents to exemplify Jesus in all we say and do. We publically said that our children belong to God, not us.
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear,
but you received the Spirit of sonship.” Romans 8:15
Sonship means adoption.
God has adopted us into his family, giving us His full inheritance
and the same privileges of a natural child.
Perhaps my daughter’s mixed up words were not so mixed up after all! but revealing a deeper truth that one day when she chooses to follow Jesus, she will be adopted into God’s family.
*Link up tomorrow for Yummy Summer
Where we swap Summertime ideas, activities, crafts, recipes...
to make this a very Yummy Summer for our children!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Grateful for My Girlfriends

I’ve been one blessed Moma when it comes to girlfriends. Some friendships are for a season and some are for a lifetime, but either way, I’m grateful that I’ve never been without. In each season of life God has richly blessed me with exactly what I’ve needed when it comes to
dear sisters in Christ to journey through life with me.
This week has been rich with girlfriend love! One lovely friend sent me a beautiful Mother’s Day gift and card and I was so blessed by her thoughtfulness! I’m grateful for Vonda. This week a sweet friend called to share some exciting news. I was thrilled to share in her joy and spend an evening together chatting and reviewing her latest project. I am grateful for Kristi who I only met a year ago, but knew quickly that we were meant to be friends with our shared love of Jesus and garage sales!
Sheena showed up at my home the night before my daughter’s birthday party and simply said, “do you need any help?” WHAT? She stayed for 4 hours and baked all the cookie wands for the little fairies and I couldn’t have been more blessed by her generosity! I’m grateful for Sheena, a treasured friend for over 15 years.
Tonight I get to take out a precious friend to say “thank you” for taking some photographs for me (I'm bringing her a jar of my Kitchen Sink Cookies!). I met Hillary about six years ago when I couldn’t take my eyes off her tiny baby boy in our church Mom’s group. She since has become a dear friend who I admire greatly. She loves the Lord and seeks Him daily to fill her and transform her family. She is filled with wisdom about life and motherhood and she makes some fabulous homemade lemonade! I am grateful for Hillary.
Most of all I’m grateful for a God who knows me better than I know my self and that He has placed women in my life who love me, challenge me and point me towards Jesus.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Embrace Mother's Day

Every year all I ask for for Mother's Day is a photo of me with my children. 
And every year it's painful!
The children were dedicated at church on Sunday and it was a very special time.
Right after church we attempted my request for a photo
Little Dude was not into it

Now the girls were not into it
Little Dude ran away!  And if I stick my fingers in their "pitters" it makes them giggle!  But I only have 2 hands and 3 kids, so...
Oh, this one is nice!  But I'm missing a child!
This one is as good as it gets!
At least we try!  And you should too - get in front of the camera with your littles for once!

*Link up with me every Tuesday for Yummy Summer where we swap Summertime ideas, crafts, recipes and plans so together we can make this a very Yummy Summer for our families!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Down To The Last Detail

I’ve always been somewhat detail oriented. I love the big picture, but I really get excited about the tiny details that some may never notice. I am one who notices the tiny details and gets thrilled!
Last month I had a lot of fun planning the details of my girls’ 5th birthday. I posted many fun pictures on Monday of the Fairy Garden Party. But there was one photo that I didn’t post. One photo that revealed a detail oriented person’s nightmare! A detail that I completely forgot. My shoes!
Growing up I heard my mom tell this story time and again: She was getting the family ready for church one Sunday morning and was giddy to dress up her baby girl (me) in a ruffled dress with lace socks and shoes. Everyone was all dolled up and when the family got in the car to go to church, my mom looked down to see that she was still in her slippers! As a mom, it’s easy to think of everyone but yourself!
As the Fairy Garden Party began I was pleased that most of my details were done and now I could just enjoy the party. We were almost finished, just the cake remained, and I looked down. To my horror I realized that I was still in my slippers! I planned my outfit for that day to match the color scheme of the party of course, and in the last minute preparations of the morning I put on my “slippers” or super ugly, extra comfy shoes that I wear when I do housework. But I never went to change them before the guests arrived. Here’s the crazy thing though – I didn’t freak out! I kinda laughed and that was it! Perhaps the most important details in my life are not so much about me anymore. For that I am grateful.

OH!  And remember that little blue fairy that I talked about here
Well,she was a lovely detail that the party would not have been complete without!
Today I'm linking up with the other imperfect moms at Capturing Motherhood
*Link up every Tuesday for Yummy Summer to swap Summertime ideas and plans for your family

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Yummy Summer - Strawberry Picking

It's not quite Summer yet, but it will be here before we know it!  Yummy Summer is a weekly project to swap ideas for Summertime activities so together we can make this
a very Yummy Summer for our families!

Something fantastic to do with your littles this Summer is going to a local farm to pick fruits and vegetables!  Yes, many of us have our home gardens, but there is something amazing about going to a large farm to pick!
It's Strawberry season here through August,
and there is nothing better than sampling sun warmed strawberries right when you pick them!

If you're in Southern California, here is the crop schedule for Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark
There is something yummy to pick all summer long!
What are you going to do to make this a Yummy Summer for your littles?  Please let us know!

1. post your fabulous idea for a Summertime craft, day trip, activity, tip, recipe… you name it! Not a blogger? No worries – leave a comment below.
2. add the Yummy Summer button and link up with inlinkz below
3. check out all the Yummy Summer ideas and adopt a few for your family to make this
a very Yummy Summer!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fairy Garden Party

My little ladies turned 5 in April and we had a magical day celebrating!  
*Warning - there are TONS of photos to follow!
The Fairy Garden Party

Tissue Poms were everywhere!
My mother hand painted tiny fairies for all the children!

These ruffles might be my new favorite thing!
The day's activities:
When the children arrived, they selected their wings and the girls received either a pink or orange flower for their hair
Then they headed outside to have their faces painted,
begin creating their own Fairy Houses and munch on some Magical Fairy Clouds!

We did a magical Fairy Treasure Hunt where the children listened to clues and found golden acorns, glass dew drops, fairy snacks, magical fairy coins and the bonus treasure was a garden gnome.  After completing the treasure hunt,
each child received their pixie dust!
The Grand Fairy House that held the glass dew drops
Finding the Magical Fairy Coins in the Ruffled Tree
Lining up to receive their Pixie Dust!

 We created a private dining area for the children down our side yard.
It was very special for them to get to eat alone!
And it allowed me to have it all set up ahead of time.

The Birthday Girls sat at the head of the table
The children drank pink lemonade from pink wine glasses
Lunch Menu:
(All the sandwiches were fairy size)
Pixie Butter & Jelly Flowers
Turkey & Cheese Snails
Robin's Egg Salad Butterflies
Fairy Berries
Fairy Garden Veggies & Dip
Fairy Dessert Table

 Fairy Desserts:
Magical Marshmello Wands
Fairy Flower Cookie Wands
Tiny Fairy Cakes
Lemon Blossoms
Fairy Kisses (cotton candy)
And although there were plenty of desserts, I had to have a small cake with candles for them to blow out!  It's our traditional birthday cake for the girls which was also my grandmother's favorite birthday cake - vanilla cake with lemon filling and whipped cream frosting.  (We ate it the next day for Easter!)
The children finished their day by receiving their wands and
a BIG thank you from the Birthday Girls!
Where to find some things:
1.  Fairy Graphics -
2.  Wings - I looked all over and was amazed at how affordable these were, the variety to choose from, and their quality -
4.  Ruffles - again, my new favorite thing!  Super easy, inexpensive (cheap actually!) and adorable! -
5.  I found many great things at the Dollar Store:
*the little tree centerpieces that held the fairies - they were Easter trees that I covered with orange wrapping paper and topped with a ruffle.  I took off the paper and used them the next day for my Easter centerpieces, covered with Easter ornaments!
*silk flowers
*glass rocks for dew drops
6.  My dear friend Hillary took many photos for me so that I could just enjoy my girls and the party!  xoxox
*Come back tomorrow for Yummy Summer!  Every Tuesday link up to swap Summer plans, ideas, crafts and recipes to do with our children and together let's make this a very Yummy Summer!


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