Monday, March 31, 2008

Home Sweet Home!

We had a wonderful week away! And, now are glad to be home! I'll be doing lots of catching up today, hopefully!

Just a reminder that today is the last day to submit entries for the Spring Clean Challenge! There are lots of clean rooms as a result of this - you're doing a great job!

Sunday, March 23, 2008


We'll be away this week - so I'll look forward to catching up with all of you when we return! Have a great week and Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Easter Ideas

I had a comment from Michelle requesting info on what we're planning to do regarding sharing Easter with our little ones. I've been racking my brain and the internet for great ideas for young children, and honestly there doesn't seem to be a lot out there that really jumps out at me.

Here are some thoughts of what I plan to incorporate this weekend:

* Make a cross out of brown kraft paper and mount on the wall in our living room. A great starting point of explaining the story. Read the account from a toddler Bible. Use props such as a grave cloth, stems from a rose bush for a crown of thorns, 30 dimes for pieces of silver, etc... to make the story "come alive".
* Make a tomb out of couch cushions ~ sort of act out that part of the story to give them the idea of what a tomb is and why it is so great that it is empty on day three!
* Make a special breakfast for Easter morning ~ I'm planning on cinnamon rolls baked on a cookie sheet in a cross shape.
* On Good Friday, make hot cross buns. (This won't be happening this year, but it is something I had planned on doing and hope to do in the future.)
* Tell a story using the Wordless Book and teach the song that goes with it.

Other ideas I saw that were great include:
* I loved this idea from Janna to create a Hosanna palm! And, look at this great Lent Basket she came up with!
* Joy shared several ideas including Baking Resurrection Biscuits or Cookies.

Please share other ideas that would be appropriate for including in celebrating of this Easter season and teaching our children the true reason we do celebrate!

First Day of Spring Party!

I read this idea a year ago and have been so excited for the First Day of Spring to come around again ever since! Here are some pictures of our morning:

We started out the day with Bunny Biscuits! These were a tradition when I was growing up for Easter morning. Use canned or homemade biscuits cut into rounds. One round becomes the body. Cut the second round in half - one half becomes the head. Cut the remaining half in half again and these become the ears. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake.

We gave the girls their "Easter" baskets with some goodies in them to play with. Later in the morning, we dyed eggs:

Hunted eggs:
Watched Veggie Tales Easter Carol and had lunch ~ butterfly shaped sandwiches, flower shaped cheese and fresh strawberries.

Bunny Cupcakes were decorated after dinner:

Decorating ideas for our party will be posted separately as this post is already long enough! Thank, Shannon, for such a great idea! This will become an annual tradition in our home!

Decorating for Spring: S-P-R-I-N-G Mobile

I had planned our party for the front porch, but it was a bit chilly and windy for this! So, we improvised and had our party in the living room.

My plan included creating this mobile to hang over the table - during our improvised plan, we hung it from the ceiling fan in the living room.

I started with a grapevine wreath - these are very inexpensive and available at craft supply stores and even Wal-Mart for only a few dollars.

Then I edited a clip art tulip to create the template for cutting out the letters. Print the template here.

I printed out these letters and then used the template to cut out the flower shape around them.

I did double of each letter and affixed them together with double stick tape. Then, I had them laminated. Note: Cut them out at the store after laminating and ask if they will run them through again individually to really get a good seal. Since I used thicker paper and it was two layers, it needed this extra step to really adhere well.

I punched a hole and used scrap ribbons and trims to hang these from the wreath. I also used scraps of ribbon and trim to decorate plastic eggs inspired by these. Hang these as well.
If you don't want to make the mobile - the letters would also make a cute banner or garland!

Spring Clean: Hall Bath

Wednesday morning I did the Hall Bathroom...


Here is what I did:
* Put the girls in the tub! So, they got clean too!
* Cleaned mirror and light fixture.
* Cleaned out linen closet and under the sink.
* Cleaned toilet and sink.
* Finished baths and wiped out tub.
* Wiped floor, rug was recently washed.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Correspondence and Catching Up

If you have written me an e-mail or left a comment that requested response, please know I have not forgotten you and am not ignoring you! I'm slowly working through my inbox to answer everyone!

Swap Filled!

Just 7 1/2 hours later, this swap is filled up! We are excited about all of you who joined! Thanks for participating and Happy First Day of Spring!

Sister Swap: Bloom!

Happy First Day of Spring (in our part of the world)! We promised we had a treat in store for you today and we are happy to announce our next Sister's Shoebox Swap!

We traditionally choose one word to get your creative juices flowing and for Spring, our theme is Bloom! Everything in the swap does not need to be flowery, but we hope this word will provide a starting place (a seed!) for garden, planting, flowers and all things Spring.

Sign up starts today and will be open to the first 50 friends we receive e-mail messages from. Please send an e-mail with your name, address, e-mail address and blog address (if you have one) to with "Bloom Swap" in the subject line. Please note that leaving a comment on this post does not sign you up for the swap.

Once you've signed up, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with a short questionnaire. These brief questions are simply a way for your partner to get to know you and your tastes to create a swap box you will enjoy! You do not have to have a blog to participate.

International swapping will be coordinated if anyone is willing to ship internationally. We will assume you prefer not to ship internationally unless you specify that you are willing to do so. After we receive the questionnaires back, we will coordinate partners and send out e-mails to you and your partner with all the info.

If you sign up, please make sure you can follow through on your commitment. We've had several participants who have not followed through and we want to make sure everyone has a fun experience!

Swap partners will be assigned by Monday, March 31, 2008 and the swap deadline will be April 18, 2008.

Happy Swapping! Let the fun begin!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sweet Samuel

It's been a while since I posted pictures of our little Samuel - here are a few favorites from this week:

Spring Clean: Laundry Room

I've been struggling to keep up with my spring cleaning and Monday's task of cleaning the Den has not happened yet at all. Yesterday, was laundry day and my day to clean the laundry room and here is what was accomplished:

Before Pix:

What I did:
* Moved out washer and dryer - swept and mopped underneath
* Cleaned clutter off of top of washer and dryer and wiped off.
* Moved out little kitchen and cleaned behind, tidied toys
* Cleared off clutter on top of freezer, wiped off
* Took several armloads of things to the shed for storage
* Washed, dried, folded and put away all laundry
* Completed ironing

After Pix:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Decorating for Spring: Happy Easter Banner

Last year, I came up with this banner which says, "Happy Easter" by taking photos of letters in a neat old book I have. I printed mine in black and white on light blue parchment-look paper. You can download a copy here. Click on photo below to see the banner displayed across our mantel.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring Cleaning: Car

Friday was scheduled to be car and porch spring cleaning - but the porch just did not happen. It was one of those days - here is a photo to prove it (and this is just the tip of the iceberg):

Ever have a day like that?

Anyway, we took the car through a car wash in an effort to simplify our cleaning today. I consider it well worth it!

When we got home, we got out the vacuum, got snacks for the little ladies and put on some music.

Before pix:

The girls had fun playing in the car and listening to Veggie Tales! Emily had fun driving:

Here is what I did:
* Vacuumed everything
* Cleared clutter - took toys inside
* Picked up trash and emptied
* Dusted dash board and cup holders, etc...
* Cleaned off stroller that was sitting on the porch and returned it to the trunk where it goes! It was covered in pollen...

After pix:

Friday, March 14, 2008

Recipe Cards

My sister had recipe cards on her birthday list this year and I came up with this design - unfortunately I was having printer troubles so they are turning into a stocking stuffer instead! Don't worry, she already knows about them!

You can download the document here and print onto desired color of card stock, cut out and package for gifting!

Spring Clean: Entry Way and Living Room

Yesterday, our scheduled rooms were the Entry Way and Living Room. I tried it in the morning again - though the ladies were definitely more restless than they had been on Tuesday.

Entry Way before:
In this room we:
* Dusted walls
* Washed window and door window inside and out
* Dusted light fixture
* Dusted cabinet top
* Shook rug (recently washed)
* Vacuumed and mopped floor

Emily washed the window:Entry Way after:

Living Room before:

Accomplished in this room:
* Dusted Walls
* Dusted blinds
* Washed window inside (I did not wash the outside because our ladder is occupied by a family of birds! So, I need David's help on this.)
* Vacuumed behind couch
* Dusted everything
* Picked up all toys
* Washed window in back door inside and out
* Shook rug (recently washed) by back door, vacuumed and mopped floor
* Moved collage frames to hang chalkboard my Mom gave me for Christmas (Yes, it has taken me a while to get this done - but check out this chalkboard in the pictures, it used to be a tabletop!)
* Vacuumed air return
* Vacuumed entire room
* Ceiling fan did not get cleaned because of the ladder situation mentioned earlier! I tried a chair, but I still could not even remotely reach it!
* The fireplace needs cleaned out, but David is planning to do that for me soon - thank you!

Living Room after:
Thank you all for cleaning with me - I wanted to mention that over 60 rooms have been cleaned so far! Great job!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Clean Heart: Part Thirteen

It's been a little while since I posted something on this series - but my journal still holds entries I'd like to share on this topic. Since I didn't do any Spring Cleaning yesterday, I thought this would be a good time to pause and get one of these posts in.

Do my priorities reflect a clean heart?

What are my priorities? (Listed randomly, not necessarily in order...)
* My walk with God
* My husband and children
* My home
* Family and Friends
* Crafting and Creating
* Church and Outreach

What are God's thoughts on my priorities?
* Titus 2: husband; children; be at home
* My relationship with Him
* Proverbs 31: reaching out to help the poor; managing my home
* Talents and gifts He has entrusted to us

This answer, like schedule, has the tendency to be varied. Even in one hour, I could choose the right priority once and then make a poor decision 15 minutes later. Overall, it seems like my priorities are in order - but when I look deeper and really search my heart and consider my motives - I see room for change and growth.

So, a good question could be - How can I practice choosing God's priorities for my day?
* Start my day by asking for His guidance and a heart that is sensitive to hearing and obeying it.
* Scripture Memory
* Ask myself important questions before making decisions - will this make me more like God? Will this help someone else know more about God?
* Plan my day according to the priorities God has laid on my heart, but leave room for flexibility too.

Mama Time

I've been struggling with how knowing how much time to spend individually with Emily lately. She seems to be a bottomless pit in how much attention she would *like*! I love it when she says, "snuggle with me Mama?" But, I would never get anything done if always went with what she had in mind - playing, reading books, snuggling, etc...

In talking with David this weekend, he came up with this idea and we're going to give it a try. I made two "coupons" for Mama Time. She will receive these each morning at breakfast and be able to spend them anytime she wants to during the day excluding Quiet Time.

When she presents me the coupon, I will spend a set amount of time with her doing whatever she wants. I'll update soon on how this is going...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spring Clean: Master Bed & Bath

Wow! I love seeing all of your cleaning progress and I'm so thankful for this accountability!

Yesterday was my scheduled day to spring clean our bedroom and bathroom. I've been doing my big cleaning during Quiet Time, but then I have no rest in the afternoon. So, yesterday I decided to involve everyone and get it done in the morning!

First of all, I declared it a pajama day! But, the ladies quickly decided they wanted to put their swimming suits on and play in them! (A new game to lay a quilt on the floor and pretend it is a swimming pool...)

Here are all the "before" pictures ~ by the way, is there such a thing as reality blogging? I think these should surely qualify for such a thing:

Who knew a shower curtain liner waiting to go in the wash could be such a fun "swimming pool"?!

In these rooms we:

* Dusted all walls
* Washed sheets, dog bed and curtains
* Scrubbed bath tub, toilet and wiped bathroom floor
* Washed shower curtain liner
* Cleaned sink area, mirror, dusted light fixture and wiped floor
* Dusted ceiling fan
* Cleaned window inside/out; dusted blinds
* Dusted all furniture and cleaned mirror on dresser
* Cleared all clutter
* Vacuumed
* Replaced sheets
* Ironed and hung curtains

After pictures:

And, a shot of my little helpers! Samuel was with us too - but slept through most of the event!

My "reward" for all of this cleaning in the morning, was to enjoy a big magazine pile I've had sitting on my nightstand...

... and one of the most delicious library stacks I think I have ever had - I am totally hooked on Inter-Library Loan now that I know what wonderful books I can get!

I enjoyed getting some creative ideas for a Spring party I'm planning for the ladies next week from this book, a Christmas idea from this book and I'm totally loving this book and it's going on my gift list!

One last thought: As I was reading Isaiah 41 in my quiet time yesterday morning, this verse jumped out at me ~

Isaiah 41:20, " that people may see and know, may consider and understand that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it."

I had this verse marked because it was a theme verse while working at Glen Eyrie - but yesterday, it stood out to me in regards to my home. When others see our home (not the physical exterior, but our family and lives) do they see and know, consider and understand that God is the One who has built it - does He shine through it? I pray this is true.