Thursday, March 31, 2011


Here are all the giveaway winners:

Sequin Bible: Linda @ lovemylittlefamily and MameyJane

Velveteen Bible: Lisa and Heather

God's Little Princess: Erin @ erinb1 and Davonne

Beginning Reader's Bible: Kelly

Max Lucado book set: Shelby

The Moon Shines Down: Jenny Goldsby


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Twine Cross

Last time I was at Hobby Lobby, I found this styrofoam cross and knew it would be perfect for Easter inspiration! It was just a few dollars with a 40% off coupon. You could also use a piece of cardboard cut into a cross or probably even cut your own cross from styrofoam you may have on hand.

Anyway, all I used was this piece of foam, twine and hot glue.

Start by using short pieces to cover the ends that won't be covered when you wrap the twine around each arm of the cross. Glue these short pieces in place before you begin the wrapping of the twine.

Begin wrapping twine around each arm of the cross and glue ends in place:

Complete wrapping twine around each part of the cross until it looks like this:

Then, wrap twine in an "x" shape to fill in this square:

After you've completed your "x" shape - you may still have a little foam showing out. I cut very small pieces and hot glued them underneath the "x". You can see in the photo above that on the right side, I've already done this and there is no foam showing.

Hot glue a loop of twine to the back to hang your cross.

I really like how this turned out and love it just the way it is. However, I have contemplated making a crown of thorns and hanging a purple sash on it - would you leave it plain or make a couple of extra things to go with it?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cure for Clutter

Here's what worked for me this weekend after feeling overwhelmed with clutter:

I invited some friends for dinner Sunday after church! Then, my Blessings Gathering needed a new location - so I said just to come on over here. These were the perfect motivation for me to clear the counters and table and it has made such a difference in my home but also in my heart!

What is your clutter cure?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Giveaway:: The Moon Shines Down

The Moon Shines Down is a charming board book that is big and colorful! Perfect for the little hands in your life! Written by Margaret Wise Brown and in her same playful voice, she creates a fun story to read with your little one!

One winner for this book!

Please leave a comment telling about a favorite childhood book of yours! Comments will be open until Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 9pm EST.

Disclosure: I received a copy of The Moon Shines Down from Tommy Nelson to review and share with you here. They are providing one giveaway copy. All opinion is mine.

Giveaway:: Max Lucado Book Set

I mentioned this set here and held a giveaway, but since I've never been able to contact the winner - it is time to try again!

We have really enjoyed this set of books! I love that they are small and compact, plus fit in this box to keep them all together. They are a lot of fun, plus great stories!

This set includes these four books:
  • You Are Special
  • The Tallest of Smalls
  • Hermie the Common Caterpillar
  • Just In Case You Ever Wonder
One winner for this set of books!

Since this set would make such a terrific gift - please leave a comment and let me know who you would give this to if you win! Comments will be open until Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 9pm EST.

Disclosure: I received a copy of these books from Tommy Nelson to review and share with you here. They are providing one giveaway copy. All opinion is mine.

Giveaway:: Beginning Reader's Bible

I'm excited about the Beginning Reader's Bible because I have a child who is a beginning reader! I love the pictures in this Bible and my very favorite thing is that it is actual Bible text, not a story format.

There are little activity suggestions, prayer ideas and suggested verses to memorize. Plus, a reading chart in the back where children can mark off sections they've read. This Bible uses the International Children's Version and is at a third-grade reading level.

One winner for this Bible!

Leave a comment telling me your favorite way to make the Bible come alive for your children or your favorite way to help them memorize Scripture! Comments will be open until March 30, 2011 at 9pm EST.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this Bible from Tommy Nelson to review and share with you here. They are providing one giveaway copy. All opinion is mine.

Giveaway:: God's Little Princess

How to Be God's Little Princess: Royal Tips of Manners and Etiquette for Girls would be a fun book for your daughters or a gift!

Topics include everything from how to make the best pink cookies and wear a tiara to how to earn money at home and be respectful. This book is suggested for little ladies ages 6-10.

Two winners on this one!

To enter, leave a comment telling me your favorite way of teaching manners to your little lady (ladies). Comments will be open until Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 9pm EST.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the God's Little Princess to review and share with you here. Because we don't really need it, I'm agreeing to give my copy away plus one more copy that is being supplied by Tommy Nelson. I'm not being compensated in any other way and am just sharing my opinion with you.

Giveaway:: Velveteen Bible

The Velveteen Bible would make a great baby gift! The little bunny on the front cover is fuzzy and there are sweet illustrations inside the Bible in the New King James Version.

Do you remember your first Bible? I couldn't find a picture of mine, but it was hardback and sort of a pale yellow. I can still see the picture on the cover and the pictures inside vaguely. But, I don't have it anymore.

Two winners on this one - leave a comment on this post and tell me about a new baby or a family that we could send this directly to as a surprise if you win! Comments will be open until Wednesday, March 20, 2011 at 9pm EST.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the Velveteen Bible to review and share with you here. Because we don't really need it, I'm agreeing to give my copy away plus one more copy that is being supplied by Tommy Nelson. I'm not being compensated in any other way and am just sharing my opinion with you.

Giveaway:: Sequin Bible

Confession: I'm behind on my posts for the Tommy Mommy program giveaways. But, the good news is after this post I'll be all caught up! Hope this will be fun to do them in a big group anyway - more winners = more happy readers!

For ease of managing the giveaways, they will each be in separate posts, so you'll need to leave a comment on each post to be considered for each giveaway.

I know you get really tired of hearing me say this (or reading, I should say) but if I don't have an e-mail address for you - you won't be qualified to win.

Ok, onto the giveaway fun!

An International Children's Bible translation of the Bible in a cute sparkly design that little girls will love carrying around and showing their friends!

Two winners on this one - and Tommy Nelson says that more versions of this Bible will be coming out in the Fall. Which colors or designs would YOU like to see?

Leave a comment telling me which cover you'd design and you'll automatically be entered to win. Comments will be accepted until Wednesday, March 30, 2011 at 9pm EST.

Disclosure: I received a copy of the Sequin Bible to review and share with you here. Because we don't really need it, I'm agreeing to give my copy away plus one more copy that is being supplied by Tommy Nelson. I'm not being compensated in any other way and am just sharing my opinion with you.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Eyes in Training

Today was the day. We got up extra early (well, the littles did anyway!) and hit the road! A friend graciously agreed to watch the little ladies and Samuel and I had the day to ourselves. You may remember me mentioning Samuel's eye and we went to see a Pediatric specialist today.

Last night, I was busy getting everything ready. I had snacks for both the girls to take and for in the car, a movie for Samuel to watch, maps, directions, medical forms and history ~ everything I could think of to prepare.

But, how to prepare my heart ~ I sort of felt at a loss. Not sure where I'm going, not sure what to expect, not sure of the outcome. But, sure of God going before me, with me and being alongside of Samuel and I. Thankful for a day to be with just my little boy. Just to enjoy him. To have him all to myself.

We got to see the sun come up:

Samuel was sooooo good! What a trooper. We found out that he has Accommodative Esotropia and unlike the normally seen variety (farsighted) he is borderline nearsighted. So, he has a prescription for bifocals and eye drops. The drops will blur his good eye (dilate) so that he is forced to use his lazier eye.

It struck me during this process that someone like little Samuel needs his eyes trained so they can see well. It won't be a quick fix, but a process. And, so for me as I strive to see like my Savior!

I won't instantly be looking at the world around me (if ever!) the way He does. It is going to require constant and disciplined training. I guess we'll be learning together in our home! One to see physically and one to see spiritually!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Beauty Refreshes

Thank you for sharing of your hearts here. I have been praying and will continue to remember you to the Lord. Your prayers are a gift and I felt them today!

I can't get enough of these tulips ~ they are just nourishing such a starving place in me as they create a small sense of beauty and peace in a life that seems chaotic. They are quiet, graceful, beautiful, delicate, peaceful - so many of the things that I long to be.

Yes, my bed is unmade and I desperately need to dust - but somehow cozy light and peaceful beauty captures my eye so I don't see those things as much. Have I ever mentioned how much I love having fresh flowers on my nightstand? I can remember living alone and moving any flowers I ever had around from room to room to enjoy them wherever I was - but to wake up and see that kind of beauty right there, first thing. Oh, it is wonderful!

How can you add a tiny spot of refreshing beauty to your life today? Here's an idea:

"By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures."
Proverbs 24:3-4

My sweet husband blessed me with his own idea - he told me to call and make an appointment for a pedicure and he would watch the children. And, then he said to pick up Chinese on the way home. It was such a refreshing pause and I am basking in the afterglow as I type.

Praying for refreshing beauty for each of you right now ...

P.S. My kitchen is still a mess - glad so many of you enjoyed seeing my piles!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When things don't go as planned...

When the clutter is piling and the chores are back logging, I realize that more than just my work is needing attention. I wonder when the last time I did anything artsy was? Why haven't I been in God's Word as much lately? When did I last plan a special time for my sweet family?

All of these areas need attention at the moment - and I know that beauty and time in God's Word are sure ways of feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Regardless of all the work that needs to be done, sometimes I know that I must start with something beautiful and meaningful for the strength to get back to work with motivation and energy.

While at the store yesterday, I bought these white tulips for myself. And, this simple act of beauty spurred a morning idea, which turned out to be very hard for me and a struggle.

I made muffins, packed the wagon and planned on spending the entire morning over at our little neighborhood lake. This spot is a favorite of my children so what better way to encourage them and create a little beauty?

The walk over was lovely, the sun was rising through the trees and making everything look pretty. Flowers are blooming everywhere - it was just really nice!

We got our breakfast all set up and realized how terribly bad the sand gnats were. There were just swarms of them all the time, I had to keep my hand moving constantly in front of my face to keep them moving away. Then, they crawl in your hair and all three of my sweet children were scratching their heads like crazy - yet they did NOT complain one bit about it.

But, this mama was really struggling. Oh, Lord - to create something beautiful, do something special together, be refreshed - please! But, it was not His will today for some reason. It was one of those moments where I wondered why God would create such an annoying little pest to ruin our desire to enjoy His Creation. (So I will long for my perfect Heavenly home is the answer that popped into my mind.)

I came home with a heavy heart and to face this:

It just was a rough day and I don't say this to have a pity party. But, to be real. Sometimes I think that I love taking pictures and looking at the beauty that it is possible to observe and create because it is not messy. When so much of my life feels messy, it is just nice to have something be tidy or beautiful.

And, too - I think that we often look at each other through a limited view on a blog and think that her children always enjoy everything she plans for them and the weather is perfect where she lives and this and that. Just as a photo only captures what we want it to show - our blogs can become similar if we let them.

Several hours later, as I look at these pictures - I do see beauty. I don't see the gnats or the frustration or the disappointment. And, I am thankful for this. Somehow even when it is so hard, I must continue to trust that He is still in control. He still knows what He is doing. Even if I never understand the why - I must continue to trust. And, I must not give up!

As I sat down to write this post, this is not what I intended to write. But, again - He has another plan.

Tonight, I wonder ~ are you overwhelmed? struggling? feeling lost in clutter? missing beauty in your life?

I am right there with you friend! You are not alone! I think God wants to remind us that we are in this together and none of us are perfect, none of us have it all together. Each day is one step at a time.

Let's link arms and build one another up! I would love to pray for you (and would you consider praying over the comments as well?) if you would leave a comment or e-mail me!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I'm back from the conference! It was a great time away. I was a bit overwhelmed at times, but overall it was very worthwhile to go and I definitely learned some things! It was super fun to meet a couple of you!! (Thank you, J and M for introducing yourselves!)

Since curriculum has been on my brain for the past few months, I'll be sharing some of what we are planning to do next year in the days ahead.

Today, I'm just feeling out of my usual groove. I have a lot to do, but less than the normal motivation to get it done. It's been a while since I planned something fun and special for my family and I am getting the itch to create some beauty around me.

I'm thinking of a fun breakfast for tomorrow morning involving a quilt, something homemade, white tulips in a vintage canning jar, being outside, etc...

Anything new with you?

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Leaving this afternoon for a homeschool conference over the next few days! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On gardening and mothering ...

For a long time, I've wanted to watch Return of the Daughters. And, I finally did last week - while I would not say that I agree with everything shown in it and will admit that I personally feel it varies daughter by daughter if this would work - I really enjoyed it.

Anyway, regardless of anything I thought - it did get me to doing some thinking of my own. Would my daughters ever even consider something like staying at home in their single years? Would that be best for them?

Next thoughts - regardless of all that - do they think that it is wonderful to be at home? Do they think I love it that I am home with them? What does my attitude say to them about that? When they ask if they can help in the kitchen and I get easily frustrated - are they sensing that I love being at home?

I'm going to be very honest and share part of an e-mail I wrote to a friend from church whom I am privileged to seek for godly counsel:

"I was recently thinking about training the girls to love being at home and being homemakers. And, my next thought was that I don't know that they will think it is a joy because they don't see joy in the way I act. I do love being at home - and I do have joy in being a homemaker. However, I often find myself getting short with them or coming across frazzled or frustrated. Yes, there is plenty to get frustrated about - but how do I communicate a joy for being at home in spite of all the frustrations? The constant needs/demands and very minimal down time really do take a toll on me and I know that - but how do I overcome that? How do I go from someone who thrives on being alone, quiet, reflective and still thrive in the noisy, chaotic life He has given me?"

I appreciated her response which reminded me to be in His Word, prayer, relying on the Holy Spirit and some practical suggestions as well. Then, I was out planting green beans and sunflowers in the garden and was drawn to keep looking in the area at all the green that is popping up everywhere.

I first stopped to admire all the beautiful green on the hydrangeas - growth.

Then, I saw that the blueberry plants are about to bloom - the hope of fruit.

And, this day - those things were an encouragement to me as well as a visual lesson of myself and my children. We are still in process. Still growing. These children are like little seeds, little seedlings that I must tend and care for so that they will someday produce fruit consistently.

Gardening is a lesson in patience and God beautifully reminded me today that mothering is too.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

To See Like My Savior: Blindness Part 1

A big portion of this series will be devoted to living out the Prescription! This is where it really hits our everyday lives and a place we should definitely camp out! This month, we'll look at the use of the word blind in Scripture and see what we can learn about how God wants us to see! Would you like to join me?

SEE - Blindness Word Study

I'm going to go ahead and post the whole study now - but only highlight one section each week. This week - we'll look at passages referring to blindness in the Old Testament. There are 25 Old Testament references listed here which I found in Strong's Concordance.

As I went through and looked each of these up - I found myself considering whether or not God was referring to physical, spiritual or figurative blindness. So, you will see a place for you to circle P S or F on each line to remind you which kind of blindness we are being taught about.

In some cases, I thought it was more than one kind of blindness or saw how it could refer to both physical and spiritual blindness. And, there is really no correct answer - just read with an open heart asking God to show you what He wants you to learn from His Word and note those things here.

Let's go ahead and look at the first passage together:

Exodus 4:11, "The Lord said to him, 'Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord?'

First of all, does this refer to physical blindness, spiritual blindness or both? I wrote down physical - but since the Lord is speaking it could truly be any of the answers. I think that is important to note - we will each interpret the verses with the measure of grace God has given to each of us. There are not right or wrong answers - but His answers!

To me, it stands out in this verse that God is the one who gives and withholds sight. It reminds me of His authority and strength. He is worthy, He is almighty.

Note: As you are working through these passages, when you see a theme emerge - go ahead and make a note of that at the end of the chart. We'll come back to reviewing those later, just note them for now.

Ok, I'm not going to muddy the waters with any further words - but feel free to print out the study and see for yourself what God's Words says about blindness: physical, spiritual and otherwise.

PS: If you want to read this entire series on seeing - click the eye chart button on my right sidebar or click here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gratitude for ...

91. An impromptu sewing Saturday! All their idea!

92. Tents!

93. Watching hospitality bloom in Emily ~ the snack she created while I was at the thrift store.

94. A cozy evening in front of the fire!

95. Simple little things that delight - his pleasure at Elizabeth carrying a carrot!

96. Little fingers learning to make music.

97. Making life's ordinary moments beautiful.

98. A surprise just-because treat from a friend! Have you tried a peppermint milk shake at Chick-Fil-A? YUM!!!!!

99. Seedlings emerging - new life!

100. Discovering a new place with friends.
101. Eyes open to beauty around me.

What are you thankful for today?