Saturday, July 30

Saddle Ridge Ranch

What an amazing week we just had! I've never been so relieved something was over but so sad to see it end. Our small-town church hosted over 100 kids in a rootin'-tootin,' over the top Western themed Vacation Bible School!

Here's a little taste of our week:

The decorations:
Our church volunteers do a fantastic job transforming the auditorium into whatever the theme calls for - a space ship, an underwater adventure, a jungle, and now a ranch, complete w/ caverns and waterfalls:

The crafts:

I walked in on thirty 1st-2nd graders making this craft, and it was crazy! But the teachers did a fantastic job of staying calm, helping each child make their handprints, and NOT spilling any paint. Each night I was amazed at what the kids brought home. Love our church!!


The volunteers:
We had around 80 kids each night, plus at least 30 volunteers from the church. Many came straight from work and hadn't even had dinner yet! They taught, they cooked, they counted pennies for our offering to build a well for children in Africa. I was humbled and so grateful for all the help they provided.

The after-effects:
My kids counted down the hours till church each day and came home and crashed each night, it was great!

More importantly, kids were saved, parents are encouraged, and I'm going on vacation SOON!! And that deserves a "YEEEHAW!!" :)

Saturday, July 23

Why I Love Being a Mom: #2 Incriminating Photos

So the first time I went to my future in-laws' house, it took about ten minutes before his mom and sisters asked excitedly, "So you wanna see some embarrassing pictures of Tom when he was little??" Giggle. "He's even naked in a few of them!"

And I, the ever sweet, innocent Bible-college girlfriend, replied, "Of course!!" Out came the old photo albums, and so began the bond that has held us close for more than a decade. And while I admit I thought it was a little harsh that my parents returned the favor when Tom came to our house, I now realize it's one of the perks of being a parent. Kids do crazy things. Embarrassing things. Things we spend weeks cleaning up or apologizing for. And it's only fair that we occasionally catch them on camera, put music to the pictures, and show them at every family gathering until they're sixty and we've lost our marbles.

So here are a few of our favorites, besides those naked ones we're saving for our daughters' first potential beaus:

Linsey as the hobo diva

Hannah as Voldemort
And, of course, Natalie as herself :)

Question: What do you love about being a parent?

Wednesday, July 20

The Little Things, Part 2

Last week we talked about how a "little" sin in our lives, left unchecked, can grow out of control very quickly (click here for the whole story).

On the flip side, I've also noticed it's the "little things" in life that have the potential to lift my spirits and get me through the day.

A smile...

A hug,

Having my kids get along for more than 5 minutes...
(ok, that's a big thing!)

 Sure, Disneyland and romantic getaways are great memory-makers, but they're not a part of our everyday lives. Psalm 118:24 says today is the day the Lord has made, and I really believe there is something special in each today I am given.  So here are two goals I've made to remind myself it's the little things that count:

1. Take time each day to do something that makes you happy.  

I'm talking about those little luxuries that recharge you...Take a walk. Run through the sprinkler with your kids. Try a new recipe. Write in your journal.  And if you feel guilty taking 20 or 30 minutes for yourself, think of it as a favor to your kids - remember the saying? If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!

2. Take time each day to do something that makes someone else happy.

Hebrews 13:13 has always challenged me, "But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased."  God knows it's sometimes inconvenient to help others, and He is pleased when we make the effort. Or perhaps it's our kids who need a little more attention today than we want to give. Let me encourage you to stop what you're doing and call the friend who's been on your heart, or read that book with your four-year old. I'm sure you'll find out, like me, that those little things you do for others will bring you joy too, because it really is "more blessed to give than to receive."

Monday, July 18

Confessions of a Fashion No-How

~ First confession: Last Sunday - which happened to be Baby Dedication Day and happened to be when we dedicated our little Nattie to the Lord - we inadvertently locked her in the church building.  After church, she followed Tom into the office building and went into one of the side rooms to look for leftover soda in the recycling bin (eww!). Not knowing she was in there, he turned out all the lights and locked up. About a minute later I was frantically looking around for her outside when I heard the door rattle and Nattie begin to wail. I quickly opened the door, and there she stood, empty Dr. Pepper can in hand. Talk about guilt!! Lol but it will make for a great story when she's older.  


*We didn't really take her pic after leaving her at church, that would be cruel. 
This was from the other day at breakfast but is a pretty accurate rendition.
She has this crying thing down to a science.

~ I. Got. My. First. Pedicure. LOVED it!! One of my good friends does nails has been wanting to give me one forever, so finally for my birthday, she gave me a gift certificate for a pedi at her house. Soo relaxing, and nearly two weeks later, they still look great!

~ On Friday we went with another friend to a feline conservatory not too far away. There were peacocks roaming free and you can see leopards, tigers, pumas, etc., from about 5 feet away! I confess it was slighly unnerving to watch my two-year old follow this panther back and forth, growling along with it. But all in all, a great experience!

 ~ Our 4 year old, who hates to have her hair brushed and usually wears all one color, has suddenly become fashion-conscious. She asks me every day to "make her hair" and help her pick out a cute outfit. Then, she looks in the mirror, squeals, and says, "Everyone will LOVE me!!" Sigh. She gets that from her father, I think :)

Have a great week!!

 Miscellany Monday @ Carissa's Lowercase Letters
Makobi Scribe Blog Hop

Tuesday, July 12

The Little Things, Part 1

Earlier this week, I noticed a small toy or two on the floor in the bathroom. Busy and tired, I made a mental note to have the girls pick them up later. Then I got sidetracked, and the next morning, they were still there, along with two more toys. (Don't you hate toys w/small parts?! Ugh.) Exasperated, I picked them up, grumbling inwardly about how easily clutter accumulates.

I'm a very laid-back person, so many times I'll notice a small area I should probably clean up, but then I get busy doing other things. It's no big deal, I think, I'll get to it later. Soon, that small mess has blown up so that I can't even see the floor, and I become overwhelmed.  And I am reminded once again that as the mom, I must be diligent to attack even the small piles, or they will overtake my house.

It's the same way with sin in our lives. God, knowing about this clutter principle long before I did, warns us in Hebrews 12:1 to "lay aside every weight, and the sin easily besets us." Every bad attitude I have. Every twinge of resentment. Every grudge I want to hold on to. God says to lay them aside. Get rid of them, before they multiply and take over your house! Or your life, you get the idea.

So this week, when you notice something out of place - whether it's a stray sock or a bad attitude, purpose with me to get rid of it now, before it grows out of control. You'll be glad you did!


Sunday, July 10

Chef School II

For last week's Chef School, Linsey(6) decided she was ready to make her first meal "all by herself" - with me over her shoulder coaching her, of course! Someone got us "The Fix It and Forget It Kids' Cookbook," and she loved being able to follow along the easy steps and come up with her own meal plan:

Linsey's Menu
Slow roasted ham w/brown sugar
Crockpot mac 'n cheese
Salad (just shredded lettuce b/c we ran out of time)
Chocolate dipped pretzels

First, she made the mac 'n cheese - she did so well reading the recipe! Only a little help needed.

Then, she rubbed brown sugar all over the ham and learned how to make a foil tent (I put it in the oven)

Finally, she melted chocolate chips in a smaller crockpot to dip the pretzels - each one had at least 3 different kinds of sprinkles! These she did completely alone. The crockpot was great because the chocolate wasn't hot enough to burn little fingers. :)

Even though her solo dinner took me a bit more time than normal...

1) we had a great time together in the kitchen,
2) it was so worth it to see the pride it gave her to accomplish this task, and
3) I'm hoping that logging these hours now will free me of some cooking in years to come!

Love my girlies!!

Friday, July 8


There is an amazing app for the iPhone called Instagram, I love love love it! It lets you snap pics (or use ones you've taken w/your phone's default camera), then crop them and choose from a dozen different filters to give your photos a chic, often vintage look.  You can easily share them on Twitter/Facebook, and your friends can also view your pics and comment from their phones. So much fun!

Here are a few recent Instagram pics, with some different filters and adorable models:

Rockin' it 80's style

"Window Shopping"

1st summer on a bike, already ditched the training wheels!

Fashion Diva - 3 homemade necklaces and bracelets...beading it up this summer!

I gave her a penny to be still for 5 minutes. Soo worth it!

"Sometimes you feel like a... sugar snap pea!?"

life rearranged

Thursday, July 7

Why I Love Being a Mom: #1 Dinnertime

#1 Dinnertime is never boring. Ever. No matter how hard we try. There are more spills, songs, and silly giggles than I can count, and it's always an adventure!

It's at the dinner table we find out all the interesting facts of the day - which ponies have been good that day (Starlight), who Linsey's newest BFF is (Anna today), and where Natalie puts her peas (under the table and in her nose). 

We learn manners: how (not) to hold our cups, how (not) to sing at the table, and how (not) to sit still, among other things.

But more importantly, it's a time where we all enjoy just being together, mostly...and isn't that what family is all about?

What does dinnertime look like at your house?

Link it up!
Makobi Scribe

Monday, July 4

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Independence Day! The holiday has just officially started, but we've been celebrating all week!


I found some great 4th of July printables here, the girls had fun with this paint by number. Today we will be learning more about Independence Day w/some of her other papers. They also painted a bunch of coloring sheets from this site. I'm so glad creative people share their resources!

 The girls did a great job singing "This Land is Your Land" and "My Country Tis of Thee" in our church's patriotic program...

And I promised them they could dye their hair blue after the program - I just couldn't let them sing in front of the church w/blue hair, call me old-fashioned... :)

Then we came home and made red, white, and blue firecracker cupcakes. 

The original recipe is super easy from my friend here, and her cupcakes always look so perfect!  You have to check them out. My girls had so much fun, layering the different colored cake batter, then decorating the cupcakes after I frosted them. Family bonding at its best - in the kitchen!

I had "help" filling the liners, as you can see from the mess!
 Didn't have pull-n-peel licorice, so we "fringed" regular licorice.

We're rounding out today with a water fight at the park, a bbq, and some fireworks. All in all, a great way to spend my birthday - and America's, with the people I love most!!

Sportin' their reds, whites, and blues :)

Linkin' up: 
Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

A Not So Moody Monday

Saturday, July 2

Wand-ering at Home

We've had a blast being out of school (every couple days Linsey asks if it's still summer!), but I noticed immediately the need to have some kind of structure. So every day we're home (which isn't as many as I thought!), we've been spending awhile playing online games together, having Bible time, and, of course, crafts.

Here are the wands from our first craft time, I believe I bought a 3-pack at Target for about $1.50. We decorated them using leftover craft materials, but you could definitely go all out with glitter, jewels, etc. Just please don't tell my girls that =)

 Hannah decorated hers using foam stickers 
- her favorite number (and age) is 4 :)

 Nattie, 2, had a ball putting Dora stickers and foam chicks on her wand.

 Linsey, my artist, colored hers like a butterfly and added googly eyes.

The only trouble we had was convincing Nattie it wasn't a lollipop!
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