Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Meet Stu ~ The Lamb

We may be getting a lamb! Isn't he cute??? He is being used in our church's Passion Play this year. (The boy holding him is a teen from our church who is in charge of the animals in the play...he brought the lamb in to the nursery for the children to see him!)

Actually...my mom may be getting him...but he will live at our house! His owner was planning on selling him...so my mom was going to look into it!!! :) I hope we get him....he is sooooo sweet! The kids were trying to pick a name for him (even though he doesn't live here yet) and Chris picked Stu. I think he technically meant it spelled "Stew"...haha...but I just can't imagine that! So I like it as "Stu"....and *no*...I have no intention of ever letting anyone eat him! ;) My farm may be *small* but it is beginning to look more farm-like!!! :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tax Collector Katy

The time has just flown by today. This morning, I was working on receipting taxes and doing some homeschool organization, as we are coming close to ending our year soon and I want to get things as prepared as I can to make their portfolios which we turn into the school at the end of the year. Normally, we do our schooling in the morning...but I got into what I was doing and the kids were busy straightening their rooms and fulfilling their responsibilites. It may have all gotten done sooner, however, we had a few disputes between children here and there...as well as a lil grumbling that had to be corrected. I continue to try and explain to the kids that the more they argue or complain...the longer it takes....the less time they have for fun!

So the morning just flew by quickly. Before we knew it, it was lunch and time to head to my Aunt Wendy's house. My cousin, Meghan, is going to California to do some outreach and mission work for a while...so some of us cousins and aunts were invited to my Aunt Wendy's house for lunch and to hear about Meghan's plans as well as to tell her "good-bye". :) We had a yummy lunch of salad, bread, apples and no-bake cookies (my weakness...yum!). We learned about the outreach Meghan will be participating in and had good conversation. We will be in prayer for her as she tries to spread the love of Christ to those in need! :)

After visiting there for a couple hours, we came home to get our schooling done and for me to finish receipting some taxes and getting a bank deposit ready. After schooling was finished...the kids were antsy to get some playing done, outside. It's chilly and overcast today..but luckily, no rain, so out the kiddos went. A while later, Madelyn wanted to show me a sign she made for me, for when people come to the house to pay their taxes (most people mail them, but some prefer to pay them in person).

Hehehe...isn't the sign cute?? She did such a good job with it and was so proud of herself! She nailed it together and told me how lucky I was that she loved me so much....because nailing that wood together was "really hard"!!! :) I must agree....I am a *very* lucky mama! :)

(Notice...ugly fence in background. Blech. Our neighbors, as nice and kind as they are, have that up. I would love to have a cuter fence up...but fence can be so expensive! We have a lovely privacy fence up on some of our property line...but need to still get more. For now, trees line it and more are growing. I think a nice tree property line would look much better than the ugly fence!But if the neighbors have it on *their* side...not much else we can do about it, for now!)

Soon after Madelyn showed me *her* creation, X came over and had one too. At first, I thought he had nailed together a big X, for his nickname. But, he shook his head and told me it was Jesus' cross. If you look closely, he used a red marker to put "blood" on it too...and he even put nails where his hands/wrists would have been. In a way, it may seem gory to some folks....but I know that isn't what Xavier's intentions are. He has a soft spot in his heart for the crucifixion. He asks about it a lot and why Jesus had to do it and such. It always makes for good teaching/learning moments with him. Crosses are a common thing for people to see...and even pictures of Jesus dieing on the cross...and I think X's wonder about it is a good thing. :) (You can sorta see X's shirt...it says "My God is BIG BIG BIG, His love is WIDE WIDE WIDE......"...pretty appropriate for what he made, isn't it? ;)

So now, I must get supper started and hopefully work on some knitting. It's almost 5pm already and I feel like the day has gone by in a blur! I hope you are all having an enjoyable Monday. We had the first two nights of our Easter Passion Play this weekend and it went well! I have pictures and things to share about that sometime soon! We have the next two nights of the play this Friday and Saturday night! :) I pray hearts are touched and lives are changed through the message of Jesus' love!
Thanks so much for coming by. I know everyone is busy...and I do appreciate you taking the time out of your day to stop by, rest and read of my sweet family. I also appreciate the thoughts you share with me! Thank you! :) Until next time.....

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Howdy Pard-ner!

Yesterday, my mom asked if Xavier could have a sleepover at her house and then go horseback riding on her horses today. I was fine with that...and once Xavier found out he would be going riding...he ran upstairs and put on his cowboy hat, belt and cowboy boots!!! hehehe...! Isn't he *c*u*t*e*??? :)

And...my mom found this adorable prairie dress for Madelyn on ebay, I think! Isn't it soo cute? I think we may find a pattern and sew some ourselves as well! :)

And below is a thrift shop find! :) Isn't it neat? It's made to look like an old fashioned phone....except it is missing the front box where you talk into it. The kids love to play with it and they just talk into the hole on the wooden post!

In other news....I have spent a lot of time in tears the past couple days...our australian shepherd, Mollie, whom we have had since she was a pup, wasn't doing too well. She was 10 years old (in people years). She was eating...but she lost too much weight everywhere...except her belly...which got big and hard. We couldn't afford to go through tests and X-rays with the vet...especially with her being 10....so we had to have her put down. She was a great dog and we loved her so much. She will definitely be missed in our family!

Tonight is the first night of our church's Easter Passion Play. I pray it all goes well!!! :) God has blessed us every year with a great audience and I pray that lives will be touched...and that people will be reminded of what Jesus did for us...and his incredible, selfless love! Locals...if you are in the area and want to attend...throw me an email (left sidebar) and I will let you know time and place!

Thank you for visiting. :) I *do* appreciate it!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Weigh Down!!!

So....over the years..I have been a yo-yo dieter. I would do really well...then gain the weight back, plus some. I felt like a failure and as my relationship has grown with the Lord...I desire to be the best I *can* be. I have even told my mom before, that I feel I serve God in every area of my life except with food/eating/my weight. That made me feel so horrible. I want to fully serve God in every area. After reading scripture about temptations....such as:

When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
~James 1:13-15 (emphasis mine)

...I truly feel that over-eating is sinful. Just like excessive alcohol drinking is....eating too much is bad for your body. God designed us a certain way....and carrying around too much excessive weight isn't good.

My mom had lent me, years ago, the book The Weigh Down Diet by Gwen Shamblin. I have read it before and set it aside. I like what she said...but my sinful self wanted to continue to over indulge myself. But I am truly at the point in my life that I have been broken. Not because I am completely obsessed about losing weight...but because I am sad and heartbroken that I am sinning in this way. I strive to live a life pleasing to our Creator....but I have been failing in how much I eat. So I am now re-reading the Weigh Down Diet and am turning all of my focus on Him...and have already repented and am implementing the methods in the Weigh Down Diet.

I must say...the Weigh Down Diet really isn't a diet. It's about filling your heart and life with God and watching portions. No crazy foods or counting calories. Just relying on your hunger to guide you. :) If you have weight to lose...and feel that in over-eating you have been living with that sin and are ready to let go...I invite you to join me in this! Let's gratify God and not ourselves! :) I encourage you to read HERE about the Weigh Down approach. :)

I would love to hear your thoughts about this and any encouragement and prayers are always appreciated!!! :) If you are joining me on this faith-filled walk for a lifetime....let's hold each other accountable and support each other! :) OK?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pizza, Rootbeer Floats & Pilgrim's Progress

Sunday night, we had a fun family night! The kids and I made some homemade pizza together....

It took a little longer than it usually would to make a pizza...but they had fun and enjoyed helping...so that is what is important! :)

Spreading the dough on the baking sheets was a bit of an adventure...hehe!

I think putting on the toppings was their favorite part! It sure seems that Xavier likes pepperoni...doesn't it? :)

While the pizzas baked...we made some rootbeer floats.

While at the store...I didn't remember that we needed straws...because it is my opinion that rootbeer floats are best drank with straws! But we just made do without them. :)

When the pizza was done...we served it up to eat! :) Chris and I both agreed that they did a great job making them! It was deeee-licious! :)

After supper, we decided to play a new game we had received in the mail from a TOS Crew Giveaway I had won. It's a game called Pilgrim's Progress! Jaxson and I were on a team and Chris and X were on a team (you don't have to have teams to play...but sometimes it is easier for us to play a game with the boys and us on teams so everyone can be involved.). Madelyn played individually. :)

We had a lot of fun! Chris and X won the game by getting to the Celestial City first! :)

Spending time together as a family is such a blessing. I truly enjoy that time...as I know Chris and the kids do, as well! Doing family devotions together, reading together, watching a movie together, playing outside together....all things we really enjoy. Sometimes days get busy and I believe it is important to set aside quality time together. How are some ways you spend time as a family?? :)

***Our church's Easter Passion Play is coming up this weekend and next. There are 4 nights of shows...this Saturday and Sunday...then next Friday and Saturday before Easter. We usually have 300+ watching the play per show! :) It is a major ministry outreach for our church! :) I am in charge of the nursery for those 4 nights! :) So, we will be super busy these next two weekends! Please pray for the performances to go well and for lives to be touched. If even *one* person decides to accept Christ from these shows...then every practice and all the work is worth it!***

Thanks for visiting! Hope you are having a great week! :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Porch Decorating

On Saturday...I was looking in our shed and found a treasure! Look at that old wooden shelf I found! Isn't it fantastic??? I just love it! I hope to plant flowers in crocks and put them on and around it! I still *really* want to find a really cool old chair to put on the other side of the porch too. I just love old chairs! You know...the ones you can't really *sit* on because they are too old...but they look really great?? :o)

And see the little wooden bear beside it on the porch? Jake, a friend from high school, made that. He does chainsaw wood carving! He makes all kinds of things!!! :)

It's raining today. I am moving at about snail-speed! After previous days of beautiful weather and getting lots accomplished...today I have slowed down. I hope to spend some time reading and knitting, reading with the kids, doing some housework and just move s-l-o-w-l-y! We had a great family night, last evening and I took pics and will be happy to post about it soon! :)

I also have a new header! What do you think? :)
Thank you for taking the time to visit today. I truly appreciate it! I hope you have a great Monday...rain or shine! :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Kids' Rooms!

The boys' room. Notice I had started doing some painting on the left side of the room at one point. I love that blue color. I was trying to make it look like sky and was going to paint clouds etc.....but never quite made it that far. A project for another time, perhaps! :)

Xavier's side is in the pic above and Jaxson's side is in the pic below. The boys pulled their own covers up when making their beds...so the sides aren't *even*...but they did their best and I am happy with that! :) Their room is nothing out of a magazine...but it's simple and works for them! Hopefully someday I can make it more fun and fancier for them! :) **The boys are now in one room and we changed Jaxson's old bedroom into a playroom...so toys and all had a central place to go! :)

Madelyn and I did some rearranging in her room as well as some cleaning. We filled a huge bag full of things to donate to Goodwill and got alot cleaned. She still have a lot of *knick-knacks*. It kinda drives me bonkers...but they are lil things she loves and I just deal with it! :)

Notice the windows in her room...and the boys room...and the playroom are all older windows. They are the only ones left in the house that we need to replace. We are hoping we can do that this year as Chris finishes the siding...but we will have to check prices and see what we can afford!

For those who are newer to my blog...we did Madelyn's room in a Mary Engelbreit theme. I love Mary E. stuff. It's so bright and cheerful! My mom and I painted her room! :) Those are more of her *things* on her dresser. Not exactly beautifully decorated....but decorated to suit her needs at age 8 1/2. :) And that is what matters most! :)

I also worked on doing some more organizing and labeling in the schoolroom.....

I had the cupboard shown above in the laundry room...but I cleaned it out and decided to use it to do more organizing in the schoolroom! Below is a pic from inside....X's school stuff, Jaxson's school stuff, and my tax stuff! **The shelves are bowed but I bought the cupboard that way....I bought it at a country store! I think it's a great old cupboard! :)

Some labeling of some binders that hold Mary E.'s Home Companion Magazines (which are no longer published) and Scrapbooks Etc. Magazines.....

And on some boxes that hold some craft stuff and some Stampin' Up stuff that I have.....

It has been a busy weekend! Cleaning and organizing...outside enjoying some beautiful spring weather...visiting with friends and then today was church! This evening we are going to spend some good family time by making pizzas and root beer floats together and playing Pilgrim's Progress (a game I won previously from The Olde Schoolhouse Crew). It's going to be a fun evening so I best skeedaddle so I don't waste it on the computer! :) Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Egg Production Begins Again!

After a long winter *strike*, the girls are finally laying again!!! :) It seems that when temps are too cold...or they even *smell* snow in the air...they go on strike and refuse to lay any eggs! I am so thrilled to have fresh eggs again!!! :)

Also, I finished another square in the afghan I am knitting for my sister and her husband. That is five total so far, out of 20. :) It's the first time I have ever cabled in my knitting! :) I love the look of cables and am so excited that I, now, know how to make them! :)

Below is a picture of the five squares I have knitted so far for the afghan. It's obviously not sewn together, yet. :) But I will be making four rows of five squares lined up like this and all sewn together! :) It will be the first official afghan I have ever made! :o)

I have been fighting a cold the past few days. But, oh, I must tell you about my sweet friend, Kelly. We go to church together and have become really good friends over the past few years. Yesterday, around lunch time, I was sitting, sneezing and planning some schoolwork for the kids for next week and the phone rang. It was Kelly...telling me she was on her way to my house with lunch for me and the kids! She dropped off some KFC, *pulp-free* OJ (my favorite!), PUFFS tissues, cough drops, hand sanitizer and paper plates (so I didn't have to do dishes)!!! Wasn't that incredibly kind and thoughtful? I was so thankful and humbled by her kindness!!! I am so blessed that God has given me such wonderful friends!!!

Today, although still stuffed up and sniffle-y, I am feeling like I can actually function! I have clothes out on the line, blowing in the breeze. I made meatloaf, meatballs and hamburger patties and put them all in the freezer for suppers later next week. Madelyn and I have been working on rearranging her room and cleaning it out. (How does an 8 year old accumulate so much *stuff*?) I've been scrubbing bathrooms, changing trashes, checking schoolwork and doing laundry. I have some laundry to fold and some dishes to do here, soon. :) How is your day going?

Well, off I go. Still hoping for a sponsor! :) I will be sure to share if I get one...after I finish jumping up and down and squealing with delight. ;) And one last thing....sharing a verse I have written on the chalkboard vinyl I have on my fridge...it's a beautiful verse and I like reading it everytime I walk through the kitchen! :)

(Sorry some of it is cut off a bit! ;) I hope you have a fantastic weekend ahead!!! Thank you for taking the time to visit! I always enjoy reading your thoughts in your emails and comments! :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Blue Skies + Lots of Sunshine =

...A Beautiful Day Spent Outside!

Spring is just beginning here in Pennsylvania. The trees are still bare and the grass is still a drab brown/green color. After months of being cozied up in the house due to cold temps and lots of snow....the kids (and I) were anxious to be outside. As it started to warm a bit...we had rain for a few days. The only plus to that was that it helped the snow dissappear quicker! :)

Yesterday, though, turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day (as today seems to be as well!). The skies were blue and the sun shone brightly and although it was still a bit chilly out....in the sunshine~it was the perfect temp! After finishing their responsibilities and schoolwork...the kids were outside in a flash!

I, too, took advantage of the nice weather and decided to take the flannel sheets off my bed! I put on regular sheets and washed the flannel sheets. I hung them out on the line, to be folded and put away until the brisk days of fall arrive once again.

"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." ~ Margaret Atwood

The boys have been waiting all winter to get back out in their *dirt pile*. This is where they play with cars, trucks and diggers. Although to you and me, it looks like a mess....to them, it is little boy *heaven*! I love seeing how they line cars up in a row. When my boys started this with cars when they were younger, I thought it so curious! However, I have seen my nephews and other little boys do this as well over the years! It must be ingrained in little boys while growing and changing in their mother's womb!

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.
~Psalm 139:13-16 (emphasis mine)

The kids had fun playing out on the basketball court and swings, between our house and our neighbors. (That is our neighbor's house in the background of the pick above and below.) We were blessed with such kind and generous neighbors. They allow (and even encourage) my kiddos to use the basketball court and play equipment! In the summer, we are welcome to use their pool at any time through the summer, as well. Aren't we incredibly blessed? Their daughters have grown and they like to know that everything still gets good use.

Look at how wonderful God made the human body! The kids flip and flop and swing! In the picture below ~ Jaxson got on that bar by himself and pulled his legs up and through! Think of the muscles and flexibility that little guy has!

The girls enjoyed a snack. Can you tell they are all eating happily!? All butts in the air! ;)

Madelyn enjoyed riding her bike around too, yesterday. X's bike is broken....I think it is a problem with the chain. Chris will fix it and X will be riding all over! That boy was riding on two wheels when he was just newly 4! He was born to ride a bicycle!!! :)

We had egg salad sandwiches for lunch and after everyone was finished....we went for a walk! :) It was so nice to be out in the breeze and sunshine! When we got back....the kids made this lil camp....

They made that *pretend* firepit all by themselves!!! (This is all right next to the house!) I thought it was so cute! :) It won't be able to stay there forever...but I thought it will be fun for them to play with their lil campsite for a few days. Although, I told them that they can't put a real fire in their lil pit. Xavier reassured me "No, mom...it's just preteeend!" ;)

So, today looks like another absolutely gorgeous day....and unfortunately, I seem to have caught the cold that Madelyn had. I would love to be able to cozy up in my chair with a quilt, my knitting and a good book. But...today is grocery day...so after schooling...I need to go do that. I should have made my 2 week food menu and grocery list yesterday, but alas, I didn't. So I will need to do that today as well. Maybe the sunshine will help my cold!?! :)

I hope you are enjoying gorgeous weather where you are! :) Thanks for visiting!!!!

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.
~Psalm 139:17-18

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Responsibility Cards

When I read the Duggars book: 20 and Counting...I came across a place where they mentioned that they use the chore packs from the Maxwell's. Although the Duggars call their chores "jurisdictions". I like how they used a different name for chores. The word chore just sounds tedious!
I talked to Chris about the chore packs and we were going to discuss them more at some point as to determine if we would purchase them to implement in our family. I don't know *exactly* how they do the chore packs.....*but* when I was at Walmart this past weekend, picking up a prescription, I walked through the art/school supplies section and noticed the colored notecards first. Then my eye caught onto the little wrist keychains. Then...when I turned around, I found the rings that clip. The wheels in my head began turning......

and *tada*! I made my own little *responsibility cards*! It all cost me less than $5 to make! Each of the kids have some responsibilities that they need to accomplish such as reminders to brush their teeth, make their beds, feed the dogs and clean around their school desks before schooling starts for the day.

Then each of them have a few extra responsibilities all their own....such as Madelyn has to vacuum the schoolroom, living room and dining room daily. X has to wipe down all the wood floors (after I sweep them with the broom). Jaxson has to wipe down each of the dining room chairs.

To earn any priviledges for the day...they *must* accomplish each of their responsibilities. :)

We've only implemented this for a few days....but so far, so good! :) I'm hoping this will be a good thing implemented into our family! One thing I would like to do is to laminate the cards so they aren't as likely to get beat up too quickly!

How do you handle chores in your home? Have/Do any of you use the Maxwell's Chore Packs? Luckily, I can easily make a new card to change or add responsibilities as needed. :) Hopefully this method will work well for us!