So glad you came to visit today! Here at my little corner of bloggy world I share a little bit about everything--family, parenting, goals, struggles, photography, recipes, n more! So curl up with a cup of hot tea {or not} and feel free to peruse around my site! Check out my sidebar for links. And come back again!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer evening sun.

There was a beautiful haze over the ground last evening and the sun was perfect, so I thought I'd go out with my camera and experiment trying to catch some sun flare. Click pictures to view larger.

I started to edit out the power lines here, but it was really blotchy there in the grass, so I had to go back to the original. Here's what it COULD be...

slightly different angle. I love the water pump in this one.

Which photo is your favorite?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Recipe: Curried Chicken Divan

I don't really know if this is a standard recipe or not. This is the one my mom always used when I was growing up and the one I choose still today because I just love it and the kids do too!

Curried Chicken Divan

1 1/4 cup rice, cooked
1 pkg (10oz) frozen broccoli florets, cooked
1 1/2 c. cooked chicken
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese + some for the top
1/2 tsp curry powder

Put cooked rice in the bottom of baking dish. Then lay broccoli and chicken. Mix everything else together and cover over broccoli, chicken, and rice. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Yumm...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Activity: Summer Sunshine

Activity idea found HERE.

glue stick
orange and yellow construction paper
little hands
black marker

after I traced hands (folding over the paper so I only had to trace/cut half as many handprints) I sent Eli off to do something else while I cut everything out and got it ready. I traced a circle using a cool whip container and then made small dots where I wanted Eli to glue the yellow handprints
working on the orange hand prints
done so far
now add a cute face, and it's done!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for this moment right. now. I'm with the kids (of course) and we're drinking these delicious peach smoothies while listening to Chris Tomlin. It's sunny and beautiful outside, and after this we're (yes, all of us) going in the pool (yes, a baby pool). I am thankful for this day, this time with my lovely children and the gifts God has given me.

Monday, June 22, 2009

No menu today!

because the kids and I are off to the zoo, this time with grandma and grandpa! Excited for a fun day!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

One great dad

This man works hard all day and then comes home to yet a full evening with the family. He fixes everything around the house, squashes bugs, and does all the yard work. And even amidst all that he still finds time to be a great dad. He is super involved in their lives, always has been, and anyone can see how much he just loves and adores these two beautiful babies. He is a strong man and I am so grateful to have him by my side. HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I am thankful for my children. Life would be so quiet and boring without them. And they sure are cute and lovable.

I am thankful for air conditioning. We don't have central air and only had one window unit, downstairs, but yesterday Hubby put in two units for upstairs, and it is sooo much nicer! As much as I LOVE just having windows open, it's starting to get a bit too hot for that these days. (low 90s!) I am thankful my husband is the handy man he is.

I am thankful for music. I don't play it much because it's often too much noise to have music playing and toys going off at the same time. But this morning I've been playing my music, and it's so nice.

I am thankful for quiet time. The kids played peacefully on blanket time for FOREVER this morning, and it was sooo nice!

I am thankful for my husband's job. Honestly, so much of life comes from that. Food, house, clothes, fun things, etc.

I am thankful for fresh fruit. I just love it!

I am thankful for our weather radio. Since we live in the country now and away from tornado sirens, I really wanted to make sure we had something to alert us at the house, especially for nights when I'm home alone with the kids. We've had a lot of severe weather in the area lately, and it makes me feel safe to know we have a way to hear news. Even if it means listening to alerts go off all through the night, or all afternoon like yesterday, for an area 2 or more hours away. I'd rather hear all that than not hear anything. Safety is important. I'm also thankful that those alerts are just for weather, and not of my child's heart machine or something much more serious like that. (keep praying for Baby Stellan) And more importantly I am thankful for our Great God that watches over us in all the storms of our life.

What are you thankful for this week??

Monday, June 15, 2009

Craft: Customized Journals.

A friend of mine made me a prayer journal like this back in college, and when I just recently finished filling that journal, I decided to try my hand at making my own. Here is the finished product.

And now here's how to make it....

composition notebook
scrap of fabric

piece of ribbon

hot glue gun

The fabric is cut to size. I realized the black of the notebook was still going to show through the fabric, so I just taped on some paper to the covers. Cut slits in the fabric where the binding of the notebook is. Then open up the notebook and wrap the fabric (like a present) to the cover, gluing the edges of the fabric with a hot glue gun. I didn't have a hot glue gun but when I asked my mom to borrow hers, she ended up just buying me one for only $3 or 4. It held pretty well, as long as you get it stuck down quickly while the glue is nice and hot.
This is what it looks like on the inside once the fabric is all glued. Not the prettiest, but that doesn't bother me even a little bit.
Outside view of the journal so far.
Now for ribbon to pretty it up even more! Cut your ribbon the length you want it to wrap around your journal and tie.
Then glue it. Remember not to put glue on the part that ties. But if you did get a little bit on that part, just let the glue dry and then pull it off carefully. Not that I would know from experience or anything, certainly not! But there she is! Aint she purty!Great gift idea, don't you think?
You could definitely do a lot more with this if you wanted. Heck, you could even SEW stuff onto the fabric before you glue it on, but that's just really not my thing. I prefer to keep it simple.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Breakthrough with potty training!!

FINALLY I had a breakthrough with Eli on the potty today!! Go read about it here at our family blog!

Disciplining your children

Forget my posts here. Follow blog posts HERE, as they're covering the same topic!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Teaching honor to your children (part 1)

#1 Teach children to treat people as special
#2 Teach children to do more than what's expected

#3 Deal with a bad attitude.

#4 Create honor lessons in life.

#5 Model it.

#6 Appeal to the conscience.

Those are the honor lessons listed in the book Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes...in you and your kids, and here are some of the new things we're trying. Already I can see a HUGE change in Eli!

When he acts out--angry, hitting, disobeying--we set Eli in timeout until he changes his attitude. If he's sitting in timeout and is hitting the wall or yelling, I'm usually tempted to discipline him for that even though he's already in timeout, but instead I tell him that his actions are showing me that he's still angry and he needs to sit there longer. When he's finally quiet I tell him to get up and say he's sorry. A lot of times he says sorry on his own and at random times throughout the day too for something that happened earlier or a long time ago. And if he's kind of whining when he's saying he's sorry then I tell him that his tone of voice doesn't show me that he means it. "It's been said that only about 10 percent of a message comes from the words themselves. By contrast, 35 percent of the meaning comes from tone of voice, and 55 percent comes from nonverbal cues, such as gesture, posture, and facial expression." (81) "Simple observations of nonverbal cues can open the doors for clarification and discussion to take place." (82) Examples: Because your arms are crossed like that, I'm getting the sense that you're upset about something. Is that right? OR Your intense tone of voice leads me to believe that you're angry. I don't think you are right now, but your loud voice makes me feel like you're yelling at me. (82,83)

If he's fussing or whining, I tell Eli that "I don't listen to whining. Find a more honoring/nicer way to say it." I kind of interchange the word "honor" and "nicer". Trying to introduce what honor means but at the same time keeping it in terms that Eli understands.

Sometimes before Kevin comes home from work, I try to think of a way we can honor him together. The other day I said to the kids, "Let show daddy we honor him and think he's special by making him a treat. This is just for daddy!" So we made him a banana milkshake, and Eli was so excited to give it to him when he got home.

You can ask your child set the table for you and then do something special to surprise you. Maybe he'll fold the napkins special. It encourages the child to think of something on his own to bless another person.

We went to the park the other day, and before we got out of the van I went over the rules of no fussing when it's time to leave. I told Eli that I was being nice by letting him play, and he could be nice by not fussing. When it came time to leave, he started to resist, but then I reminded him of this and we actually left the park in peace! And that in itself is AMAZING!

A big part of teaching honor is teaching your children how to communicate effectively. "Don't just point out a bad attitude. Give healthy alternatives." (53) This idea has taken pressure off of me. Instead of feeling like I have to discipline for all wrong behavior. I can simply use it as a time to teach proper communication. So that's where I'll pick up tomorrow.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Respect and obedience vs. Honor

Before in our parenting we'd tried really hard to teach and demand obedience from our children. We followed the guidelines in Shepherding a Child's Heart of what obedience required: respond right away, 100%, with a good attitude. (something like that, I don't have the book right now to double-check). But now that I've started reading Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes...in you and your kids! I'm learning the value of honor that goes far beyond obedience. Take a look at the difference between respect/obedience and honor.

"Respect is outward, focusing on a person's position or on the power of an office. People respect police officers or judges because of their authoritative position. When only respect is emphasized in family life, it leads to outer conformity, false intimacy, and eventually, distant relationships." (Turansky, 18)

Honor is the ability to value others for who they are. (20) The criteria for honor are these three: treating people as special, doing more than what's expected, and having a good attitude.

"When children develop obedience, they learn to do a task without being reminded. They learn how to report back, do work they might rather not do, follow directions, and complete a job without being watched. They learn responsibility, a willingness to serve, and faithfulness to do a good job." (26)

"Honor also has several skills hidden within it. Having a good attitude, doing more than what's expected, seeing what needs to be done and doing it without being asked, encouraging others, and contributing to a nurturing atmosphere--all are learned through honor."

"Obedience does not have to hinge on understanding why." (33)

"Honor thinks of what would please someone else and gives more than is expected. It's putting someone else's needs above your own. Honor values others in tangible ways. (10)

"Obedience does things well. Honor does them beautifully." (50)

Obedience is important too, but there's more to it than that. Life is about learning to honor each other, whether in marriage or parenting. Just imagine how beautiful life could be if we all treated people as special, showed appreciation, and did more than what was expected. So think about that for today, and I'll be back soon with details on how we can show and teach honor to our children.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Can you guess what this is?

Might be easy for those of you who know me, but for those of you who don't, give it a whirl!

ALRIGHT, Here's a big clue:
Okay, the answer: reflection in the bell of my French horn.

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 33:20

“We wait in hope for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.”

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Just bragging on my boy!

Okay, so maybe, not bragging, because you know, that wouldn't be nice. But I sure am proud of Eli! Yesterday at Pamida (yes, that store still does exist in small towns such as ours) I found a big preschool workbook for only $4. While I know something like most of the pages could be found and printed free online, it sure is easier to do it this way. AND all the pages will be together so Eli can go back and see his work. The printed pages usually just get thrown away over time. So anyway, we did a couple pages yesterday, and I'm just so happy with his work! Lines are no problem for him, so we gave a shot at these. I thought the frog page would be overwhelming for him but he actually did really well! We didn't have time for coloring, but we did do the tracing part of it. Check it out!
Side note, Eli could not get the instruction of just tracing on the dotted part and not the solid line. (like half of a circle would be dotted and half would be solid and he's supposed only trace part of it) He can be really dense sometimes. Is this concept actually that tricky or is there more I can do to help him understand? I tried having him trace his finger on only the part he was supposed to trace, and absolutely nothing got through! I just know that a big part of these activities is teaching the child to follow instruction. And when he doesn't, I don't want to just quickly dismiss it. Any suggestions, or should I not even worry about it?

Friday, June 5, 2009


New parenting tricks.

In my attempts to be more calm and to avoid spanking lately, we've been trying some new approaches to normal challenges.

#1 Challenge: Mealtime
A lot of times there's something on the menu, usually meat, that we have a hard time getting Eli to eat. I try not to push eating too much, in case there's ever a time when they're honestly just not feeling well and we don't know it. Overall, it's you eat or you don't get anything. And usually we save the fruit item for last, as a sort of dessert. Well, before, we'd try to say eat all of your meat/veggies and then you can have some fruit. It was tedious, Eli would continue to ask for the fruit, etc. Yeah, yeah, there's probably some discipline in that itself, but sometimes it's just easier to use a different approach. And for us that new approach is this: one bite of meat=one bite of fruit, one bite of meat=one bite of fruit. If Eli doesn't want to eat all of his meat, I don't really want him to not get any fruit because the fruit's important too. Sometimes we've tried telling him, "Eat 3 more bites of meat. Then you can have fruit." But this new approach usually gets him to clean all of his plate and is working much better. And the alternating bites is a good opportunity to talk about having a balanced diet. So anyway, that's our first challenge tackled.

#2 Challenge: Naptime/Bedtime
Overall Eli does very good going down for naptime and bedtime. He doesn't typically cry or fuss too much. If he does it's because something's out of order, and that can be a bit irritating until everything's just right. Usually, however, the problem is that Eli talks. He talks from the second he wakes in the morning to the second he drifts off to sleep at night. It's always something. Well, when I put him down for sleep, I expect him to be quiet. Because especially at naptime, if I let him just go, he could probably continue to sit there talking/playing on his bed for the entire duration of nap. (This does happen sometime if I realize I had forgotten to turn the monitor on.) We'd usually go in, spank him, and remind him to be quiet. And sometimes it would take several tries, growing frustration, and a lot of wasted minutes before finally reaching the desired goal. Well, now that we're doing away with spanking, I'm trying this new approach: When I put him down for nap/bed I tell him it's time to be quiet now. Have a good nap, I love you, etc. Afterwards if I hear him talking still, I go in and take his quilt, blankies, bear, and pillow away, calmly telling him to let me know when he's ready to be quiet and take his nap, and I'll bring his blankies and pillow back. In the meantime stay on your bed. Then I leave and close the door behind me. He doesn't usually react at all until the door clasps shut, and then the WAILING begins as he screams "I want my blankies back right now!" I give him a few minutes, hoping he'll remember that he has to ask nicely, but he usually doesn't. Then I go in and remind him that I won't give them back when he's screaming at me, he needs to ask nicely. Then he stops crying, and asks me sweetly, "May I have my blankies back please?" I ask him if he's ready to be quiet and take his nap, he says "Yes", and I return the blankies and pillow and bear and quilt, tuck him back in, tell him that I'm glad he decided to take a nap, and say I love you and as I'm walking to the door he says "I love you" to me. Ahh, now that was a good discipline. And then he stays quiet. And that was that. After one try instead of three or four and leaving the room still in peace. I've tried this three times now, and it's worked every time. Hopefully soon he'll just get the idea and be quiet in the first place. This situation has been so much easier to stay calm for me than for me to spank him, and I'm happy to have found a new approach. This idea, by the way, was taken from here. If this is a problem for you too, I hope this idea can help!


Well, my book about whining and complaining arrived yeserday and I'll be sharing more soon about the difference between obedience/respect vs honor. I can't wait to continue reading! But for now I need to go pick up sticks and toys in the yard so Kevin can mow later today!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thankful Thursday

"Count your many blessings, name them one by one.
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done."
Johnson Oatman, Jr

Whew, it's been awhile since I've done this! But it's such a good practice really, so I'm back to it this week!

* I am thankful that we got to go to Minnesota last weekend to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday with all of Kevin's family. It was such a great visit, short and sweet!

* I am thankful that Kevin and I finally got to watch the movie Fireproof (it was a looong wait on Netflix). That and several other things I've come across this week have been very encouraging to our marriage.

* I am thankful for possibilities.

* I am thankful that my husband is such a good bug catcher. We sort of have an infestation of a certain big bug, so I am very glad he can take care of them for me!

* I am thankful for Eli's sweetness and quick forgiveness.

* I am thankful for Hannah's smiles and overall happiness.

* I am thankful that my children are friends to each other.

* I am thankful for our home.

* I am thankful for sunny days between the rain.

* I am thankful for the rain to water the garden.

* I am thankful for 4:00 each afternoon, when Kevin gets home from work. Hannah and I wait out on the porch and go out to greet him when he drives up the lane.

* I am thankful that Kevin was with us when we got a flat tire last weekend. I could not have done it on my own!

* I am thankful for Kevin's job and all that it provides for our family. I am thankful that Kevin has the option of choosing overtime each week, so we can afford expensive "extras" (crazy expensive car registrations, air conditioning units, new van tires).

* I am thankful for our bunny friends we have in our yard. (as long as they don't get the garden! we need to finish getting our fence up!)

* I am thankful for fresh starts each morning.

What are you thankful for this week? Join us at Women Taking a Stand.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A necessary part of our day.

Besides Bible time and being filled with God's peace of course. This is a new routine I started last week, and I gotta say, I'm really loving it! Hannah recently started just taking an afternoon nap. Before that I'd do "school" with Eli while she napped. Then when we quit morning nap, I'd set up blanket time for Hannah and I'd do "school" with Eli while Hannah played on the blanket. Well, I've kind of been skipping school time lately (why pressure myself? Eli's still a little kid!) and instead I've been having the kids do a sort of blanket time at the same time. So for about 30-40 minutes Hannah does blanket time in our sitting room and Eli does room time in the play room. They're doing it right now as I type this, and the quiet, peaceful playing is glorious! I see how it's very good for them to have some time to play apart from each other, because they're otherwise inseparable! To be able to play without the constant struggle over who has what toy, or having to be gentle, etc. It's just a really nice break in the day. And while they do that, I have time to do whatever's most needed--housework, read the Bible, or a little of both. It's amazing.It was really hot yesterday so Eli was just in his diaper.Hannah's on the right and Eli's in the back room on the left.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Orange-Banana Smoothie

I made up this recipe last week after I'd served our family a scrappy dinner and I wanted to offer them something delicious. We had a couple bananas needing to be eaten before we left town and we happened to still have orange juice in the fridge from something else. Turned out really delicious for being basic ingredients!

Orange-Banana Smoothie

1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup milk
1 banana
1/4 cup sugar
splash of vanilla
8 ice cubes

Blend in blender.

Monday Meanderings

Bible Study
Contagious Joy

Husband Encouragement
pray for him

Train Them Up
new discipline

Personal Goal
* keep a daily food log for the week
* work out once (starting with manageable goals here)

Must Do
* Spring cleaning! I failed to get it done before the end of May. There are just a few things left if I can really focus to get it done.
* Clean out the van, again. Every time we go on a trip we come with the van a disaster zone!

White shed.

Menu--after being gone the whole weekend and eating a lot of junk food and heavy meals, this week I think Kevin and I both just want to eat healthy again! That's healthy compared to our norm, may still not be healthy compared to what many of you are used to, but at least it's a start. For me that means trying to use lean meat or no meat, little pasta, less cheese, and more fresh produce instead of canned. I'm excited to try a lot of new recipes this week! Wednesday and Thursday look like our only days of no rain, so we'll be grilling those days!

Monday - salads with diced ham n toppings (ham is leftover from last week)
Tuesday - black bean chili, pears
Wednesday - turkey burgers, roasted potatoes, grapes
Thursday - grilled chicken, Mexican bean salad, oranges
Friday - BLT/turkey panini, carrots, apple
Saturday - pork chops, cheesy vegetable risotto, applesauce
Sunday - TBD, because I absolutely cannot come up with one more meal at the moment

dessert: chocolate ricotta muffins

Fun Things

* Just a normal week this week, but if we get a day without much rain I want to take the family to a local bike path that follows along the river from town to town to town. I really miss getting out for walks, so I'm trying get some options together of places to go once or twice a week--where to park if we go to town to walk, or other trails. I'm thinking this bike trail might even be the place I might try Goal #6 this summer.