Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Teaching colors and sorting using CandyLand

A few weeks ago I did a little rearranging in the living room. Sorting through Abby's mess of toys in the corner, clearing out most of our games from the bookshelf (and storing them in the garage -- I'm not ready to give them up quite yet! I want to be a game playing family when the girls get older!). I kept a few games on one shelf for Abby, even though she's still a little young to play them for real (Chutes and Ladders, CandyLand, Connect Four, Mancala). But she's managed to find her own ways to play with them.

She pulled out CandyLand and started identifying the colors on the cards. An idea flashed through my mind so I quickly ran downstairs and grabbed a few pieces of construction paper (and one piece of scrapbook paper since there wasn't any purple in the construction paper package...). I spread them on the floor and we started sorting the colored cards and little people onto the pieces of paper.

Abby also happened to be munching on Fruit Loops (I know I know, sugary cereal = bad mom). Did you know there are 6 colors of Fruit Loops, just like there are 6 colors of cards in CandyLand? And those were the 6 pieces of construction paper I had?

Now we store those pieces of construction paper in the CandyLand box. Abby still doesn't get the concept of the actual game... But she does love colors. Yellow is her favorite. :)

It's amazing what simple, teachable things you can find in your own house!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Goodbye summer... (and good riddance! ;-)

Today is the last day of "summer". As I look out my window, it's cloudy and 62 degrees. Rain is on it's way for tonight and the weekend.


I don't like summer. I never have.

I love:
  • blankets (especially heavy ones or super soft ones)
  • hooded sweatshirts
  • crisp air
  • fresh cider
  • soup/chili in the slow cooker
  • college football (go MSU!)
  • harvest/cinnamon/spice smelling candles
  • rich fall colors 

I took the girls to a local farm stand today and got a few pumpkins. Front porch decorating coming soon!

Do you think I'm crazy?
Am I the only one who hates summer and loves fall?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Make a difference for the "one"

Have you heard that little story about the boy throwing starfish into the ocean?

Ten years ago this fall, Rocky and I went to our first concert together (we'd been dating about 8 months). During intermission, someone gave a little blurb about sponsoring a child through Compassion International, and for the rest of the intermission sponsorship packets floated around the gymnasium. The one that came to us had a picture of a 5-year-old girl from Cochabamba, Bolivia. Rocky stared at it and told me "I went on a mission trip to that town when I was in high school. I probably walked down that street..."

It was a total God-thing.

We hung on to that packet for the rest of the concert and prayed for wisdom. And after the concert he filled out the information for us to become Kathya's sponsor.

Three years of dating plus seven years of marriage later, we are still Kathya's sponsors. We admit we haven't been very good about writing letters... but she faithfully has written to us about 4 times a year. She is now 15 years old and has grown into a beautiful young lady:

Compassion is a great organization. They focus on individual child development, and each child has only one sponsor. Because of their sponsor's support, they are able to receive consistent Christian training, educational opportunities, health care and supplemental food, personal attention, guidance, love, and so much more.

Within the next few years Kathya will graduate from the program. I hope to then choose another child to sponsor through Compassion, and involve my own girls in letter-writing and watch them grow together.

Do you sponsor a child through Compassion or another organization? 

You can search Compassion's website for children to sponsor based on country, gender, first name, age range, birthday. How neat would it be to sponsor a child with the same birthday as you or your child?? You can also find children who have been waiting the longest for a sponsor, are orphaned or affected by HIV/AIDS, or are mentally/physically challenged.

Consider making a difference. For one.

Join the Compassion Blogger Network

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Never forget

Last year was the big 10-year anniversary of September 11. Click here to read my story about where I was -- a freshman in college...

I came across the image of the flag above and really liked the simple symbolism it conveys:
  • The stars symbolize the airplanes that were needlessly sacrificed on 9-11-01. The star outside the pentagon represents the plane diverted by the brave passengers, saving hundreds of lives. 
  •  The red background of the flag symbolizes the lives lost and bloodshed of our fellow Americans... past, present and future. 
  •  The pentagon and two rectangles represent three of the most recognized structures ever built on US soil. The Twin Towers may be out of our sight, but never out of our minds. 
  •  The circle around the pentagon represents the unity that occurred after the tragedy. Instead of fear and helplessness, Americans united, to comfort grieving hearts and restore shattered dreams.

It's weird for me to think that all the students at the school I work at were born after 9/11... As time goes on this event will simply become another story passed down from generation to generation, just like events such as Pearl Harbor and the shooting of JFK. Eventually not many people will be around to talk about "where I was that day". Keep sharing your story. Keep telling your children and grandchildren where you were...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Book Talk Thursday: Then Sings My Soul 3

It's no secret that I love music. And I love the history behind any and every song ever written. Songs had to come from somewhere, some inspiration -- my husband has written a handful, and I know the story behind each of those (his are almost always based on a specific Scripture passage).

Then Sings My Soul: Book 3 by Robert J. Morgan has the subtitle of "The Story of Our Songs: Drawing Strength from the Great Hymns of Our Faith." I have a copy of Book 1 as well. And I must say I love these books. Book 3 includes 50 devotional-style stories about various hymns from AD 100 through 2001. Honestly, most are hymns I am unfamiliar with, but each contains a hymnal-like page with the lyrics and melody so I could learn them if I wanted to!

What really sets Book 3 apart from the other two by Morgan is the "History of Hymnody" in the beginning of the book. He talks about how hymns and styles have changed, including Biblical, Ancient, Medieval, German, and English hymns to Gospel songs and Contemporary Praise. Change is not a bad thing, though music styles within the church are one of the most frequently argued-about issues.

I really enjoyed the very last section of the book called "Hymning in Private and in Public", specifically the chapter called "In Public: Old New Praise - Why We Must Embrace Interwoven Worship." Morgan talks about the importance of blending our music in corporate worship. I read a portion from this chapter during devotions at one of our music team practices, it spoke to me so strongly.

Our church makes a conscious effort to include both older hymns and modern praise songs in every single service. We utilize an organ and piano, as well as guitars and drums. This last chapter is everything I ever want to say to those within our church (and other churches too) who complain about either a) "I don't like those old hymns" or b) "I don't like those new songs". I could type quotes from this chapter till you stop reading because this post is getting too long... But I'll only give you two:

"If worship unites the entire family of God - past, present, and future - isn't it appropriate to intertwine the ancient with the modern? When I sing the Doxology, I'm joining in an exercise of praise known to my grandparents and great-grandparents. When I sing the newest upbeat chorus from a praise-and-worship band, I'm joining voices with my grandkids."

"Let's be Old New worshippers. Support your worship leader. Enjoy the drums. Retain the organ if you can. Learn the new songs, and adapt to them with grace in your heart. And don't let the great hymns of the church fade away."

That chapter alone is enough for me to give this book a 5+ star rating. This book would be a great devotional for a music lover or a church praise team. So go get it. Read it. Especially the last chapter. And pass it on to whoever organizes and plans the music within your church...

I review for BookSneeze®

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I'm such a horrible blogger :(

image courtesy of ugaldew
I shed tears today.

When I transferred my old posts from to this new blog, I failed to realize that most of my pictures would still be uploaded and therefore linked to that site. Now that the hosting on my old site has expired (I got one year free and chose to not pay to renew), I have lost a TON of photos -- silly me, I only saved onto my computer the ones that included my daughter.

So I apologize for the posts with broken image links, I couldn't bear to delete them and lose all of your comments! I hope within the next few months to re-take as many of the photos as I can and re-upload them here.

This affects most of my recipe/decorating/gardening posts between Sept. 2011 and March 2012.

I'm so sorry... please forgive me!!! :'-(

What's your routine?

It's the first day of school for most kids in Michigan! (there was actually a bill passed a few years ago that requires public schools to begin after Labor Day -- since tourism, camping, etc. is so big in our state!) Even though I'm now going to be responsible for both of my girls all day every day, I'm glad this day is finally here.

I thrive on routine. I love schedules, itineraries, lists, etc. (if you're that kind of person too, check out this website). "Going with the flow" too often drains me. So I'm ready to get this school year started and get my girls -- and myself -- on a daily schedule.

photo courtesy of dwayno

Mostly I'm going to work on getting Ellie on a consistent eating and sleeping schedule. She's one month old today (wow!) and I believe is at the point where we can do things by the clock. Of course our evenings will vary depending on Rocky's tennis schedule, and meetings etc. at church. And Ellie cluster feeds quite a bit in the evenings (probably a reason she sleeps so good at night!) so there will be some inconsistency from day to day. But during the day, we're going to give a schedule a try...

I'm hoping I'll be able to use my morning-person-ness to get up a little earlier and do some things like devotions/reading my Bible, writing a blog post, and getting my Facebook-fix, so that once Abby wakes up I can give the girls my undivided attention for awhile. 

Eventually I want to get housework into my routine too -- although I'm not sure whether to plan a day at a time or a week at a time. I love lists and checking things off my to-do list, but I'm undecided about setting a schedule like: clean the bathroom on Monday, sweep the floors on Tuesday, etc. versus making a list of everything to accomplish that week and working on whatever I can whenever I can...

What is your daily/weekly routine like? Especially you young moms out there? Do you even have a routine??

P.S. I haven't done a Musical Monday post in awhile, and I know today is Tuesday, but in the spirit of the First Day of School, here is a fun little song:

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Saturday 7: August 26 - September 1

  1. I probably say this every month, but I can't believe it's [September] already! Where did August go? Oh yeah, I had a baby on the 4th... so I've been a little busy I guess. ;-)  Seriously though, July seemed to stretch out f-o-r-e-v-e-r, it was so hot and I was so pregnant, and I was so ready for summer to be over. August has been much better temperature-wise, and I've been learning how to care for both a toddler and a newborn. It really was a good month!
  2. Ellie is 4 weeks old today! Other than a couple rough nights here and there, she has been a great sleeper. Other moms, please don't hate me (and please don't ask my secret because I have no clue...) -- this past week almost every night she slept 6-8 hours in the first chunk of the night. Except the night after I wrote this post. That night she and I were up a lot and I got maybe 5 hours of total sleep...
  3. I get frustrated with baby clothes. Ellie is following the same pattern as Abby -- long overall to begin with, and mostly long-torso'ed. Gerber onesies seem super small to begin with... and this week I packed up the 0-3 month Gerber onesies and she's wearing 3-6 month. C'mon Gerber, she's just now 4 weeks old...
  4. Abby learned how to hop this week! Every so often throughout the summer we've tried teaching her how to jump and lift both feet off the ground at the same time. She couldn't seem to get it. Then one night this week during her I'm-gonna-act-all-hyper-right-before-bedtime, she started saying hop hop hop! and actually did it! And she does it on command too. So cute!
  5. We've been practicing some Love & Logic ideas on Abby. Mostly giving her lots and lots of choices. Just last night at dinner she wasn't eating, so Rocky asked her "would you like to eat this piece of meat with a fork or with your fingers?" and she responded "fingers!" and picked it up and ate it. I usually offer her a choice between 2 shirts in the morning. Anytime we offer a choice, we're perfectly ok with either of the options, but she feels like she's in control. So far it's working great. :) 
  6. Rocky starts school next week. We've had the last couple weeks to start getting used to not having him home all day everyday, tennis practice started 2 weeks ago and this past week he had both tennis events and meetings at school. Next week I'll really work on getting the girls (and myself) into a routine!
  7. Earlier this summer Rocky's dad bought a Hobie Cat sailboat/catamaran. He lives on a lake about 15 minutes from us, so we spend quite a bit of time over there during the summer (it's also the house where Rocky grew up). Rocky really likes sailing, and has gone out numerous times with his dad and sister. Last weekend he convinced me to go with him, and at first I wasn't at all interested, but once we got out on the water and I learned how to use the ropes and sails and things it was actually a lot of fun! This picture is from a really calm day a couple weeks ago, when Rocky and Rissa took Abby out:

    Have a great week!

    The Saturday 7: Post seven things that happened to you this week. Just a quick summary. Things you might not necessarily write a whole blog post about. Idea taken from Sadie's Lovin' Life with Lucy. 

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