Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thanksgiving Day Centerpiece Toilet Paper Roll Dolls

While putting a new roll of toilet paper onto the holder I tossed the toilet paper roll into the air and had a sudden urge to make a craft.  :)  I scrambled around the home school room looking for more cardboard tubes and came across one from a paper towel roll so I cut it up and ended up with four tubes in all.

I then did a google search for Toilet Paper Tube Turkey and came across this adorable idea from Preschool Crafts for Kids.

Our finished craft that adorns our window sill.

The kids enjoyed choosing a character to make... we decided to add a turkey because, well, it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a Gobble, Gobble.

 Just click here to make your own adorable centerpiece for your Thanksgiving Day table.  Happy Crafting!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Disorganized Order

I walked up the spiral staircase to the children's playroom to find a mess.  I was frustrated.  How many times had I asked them to pick up their toys?  How many times had I meant to go check and see if my request had been carried out but I had been distracted by something/someone else?  As I scanned the room I sighed in irritation...

I tripped over Lego pieces, saw stacks of board games in the middle of the room, a half empty seltzer can was on a bookshelf... I hollered down to the kids "Hey guys!  Could you please come up to the playroom please."
As I waited for them to come up the stairs I glanced around a little more closely and saw that this mess, as I perceived it, actually had an order to it.  Each little pile had a story.

A guard trying to protect his fellow "good guy" from being further injured.

The base of the bad guys, guarded by a ferocious warrior.

A paper robot invented and built by my six year old for his four year old sister. He had asked to use tape, scissors and paper and he disappeared for a while and I forgot to ask about what he created.  in fact... I was a bit put out that I could not find the tape and scissors the following day when I needed them.

As I surveyed the creativity around me my eyes began to get teary and the anger and frustration melted away.  This was not a mess, this was imagination, fun, and creativity at it's best.  

A painted wooden truck filled with small animals that are being transported to a nearby base.

Gold pilfered from the Dragon Lord.
The children made their way upstairs and asked if everything was alright.  They scanned the room and apologized for the apple cores, the half drunk cans of seltzer water, and the crumpled paper in the corner.  "We were going to pick that up but we were distracted by our game".
"Yeah... I was looking at that, your game, that is.  It looks like fun.  Can you tell me about it?"  And they explained each base, each guy, and each creation with excitement, plentiful sound effects, and lots of pride.  

When you enter into an area that seems chaotic this week, try to look a little closer and see if it is perhaps a highly organized assortment of bases set up for the protection of all that is good.  :)


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Family Devotions

When I awoke this morning the mist was rising off the stream behind the meadow and the golden pale light of the moon drifted through my window as the sun began to kiss the sky good morning in the East.

I stood in awe at the God I serve and I began to pour out my heart for the day.  Praying for those being persecuted around the world, praying for my husband, my children and my family.  Little sleepy ones began waking up and I settled into the routine of changing diapers, making beds, and getting breakfast ready.  The children know that when they wake up they come down stairs and we assemble together around the table... it is a habit we have of eating breakfast together every morning.

A habit takes time and repetition to form but once it is learned it becomes as natural as brushing your teeth before bed.

I have struggled with having consistent devotions with my children.  It is not that the desire is not there... I deeply want them to have an intimate relationship with our Father.  I want them to see who God really is by enjoying His creation, reading His written Word, and memorizing the scriptures so when trials come they have a rock to stand on where they will be unshaken.

Our devotion time goes through spurts.  We will do well for a few days and then not so great for a few weeks.  And then we will be back on the train for a few weeks and then not do anything for days.  Rather than beating myself up that my children may not remember all of the stories of the Bible or become frustrated if they cannot recite the Fruits of the Spirit, I am trying to focus on the goal.

My goal is that my children will develop a  life long relationship with God. 

 They see Him in our everyday lives as we pray before meals, as we instruct them throughout the day when they come to us with squabbles, troubles, or concerns.  We sing worship songs, have a praise journal, and try to be consistent (albeit imperfect) with devotions at the breakfast table.

I hope that when they are grown they will realize that even though it was imperfect and filled with distractions (we have five kiddos so it is not unusual for there to be a bit of chaos during our Bible time) that God's Word was/is important and that is why we do what we do.  We carry on and continue to be consistent in spite of a child drawing on the table and needing to be redirected, we hold the squirmy babe in our arms who is telling his own story as we read a Psalm to the others.  This is life.  If we are consistent in these seemingly little details of creating a habit of worship and reading the Bible, no matter if we can only get through a few verses or a few chapters, then when the children are grown they will be in the routine of spending time with the Lord daily.  And... when their own children come I pray they will pass on the same habits to them and know that it is okay if it is messy and imperfect.  God's Word does not return void.  :)

So dear readers, if you are frustrated today because your children are not all quiet and staring up at you with stars in their eyes as read from God's Word know that you are among the normal.  You are creating healthy, life long, soul nourishing habits for your children, even if you only read two verses before the day erupts into a cacophony of chaos.

There are so many teachable moments during our days as Mommas.  Capitalize on them.   If you have time to look up a verse for some life application then GREAT and if you don't because one child just ran by you naked and another one said "Mommy... there is silly putty stuck in my hair"... well, take a deep breath, say a quick prayer, and know that our God sees your heart.  You are doing well Momma, hang in there.

Lifting you up today,

Friday, May 23, 2014

Joy is NOT Circumstantial

I have five children so my life is a little bit... chaotic, you know, in a happy, loud, crazy kind of way.  A friend of mine called and said she knew it was short notice but wanted to know if she could pop by for a visit.  "Of course you can sweetie, come on over, we are here."

As I hung up the phone I surveyed the scene... dirty breakfast dishes were still on the table, Rice Krispies were crunched up under the table, I was dressed but my hair was all askew since I had not had a chance to comb it out yet, one child was running around in a diaper waiting to be changed and I was nursing the baby.  A pile of laundry was in the corner waiting to be folded and an army of Fischer Price Little People were lined up as a tripping hazard in the middle of the sitting area.  My friend was due to arrive in about ten minutes.

*Deep breath*

Yes, I am a bit OCD.  I like to have things in their place and I like for people to have a good impression of me.  I want my home to be a sanctuary to others and I just don't know if stepping on Rice Krispies,  tripping over Little People, and being greeted by a crazy haired Momma = soothing.

I began to panic and then I remembered, she is not coming to see my house, she is coming to see me.

So, I quickly rinsed my hair, plopped the dirty dishes on the counter and called the rest good.

Vintage Picture of a Cute Baby Boy About to Wash Himself with a Basin and Pitcher of Water
We sat outside for a while before entering the house and talking about the ups and downs of being a Momma.  We drank tea, nursed our babies, changed diapers and let life unfold around us.  And as we were talking her eyes scanned the room and I thought "I hope she doesn't notice the cobwebs in the corners of the ceiling, or the dust on the mantle, or the cat hair I can see on the back of the recliner or...."  She looked at me and smiled and said  "Your home is so peaceful".

I exhaled and thanked her.

After she left I sat and thought on why I get so worked up over things... things that don't even matter.  I had a wonderful visit with my friend - we had encouraged each other, shared our struggles and joys, and I could have missed out on it if I had said "no this is not a good time" for fear of my home not being perfect.

It was such a boost to my spirit to know that peace does not = a perfect home or calm,quiet children.  My friend did not see the pile of shoes by the door, or the diapers that needed to be folded.  She did not flinch at the excited children who loved on her little baby, or the few temper tantrums that occurred while she was here. Instead she saw the joy of the Lord in the midst of my crazy, messy, beautiful life.

JOY cannot be taken from us because it is not circumstantial. 
Joy comes from Jesus... He is the JOY Giver.

Can I get an Amen?

Learning to let go,

What brings you joy?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Not Me - Of Bank Robbers and Bandages

Oh my goodness... do you ever have things happen to you that make you stop and laugh out loud?  Do you go about your day and your child says something that causes you to scratch your head and stare, wondering where this little person came from?  Do you ever go through an hour of your day where everything that could possibly go wrong DOES and you are moments away from a "big girl temper tantrum"? 

Welcome to Not Me Wednesday where some or all of the above occur and I write about it just so I can get it off my chest.  :) 

did not find my daughter's baby dolls dressed up as bank robbers.  Her alibi... she was keeping their faces warm, with her socks.  :)

Our water softener did not break and the repair lady did not bring her adorable puppy along.  "Rudy" is not a Shih tzu combined with a Pomeranian.  My husband did not honestly ask if that made it a "ShitPoo"... um, yeah, we laughed.
Don't you want one?
I do not often find our toddler drinking from the spray nozzle at the kitchen sink.

did not try to make homemade Cream of Wheat using flour, milk, salt, and sugar.  My husband did not tell me it would end up being paste.  I did not think smugly to myself  "I'll show him... I am a pretty darn good cook."  After sampling my concoction I did not grimace but decide to pass it off  to the unsuspecting toddler whom I made it for since he is allergic to oats and cannot have oatmeal.  Even the little blondie who eats everything said "Momma... it's yucky".  I did not flush the "breakfast paste" down the toilet.  

After the above fiasco I did not make sure to buy some oat free cereal at the store.  At breakfast I did not give the options of corn flakes, bran flakes or Rice Krispies.  Our four year old did not ask for Snow Flakes.

A gentleman did NOT pull into the driveway and ask to harvest mushrooms from our maple tree out front. I did NOT greet him with baby puke running down my back and my hair all awry because I remembered to get dressed but forgot to do my hair.  He did NOT show us some edible mushrooms and give us a compact lesson on how to identify Dryad's Saddle, it does not smell like watermelon rind and supposedly tastes wonderful in soup. The gentleman is NOT a guide and did not remark about how wonderful our rhubarb patch was. I did NOT take the opportunity to ask him about how to tell when that stuff was ready to harvest.  He did NOT give the children and I a mini lesson on rhubarb while handing us peeled pieces to try.  We did not spit it out on the ground with smiles on our face and appreciation in our hearts knowing that once cooked with sugar this plant WILL be edible.  :)

Our children are NOT accident prone and in less than a week 3 out of 5 children were not hurt in some way, shape or form.  Our six year old did not mess up his leg thus requiring x-rays, lots of rest, and daily massage.  My arms are not stronger from lugging him around.  Our little two year old did not fall off of a friends patio onto paving stones resulting in a goose egg between his eyes, a pot marked nose, and a split open lip. (poor baby).  The Princess did not injure her toe and when I thought she was faking she did not show me her bloodied boo boo.  (Mom of the year right here people.)

While I was nursing the baby, my daughter did NOT come to sit by me and play pretend.  She was NOT Eliza... a grown up who liked to eat grasshoppers.  Eliza would  catch the grasshoppers and toss them into the oven.  The grasshoppers thought the oven was a washing machine where they would get clean but really they were being cooked in the oven and once ready, they taste like blueberry jam.  I was a Mommy who nursed her baby and passed out tea and cookies while marveling at her daughter's imagination.  :) 

My adventure seeking son did NOT give me a tour of his fort in the woods and as I looked down I did NOT find out that my boy has been playing in the midst of a huge patch of poison ivy.  So far, he has not come down with anything but I am sure his time is coming.

Please share your "not me" adventures below by leaving a comment.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Your Story is Powerful

by Jean Sander

Tears falling.  Cheeks wet.  Eyes tired from weeping. Body exhausted from lack of sleep and carrying burdens I was not meant to bear.  Too often over the past months I have collapsed at the end of the day saying " I can't do this".

My beloved drove in the dooryard the other night to find me pacing in the front yard.  Eyes red, nose running, with a baby over my shoulder and a toddler on my hip. Words pouring out of my mouth admitting my inadequacies and failures.  "I don't want to be like this... I don't know what I am doing.  I am failing as a Mom".  Guilt and overwhelming emotions of sadness, fear, and exhaustion made me feel so vulnerable.

I did not want to greet my husband like this.  So messy and raw.  I wanted to be smiling, with children all neat and in a row.  Dinner on the table, smiles and joyful laughter ringing through the house but instead he was slammed with the reality of my day... of my week... of the past few months.  I saw his face, his eyes filled with concern, his embrace strong and unwavering.  I sunk into the security of his body and I apologized for being such a wreck.  His words were like a salve to my spirit... "Honey, I would rather you be honest with me.  When you tell me you have had a hard day and yet you seem to have it all together when I walk through the door at night I kind of disregard the fact that earlier that day things were rough.  However when I see you like this and you are telling me you had a hard day, I can really see it's toll and I have a better understanding of what it is like for you."  He did not condemn me for my frailty, instead he met me in my fear and weakness and helped me move forward through the evening.

After the kids were tucked in bed and the house was quite we sat together, and came before the Lord.  My husband interceded for me and I broke...

I want to be the perfect Mom, the perfect wife, the perfect keeper of my home but I can't.  I uttered out loud through trembling lips that I just can't do this anymore. And in my brokenness I surrendered.

I surrendered my expectations, my pride, and admitted my need for the Lord to step in and take control.  Too often I try to make a go of it on my own.  We were not meant to be alone... we were meant to be in community, in fellowship with our Lord and with each other. 
 When I try to accomplish even every day life in and of myself, I will fail.  

However, if I let Jesus lead me, if I surrender and admit my brokenness and weakness, then I give Him permission to move in my life. 

In sharing my weaknesses out loud I was defeating the enemy and breaking the darkness that Satan loves to ensnare the children of God with.

  I am a broken vessel, we all are.  We each have hurts and scars. We are the walking wounded.  But guess what... Jesus came to RESCUE us.  He meets us where we are at and accepts us in our frailty. He sees our imperfection as our messy lives unravel and He reconciles us unto Himself. 
 He doesn't push us away in our moments of weakness... He pulls us closer.   
When we are honest and vulnerable, healing takes place.  When I hide my struggles and try to appear that I have it all together I am only hurting myself.  By being real with myself, with others and with God... true healing can take place and authentic friendship and fellowship.

These words in Revelation have been so liberating for me this week... Revelation 12:10-11 says:

10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 

Satan is conquered because of Christ's blood and because of our messy stories.
Our testimony... our story, with all of it's beautiful, crazy, joyful messiness,  is powerful.  Satan can accuse and point fingers and remind us of where we are failing. He can show us all of the terrible things we have done/said/thought at any given time and load bricks of guilt upon our backs and if we allow ourselves to be weighed down by these burdens it will crush us. Yet the scripture tells us that just by telling our story, by being real, by sharing the miraculous and the mundane, by revealing the pretty side of life and the painful side,  that we can OVERCOME!   

 When we bring that which we hide in the dark out into the light, Satan cannot use it anymore.  

When I admit my frailties and shortcomings to others and to my God then Satan no longer has the other end of the chain that he has kept me enslaved with... the bonds break free and I can move further into God's redeeming grace.

I am praying, dear ones, that you are able to taste the same freedom and healing that I have been experiencing.  I am a Momma with high expectations of myself (and sometimes of others) - trying to be perfect is exhausting... and impossible.  I am learning to give up the Savior complex.  Can you relate?  Maybe you don't have the same perfectionist hangup as I do but I am sure there are pits in your life that you don't think you can climb out of.  The ones where Satan hisses in your ear that you are worthless, unworthy, pathetic and stuck.  Well darlin'... remind the accuser that his days are numbered, remind him that you are a NEW creation, and stand firm on the promises of our Lord because you are not going down... you are an overcomer!

With love,

Thursday, May 1, 2014

DIY Sock Bunny and Other Sweet Critters

I love making homemade gifts for those I love.  Whether it comes from my kitchen, from my craft table, or sewing nook, it makes me feel good to give a gift I have made with my own hands.

I am a beginner at most things so I need simple, easy to follow directions, especially when it comes to sewing projects.  I found this tutorial from lil blue boo  on how to make a sock bunny and adapted it with this tutorial from craft passion and the results made my little girl smile.

 Meet Cupcake... the Easter bunny for my little honey.

 Made from two argyle knee high socks from Walmart... this bunny is adorable and classy.
 Yes, the tail is a bit off center, but since it was sewed on at 2am, I don't think I did half bad.  :)

Even the boys fell in love with little Cupcake.  So now on the list of sock critters to make are:

Owl from "how to make a doll"  - it is made from a baby sock so it is cute and tiny.

Elephant from My Own Little World  (she also has a giraffe tutorial that you can get by clicking here)

Happy Crafting!