Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Resolution Check-up

I can't believe the first month of the year is already gone!  It's already time to look back over my January resolutions and set February ones.  At first, I wasn't really planning on blogging about these every month but I've realized one of the main reasons I keep up this blog is to hold myself accountable so announcing them for everyone to read definitely holds myself more accountable!  Here's a review of my January resolutions:

1.  Host a couple's Bible Study at our Home:  Check!  We did this last Friday and thoroughly enjoyed it!  We had six other couples over and studied the Fruits of the Spirit with each couple taking at least one fruit to discuss.  In fact, it went so well and we had so much participation/discussion we only got through 4 of the fruits of the spirit and plan on having a Part 2 of the Bible study this month :)  It was a wonderful reminder that if the Spirit dwells within us and these (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and  temperance) are the fruits of the Spirit then that's what you should be seeing in our lives.  Whether we realize it or not we're producing some type of fruit-either fruits of the flesh or fruits of the Spirit and others are watching are lives!

2.  Spend Less Time Online- Check!  I'm definitely spending less time online although I could still stand to cut back some more!  I did at least a partial "facebook fast" the first 2 weeks of the month.  During that time I only responded to private groups and messages.  I actually enjoyed it and got SO much more accomplished.  After those 2 weeks I sat down and made myself some guidelines and for the most part have stuck to them!

3.  Potty Train "Miss Priss"-Check!  We had a rought start but then figured out the trick was a sticker chart!  She wasn't interested in small prizes or candy but the stickers did the trick!  She's still in a diaper at nap and bedtime but other than that she's doing really well!  Which is a relief since in less that 3 months we'll have another one in diapers!

So here are my Goals/Resolutions for February:

1.  My Mom, sister and I are hosting a Tea Party for the ladies at church.

2.  Set up Nursery (and choose a name would be a plus too)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tot School: Polar Bears and Sunshine

You Gotta love Alabama weather!  In between dodging storms we've been learning more about winter and polar bears then playing outside in 60 degree weather!!  We didn't do quite as many activities as usual and our schedule was totally off because we did spend a lot of time outside!

In fact we spent one whole day just being outside the weather was so nice!  We rode the 4-wheeler, Barbie Jeep, played on swingset and fed all the animals around the farm (cows, horse, geese, fish).  It seriously felt more like a Spring Day and we enjoyed every minute of it!

The next day we did 1/2 day inside then went outside!  Then on the third day we had an afternoon Tot School.  Like I said it's been a crazy but fun week! 

When we weren't outside, I used the book Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear by Bill Martin Jr. as our main focus.  A few things we've worked on this week: the color white, sense of hearing, and our listening skills.  White is really the only color "Miss Priss" doesn't know so we definitely needed to work on that. Her listening skills could use some work too and this is a great book for that!

Table Time

  1. Created a Polar Bear- I originally got the idea here but we changed it up a bit using what we already had.  We loved our puffy paint from making our snoman so we used it again and created a polar bear using a paper plate, googly eyes, pom-pom nose, and cardstock ears.
  2. Made bears, snowmen and snowballs with white Play-doh
  3. Worked on counting, hand-eye coordination using book I downloaded awhile back from Childcare Land.  I could no longer find the book on the free printables but it may be on their site somewhere!  The book is made to be used with pom-poms but we used marshmallows. 
Floor Time: 

  1. Simon Says
  2. Puzzles
  3. Mrs. Potato Head
Instead of "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear Turn Around"  we sang "Polar Bear, Polar Bear, Turn Around."


Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear?  by Bill Martin Jr 
You Can Do it Sam by Amy Hest

Polar Bear Cupcakes- again we changed it up a bit using what we had

Polar Bear Paper Plate Craft

Counting and placing Marshmallows

Polar Bear Cupcakes

Additional Links/Resources:

http://www.eric-carle.com/bb-pb.html (more for older kids)

And let me just say this igloo out of milk cartons is SO cool! (Don't you just love my humor ;)
I'm thinking we are going to have to start saving our milk cartons and try it soon!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Prayer for our Fellow Christians

Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. Ephesians 1:15

What's really stuck out to me this week in our GMG Ephesians study is praying for my fellow Christians.  I love that Paul says here "AFTER I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ" (emphasis added)How many times do I pray for those that are sin sick and lost but forget my fellow Christians that are battling Satan all day?  Do I pray for someone until they accept Christ as their Savior but then maybe not so much after that?  Guilty.

Paul of all people knew how difficult living a life for Christ could be.  He knew all about the temptations and persecution. After all, he was writing this from prison!  He knew it wasn't going to be an easy road for these new Christians so what was his solution?  Even while imprisoned, he ceased not to give thanks and pray for them.

So many times someone will come to me with a problem and even ask me to pray and what's my response?  "Well, the least I can do is pray for you."  The least I can do? On down in the next few verses Paul reminds the Christians once again of their spiritual riches and the "exceeding greatness of his power."

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his might power.   Ephesians 1:19
What power there is in Christ through prayer!  There is NO greater thing we can do for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ than to lift them up in prayer.  Then allow God's "exceeding great power" to work!

I have truly been challenged this week to pray for my fellow Christians!  I hope you will be too!!

Also linked up to:

Friday, January 20, 2012

Return of Tot School - Winter

We finally started back Tot School last week! We've spent the last two weeks talking about Winter.  We've learned about cold weather, warm clothing, animal habits, and the color white.  Our activities have been centered around 3 of my favorite winter books:  The Mitten, The Snowy Day, and Snowmen at Night.  I found a great resources with printables for The Snowy Day.  We used several of these! Here's some of the activities we did:

Table Time:

The Mitten:

1.  Made bird feeder (rolled a pinecone in peanut butter then birdseed and attached a string)
2.  Winter collage - Glued pics on a piece of construction paper then splattered white paint for snow
3.  Painted a mitten- cut out a mitten from card stock and painted with watercolors.  I had intentions of punching holes and letting them lace it later but we never got to that :)
4.  re-tell with cards,
5.  winter clothing sort

The Snowy Day-

  1. Snowflake-used water colors on a coffee filter then folded into a triangle and cut out triangles
  2. tracing activity - I printed this off and placed in a sheet protector and used dry erase markers so we could resue it.  She still has a long way to go on this activity!

Snowmen at Night:

    1.    Snowman - Mixed equal amounts of glue and white paint to make a "puffy" paint, then decorated with felt and buttons.  Then let them "draw" in some of the shaving cream

Floor Time:

Dress-up: Dressed up in our winter coats, hats, boots, gloves/mittens
Snowball Toss/Fight: We took some rolled up socks and threw them at a clothes basket then at each other!

Mitten Match-up: Gathered all the mittens/gloves in our house, mixed them up and then matched them.  (This was much more difficult for "Miss Priss" than I thought it'd be!)


hot choc with snowman marshmallows

snowman brownies- baked brownies, attempted to cut out with snowman cookie cutter (we apparently didn't let ours cool long enough!) then sprinkled with powdered sugar


Winter Pokey (Tune of Hokey Pokey but you put your mitten in, your boot in, etc.)
The Mitten

Freeze - We played music and when I stopped the music and said "Freeze" they had to freeze.  They loved this!


Working on our tracing

Winter/Summer Clothes Sort

Rolling pinecone in birdseed

Painting snowman

Dressed up in our winter clothes

No real snow :(  so we played in the shaving cream after painting

Some of our finished "masterpieces"

Additional Links for Winter Activities:




Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Adopted and Accepted

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.  Ephesians 1:5-6
We started our Good Morning Girls study of Ephesians this week and boy have we just jumped right in there!  What's really stuck out to me so far are the words "adopted and accepted".  I'm so thankful that I've been adopted by the King of Kings!  "The beloved" Paul's referring to at the end of verse 6 is Christ.  I am accepted not because of my righteousness but because of His sacrifice and grace!
With that adoption and acceptance came SO many benefits!  One of our deacons testified Sunday that Jesus was first his Savior but He's also SO much more.  I'm thankful his blessings didn't end upon salvation.  In fact, it was only the beginning.  Let me back up to the 3rd verse of Ephesians 1: 
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Did you get that?  When it comes to spiritual blessings we don't receive just one but "ALL spiritual blessings".  When He adopts us and accepts us He continues daily to give us His love, grace, joy, peace, strength and so much more!

So many today are looking for acceptance in all the WRONG places.  I love what John MacArthur said on these scriptures:

You know, I think people today are looking for a sense of self worth. I think they're looking for a sense of value, for a sense of self acceptance. They want to be somebody that matters. They want to have identity. And, man, this is the answer.

Jesus is the answer.  Anything else will only be a temporary fix.  Until you've completely given your life to him you can't begin to truly live, to feel accepted, and to be blessed with "all spiritual blessings".  Twenty-four years ago my adoption was finalized. I've failed him many times but He's NEVER failed me!  How sweet it is to be adopted and accepted by the King of Kings!

Are you studying Ephesians along with us?  I'd love to hear your thoughts so far!

Also linked up with:

Friday, January 13, 2012

Good Morning Girls Session starts Sunday!!

Originally posted by GMG
Are you that kind of woman?  Do you long to be but instead find your feet hitting the floor and then dashing off to your chaotic day feeling more like an easy target for the devil?  Then I challenge you to start your day in a more peaceful way.  I've learned that either you can start your day or you can let your day start you!

If you need a way to hold you accountable for doing so then I know just the way!! Our next Good Morning Girls session starts Sunday!!!  I'm super excited about studying Ephesians this time!  If you've never heard of Good Morning Girls then check them out here.  This will be my third study with them.  If you want to read how I got involved and why I love Good Morning Girls and this particular format of Bible studying then click here

Even if you're just looking for a good Bible study to do on your own then you can download their free e-study guide and follow along on their blog.  They usually have posts and/or a short video on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  I'll also be linking up with them here on my blog and sharing some of my thoughts on Wednesdays and would love to hear your comments too!

So starting Monday (Sundays just a warm-up day then the actual Bible reading starts Monday) I challenge you to set your alarm a little earlier-even if it's just 10 or 15 minutes and spend some time with God.  See if it doesn't change your day and your life!!
"O God thou art my God:  early will I seek thee:  my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is." Psalm 63:1

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Proverbs 31 - A Worthy Role Model

In between our GMG studies I have been studying the Proverbs 31 Woman.  I thought it'd be a great way to kick off the new year and remind me of my responsibilities.  I've used my Bible, the SOAP method and Courtney from Women Living Well's free e-book, The Proverbs 31 Woman One Virtue At a Time. I started the day after Christmas and finished yesterday and boy was I "weighed in the balance and (art) found wanting" (Daniel 5:27)! 

Just thought I'd post my list of characteristics or virtues from Proverbs 31.  How do you measure up?

She is:

 - A treasure (worth more than rubies and you'll soon see why!) v. 10
 - Trustworthy v. 11
 - Speaks AND DOES good to her husband EVERYDAY v. 12
 - Works with eager hands v. 13
 - Goes the distance in preparing meals v.14
 - Rises early v. 15 and works late v. 18
 - Makes wise decisions that will benefit her family v. 16
 - Tackles the tough jobs v. 17
 - Works diligently v. 19
 - Reaches out to the poor and needy v. 20
 - Is prepared for the bad weather v. 21
 - Takes care of her NEEDS v. 22
 - Brings honor to her husband v. 23
 - Gives her work her best v. 24
 - Clothed in strength and honor v. 25
 - Speaks with wisdom and kindness v. 26
 - Keeps an eye on her family and isn't idle v. 27
 - Blessed by her children and praised by her husband v. 28
 - Excels in virtues v. 29
 - Fears the Lord v. 30
 - Earns the fruit of her hands and praises of her works v. 31

  Much to my dismay no where in there did I find "deserves a long, hot bath at the end of the day" or "takes a Mommy's day out"!!
I love what Courtney says concerning the 30th verse:  "She will work tirelessly and sacrificially to create a home that is filled with peace, joy and comfort.  This woman loves the Lord and desires to please Him.  She serves her husband and children because of her higher desire to please the Lord. ...Her faith is her beauty secret."

Oh, how I desire to be more like the Proverbs 31 Woman-she's a worthy role model!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Most Important Job I'll Ever Have-Part Two

On one hand, I could continue working and we would be financially secure.  Without really having to worry much about money.  We'd be able to go on vacations, finish up the house exactly as we'd planned, maybe even purchase a boat, etc.  However, that also meant "Miss Priss" would have to go in a daycare.  Something neither of us wanted.

On the other hand, I could quit and stay home with her but even IF we could do it financially there'd have to be a lot of sacrifices!  Finances were the biggest part of our decision but it wasn't the only factor.  I also LOVED my job.  I was teaching the grade I'd always wanted to teach with a wonderful group of Christian friends. It was a challenging job where I honestly felt like I made a difference everyday.  It wasn't an easy thing to give up. 

We spent the next few weeks trying budget after budget to see if it was possible, weighing all of our options.  To be honest on paper it didn't look possible to live on the one salary.  However, after much praying we still felt like that was what God wanted us to do as parents and with God all things are possible!  We both knew if that was the direction God was leading then we'd better follow!

So I quit my job.  Even now, almost 2 years later, as I sit writing this in the doctor's office waiting for a check-up on our next little blessing, I can honestly say I've not regretted that decision a single day. 

We still have more "stuff" than I know what to do with and I soon realized that even a family vacation wasn't what my children needed the most.  What they need the most is me and time spent at home giving them a stable, secure and happy childhood. 

My husband asked me this year what I wanted from him for Christmas and I told him nothing-he gives me my gift everyday when he goes to work so that I can stay home with "Miss Priss".  He laughed and said, "Seriously, what do you want?"  But I honestly meant it (although he still got me a little something).  I feel so blessed to be able to have the job of being a full-time Mommy.  In doing so, I truly "have it all".  To be here every step of the way guiding a precious little girl is scary and challenging but to me this is the most important job I'll ever have and because of that it deserves all of me!
"The best thing to spend on your children is time."

                                                            - Louise Hart

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Most Important Job I'll Ever Have-Part One

"Joy comes when you're doing

something with your life and feeling

that you're responsive to God's call." 

Dr. Bryan Cloyd


Our mission as Christians is to be a witness for Christ.  There's no one that we have a greater impact on as a witness than our children.  Which is exactly why the most important job I will ever have is being a Mom.

I have put off writing this particular blog because I have so many friends (good friends and GREAT moms) that aren't SAHM.  So let me begin by saying that quitting my job and staying at home with "Miss Priss" alone does not make me a better Mom.  However, others have also asked the question of why I felt I had to choose between a career and staying at home.  Don't I know it's possible to "have it all" in today's world?  Yes, I do.  I've been there.  I worked for four months with my daughter at home and let me just say not one of those days did I feel like I "had it all."  Quite the opposite in fact, I felt like everyone was getting the short end of the deal-my husband, my daughter, my students, and myself. 

I ultimately chose to be a SAHM because I felt it was what God was calling me to do.  I felt it was the best way to serve Him and my family.  I truly believe that motherhood is a ministry (hopefully one of these days I'll get to read Sally Clarkson's Ministry of Motherhood). 

I believe God has given us His children to watch over, instruct, and guide and with that blessing comes a great responsibility.  I also feel that their most influential years are the early years and me being with them as much as possible giving them the best care I can give is what He wants me to do.

So you'd think with such strong convictions about being a SAHM it would've been an easy decision for me (and maybe it should've been had my faith of been greater) but it wasn't.  Here's why...

I'd always knew I wanted to be a SAHM.  Then I found out I was pregnant.  My husband was in between jobs and so I was our primary source of income.  Not to mention we'd just started building a new house!  At first I was so angry with myself.  I was thrilled to be pregnant but disappointed because staying at home with the baby was not even an option at this point.  I was a planner and I'd known what I wanted. How had I let it get to this?

So "Miss Priss" was born and I was able to stay at home with her for about 10 weeks.  Then I went back to teaching while my husband stayed at home with her.  Not at all how I'd always pictured my life!  However, even when we may not see it, as long as we trust in Him, God ALWAYS has a plan. 

So I went back to work teaching 1st grade with the attitude that I would do what I could at school, leave it at school, and then come home and be a Mom.  Well, great in theory but not reality.  If you've ever been a teacher you know it's impossible to get it all done DURING school hours.  However, I also knew if "Miss Priss" was in school I'd want her teacher to give her all and expected nothing less out of myself as a teacher.  So I came home as soon as I could after school, then spent time with "Miss Priss" then once she was in bed it was back to school work.  As much as I tried I still felt, as I mentioned earlier, everyone was getting the short end of the deal and I was exhausted!

Even though my husband was doing a GREAT job taking care of her there were still things I was missing and knew I'd never get that time back.  There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't pray he'd get a job and we could swap roles!  I finished out the year teaching.  Then my husband got a job during the summer.  Unfortunately, it wasn't the job we'd hoped he get.  In fact, he would be making about 1/2 of what we'd planned.  Even though it wasn't what WE'D planned, he took the job anyway and then came the grueling decision of what to do next...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Yes, There is Life Without Facebook

Wow!  It's AMAZING what all you I can accomplish when you're I'm not buried in Facebook!  One of my monthly resolutions was to spend less time online, more specifically stay off of Facebook for a couple weeks.  It was definitely a worthwhile goal!  This has been one of the most enjoyable weeks I've had in awhile.  My to-do lists for EVERYDAY have been completed, my house is totally clean, laundry is done, "Miss Priss" is off to a great start on potty-training (no accidents the last 2 days :), supper has been cooked every night we've been home, I've had time to do some walking and things for myself... I could go on but you get the picture!  I've really realized this week how much life Facebook sucks out of me before I even realize it! 

I use FB to keep up with not only friends and social events but I have private group pages with family, church, and my GMG group.  I use it for our little business page and to keep up with new designs others are offering.  I use it to follow other blogs I love.  I use it for shopping and let me say those smocked auctions are an addiction all on their own!  I didn't even realize how addicted to it I was until this week!  I log on to check messages and then I see new pics posted by a friend, a new blog I want to read, an online auction going on, etc. before I realize it I've been on WAY longer than I planned! 
I'm almost embarrassed to admit it but I had a pretty major problem.  Before this week it was the first thing I did when I woke up in the morning and the last thing I did before I went to sleep.  Not to mention the probably 100x I'd check it during the day.  This week I've found myself unconsciously picking up my phone and clicking on the FB icon before I even realized what I was doing it was such a habit!  As the week went on it did get better.

I must confess that I didn't turn off my e-mail notifications because it has become such a MAJOR if not THE MAJOR form of communication for me.  I have responded to a prayer request and a family post- but that's it!  Believe me that's a major accomplishment for me!

When I'm trying to get rid of a bad habit the easiest way for me to do it is replace it with something else.  Sunday I decided my prayer life had definitely been lacking so I decided anytime I had the urge to check FB then I'd say a prayer for someone on my prayer list.  I even put my prayer list up in the kitchen to serve as a reminder.  Boy, has my prayer list been prayed for this week-lol!

While part of me has been tempted to just delete my page, I do believe it is beneficial to me - in it's place!  I plan on continuing life without FB for one more week until my GMG session starts back then I hope to find some way to limit my time using it.  In the meantime, I'm looking forward to seeing what all I get accomplished next week!

Do you have something that takes away from your priorities?  Have you already overcome it? 

Now the question of - Do I post this blog link to Facebook???  ;)