Thursday, September 22, 2011

Digging Deep in God's Word Giveaway

In lieu of the Cindy Colley "Digging Deep" study I mentioned here, I thought it would be fun to give away the corresponding 3 book series to one lucky reader ;-) These books are great for both individual and group study for women with great real-life application.

Here is a description of each of the three books:
Women of the Genesis by Cindy Colley 
"There is nothing new under the sun! Timely lessons about your marriage, your morality, and your mission taken from ancient women in the Old Testament book of Genesis. You will be surprised at how often you see yourself in the lives of women like Sarah, Rachel, and maybe even Potiphar’s wife. This book gets practical and to the point for Christian women today."
Women of Deliverance by Cindy Colley
"The popular sequel to Women of the Genesis. Women of Deliverance finds the thread of redemption even in the lives of Old Testament women. See life changing experiences in the lives of Rahab and Zipporah and learn to avoid the mistakes of Miriam and Potiphar’s wife when godly men got in the way of their ambitions. Find encouragement, inspiration, and motivation to be the woman God wants you to be. "
Women of Troubled Times by Cindy Colley
"Women of Troubled Times makes even the most obscure women of the Judges come alive at a time when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” How does this relate to our times? How can these lessons be powerful motivators throughout the week when the devil is doing his best to get us off track?" 

Here are the rules:

  • Up to 3 entries per person.
  • Leave one comment below committing to the year-long Digging Deep challenge that you can find here
  • Share this giveaway with your friends on Facebook. Then, come back and leave me a comment letting me know you did!
  • *Like* this page on Facebook. If you already do, just leave another comment letting me know. 
  • The giveaway will run through the end of this month and the winner will be announced October 1st!

Click here to order a set of the 3 book series.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sensory Tubs

Lately I've been seeing lots of sensory tubs for preschool age kids. I like the idea of them and I know that Ellie would enjoy it but, honestly, I don't want to deal with the mess! We make messes around here all the time without the help of tubs of sand, shells, beans, rice, pebbles, beads, etc. However, a lot of blogs I have been visiting lately are talking about this sensory tub medium:

I didn't even know these water beads existed and had to read the packaging to figure out their true purpose. (I bought mine for a buck at Dollar Tree - have I mentioned how much I love that place?!) They are squishy little balls of water that help keep plants hydrated (I think??). Anyway, I must admit that they are fun to play with. Ellie LOVES when I get them out during our school time and calls them "bubbles." They are pretty slippery and we ended up making a little mess but at least it is just water :)

And, yes, that is a monkey on her back. She insisted on wearing it all day.

 Instead of using a big tub, I just put the water beads in a diaper wipes container and added different shapes for Ellie to identify. I may have to go buy more so we can have a bigger sensory tub and just maybe I'll venture out to try some other sensory mediums. If you are interested in other sensory tub ideas, check them out on Pinterest. 


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Toddler "School" Time

Like I mentioned last week, I'm trying to take time to practice letters and numbers with Ellie. I've found that a lot of moms keep a box, a basket, or multiple bags with activities to keep their toddler busy and help develop fine motor skills, letter recognition, etc. I've incorporated a modest basket for now and it may evolve as we go. I keep it stocked with age appropriate activity books (I lucked out and got these at a garage sale!), crayons for coloring, our frog game, flashcards, counting cards, and our egg carton game.

Here are some noteworthy blogs if you want to get your own toddler supplies together:

Have you noticed my "new" vintage tablecloth? Here it is with my new bowl too. Both are belated birthday gifts from a dear friend.

Love! She knows me well ;-)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mini Makeover Projects

As we get ready to move, I'm trying to finish up a lot of little projects around the house. There are several things that I have painted and still want to paint. The new house has lighter colors and I'm hoping to give it a somewhat cottage/country feel. Here are some recent projects:

There is no "before" picture...sorry. I'm too scatter-brained with moving to think of such things. But do you remember my lovely $3 quilt from Tuesday Morning? I'm so glad it found me :) This chair was really a pain to paint with all the slats. It was black before so I had to put a couple coats of paint on it. I used a sponge brush to get in between the slats. I still wasn't thrilled with how it turned out so I used some leftover white spray paint to give it an all over even coat of paint.

 Then I finished it with this. I'm using this clear finish like crazy on EVERYTHING. It is just a nice protective topcoat to keep the paint from chipping off (which is my main concern with spray paint).

I'm trying to purge a lot of "stuff" that we don't need as I pack - like this picture frame that really doesn't match anything in our house. I was actually walking it to the giveaway pile when I thought, "Hmm...I wonder what that would look like painted white?" And wouldn't you know I had just enough white spray paint left ;-)
(I did sand it down a little even though it isn't real wood. Roughening it up a little = spray paint sticks better = less coats of spray paint = best spray painting advice I've learned.)

I love it now. How can I love something so much that I didn't like at all before? Now if I could just have that kind of foresight more often.

Again, no "before" picture...see comment above. This was a silver frame that also just didn't fit in with the rest of the decor. I would apologize for the poor picture quality but you probably already figured out I took it with my phone while packing a box with the books from this shelf. I'm also wondering if this shelf needs painted but today is not the day.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Super Hero Fort Kit

This weekend we were invited to a birthday party - not just any birthday party, our first boy birthday party - meaning I was completely and utterly at a loss for what to bring as a present. I know princesses, ponies, bows, dresses and....well, that pretty much sums it up! So, I searched Pinterest this week for some good ideas and found an idea for a super hero fort kit.

The birthday boy wasn't quite sure what kind of gift this was but once we got it out and built a fort, all the kids enjoyed it! I wish I would have taken a picture of them all huddled inside the fort :)

I searched at least six different stores for the "supplies" for this kit and let me just save you the trouble - start at Dollar Tree. That store is uh-mazing! I found all kinds of great stuff for Ellie's "school" time and fun crafty stuff for me to play with when the girls are napping.  I don't think I have been to a Dollar Tree since I was in grade school and it has definitely evolved - acrylic paint, packets of felt, pipe cleaners, activity books, baskets, and so much more for just a buck. Seriously, if you haven't been to a Dollar Tree lately, you ought to go check it out (am I the only one that still uses the word "ought"? I actually had to Google how to spell it...).

So here's what I included in my super hero fort kit:

I got the glowsticks from Target's dollar bin section. For several years now they have this specific brand around Halloween so I always stock up. The rope, clamps, flashlight and activity pad are all from my new favorite store a.k.a. Dollar Tree. I couldn't find fitted sheets cheaper than Walmart but you could also check thrift stores. I used a full size sheet but you could also use two twin size sheets.

I put my less than desirable super sewing skills to use by adding eight ties to the fitted sheet. All I did was cut an old t-shirt into strips and then hand stitched them equal distance around the sheet. In hindsight, I should have gotten my sewing machine out instead. I washed the sheet when I was finished sewing and three ties came off! That is how awesome my sewing skills are.

 I decided to sort everything in a basket for easy super hero fort storage.

And then I realized I somehow had to fit that enormous sheet in the basket too.

I used a matching pillowcase to "wrap" up the present and then I scoured the house for something to use to tie it shut. I pretty much only have frou-frou ribbon and then I remembered...

Yes, this is a pair of my old sweatpants. I loved them so much that I wore them even after I got that bleach spot on them and they faded to grey. I finally decided to throw them away a couple months ago but kept thinking surely I could use them for something. I'm planning on cutting them up to use as cloth baby wipes BUT I spy something perfect to finish my gift!

I enjoyed making the tag and just glued it on some matching card stock. I don't know how to include a template link so if you are interested in the template, just comment below and I'll email it to you. If you know how I can upload it on my webpage, let me know!

Here are some blogs with fort kits that inspired me. I hope you'll send me a picture if you do your take on this gift.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Egg cartons

So does anyone else out there in the blogosphere love re-using egg cartons? I use them to hold jewelry, make-up and, currently, baby socks! I love all the little compartments. I just made this numbers practice activity for Ellie and it took less than a minute. Ellie loves it, mostly because she gets to eat Cheerios, but at least she is practicing her numbers ;-)

I thought I would share some other neat ideas I found on Pinterest for re-using egg cartons:

1. I love this idea for organizing sewing materials.
2. Fun egg carton boat to make with the kids
3. Oooh these lights are so pretty!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A, B, C & 1, 2, 3!

For the last month I have been (trying) to set time aside each day to work on numbers and letters with Ellie. I've tried a few different approaches but this week I have been focusing on the letters A, B, and C and the numbers  1, 2, and 3. If you are reading this then you probably know that I have an affinity for upcycling junk - I hate to think of throwing something away that I could use for crafting! Back in this post, I mentioned a Bible game idea for using the plastic caps off milk jugs. I have been saving mine up to make something and decided to use it for practicing Ellie's letters and numbers. 

<<Side note: My husband thinks I'm a little crazy when I tell him not to throw away the milk jugs, juice concentrate, cereal boxes, jars, cans, etcetera, etcetera BUT he is (almost) always impressed after seeing what their second life holds.>>

I just traced the circle shape of the caps on card stock and used a sharpie marker to write the letters and numbers we are practicing. Since Ellie is still grasping this concept, I made one practice card already filled in and another one with spaces that need filled. They are double-sided with numbers on one side and letters on the other. Let me show you a picture...some things are just better explained that way:

I guess I could get all fancy and laminate them since my toddler is a little on the destructive side but by then, we may have a better activity made from more junk ;-)

How to Dig Deep for the Meat of the Word

I've been meaning to get this posted for weeks but the whole house building process has preoccupied a lot of time. Speaking of the house, it is really starting to get exciting. The walls are painted and the floors are done. Ellie has already selected which room she wants and then pointed to another room and said Mommy, Daddy and Hannah Rose could have it ;-) We have been so blessed through this whole process and continue to pray that it goes smoothly. It certainly has had its stressful moments and it has tested Chase and I in our relationship with one another and the girls because patience is running a little low. But in the end I just have to keep it in perspective. It is just a house. In the end, it won't matter if I lived in a cardboard box or a perfect house. It is just a house!

Here are some quick pics to update you on the progress. (Sorry for all the shadows but I took them with my phone and the trees seem to shade the house most of the day...which is a good thing except for picture taking!)

Now that I have that out of the way, let me get back to what I have been meaning to share. I've mentioned Cindy Colley in past posts because she is an inspiration to me and the Titus 2:3-5 example that I want to be. Recently, she shared a year long guide for digging deep into the meat of the word of God. Click here and check it out! Really. I'll wait for you.

Assuming you did go check out her site and aren't being naughty and reading ahead, you know that there are assignments for each month that are meant to help us grow spiritually and really dig deep into the Word. I am committing to this year long program and I encourage you to do the same. There are three study books that are included in the program. You can purchase them at a discounted price here. I've read all three in the past and they would be great books for a ladies' Bible study too. I'm looking forward to re-reading them in the coming months. Comment below or message me on Facebook if you have any questions and please let me know if you are committing to this so that we can hold each other accountable. There is a Facebook group for the challenge and it is a great place to ask questions and discuss what we learn along the way. Please join me!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Meditating on the word of God

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

Over the summer, Chase and I memorized 100 scriptures verses - one for each day of the summer. Prior to this challenge, I had not really done any memory work (except a few verses at church camp as a child!).

Let me just say that it was a HUGE blessing to meditate on these scriptures each day. Having God's Word - His Spirit inside my heart has been awesome. I've learned that memory work is not just for children but even more important as we desire to grow. I have also learned that I don't have to posses super memory power - I am horrible at remembering anything. For me, the key has been to continually meditate on these scriptures throughout the week. I wrote all the verses out on index cards and keep them in my diaper bag so that I can flip through them as I wait at the doctor's office or practice them as a family as we drive to town. I hope that you will take the time, if you are not already, to memorize and really meditate on God's word. I plan on adding more verses this fall and look forward to doing memory work with the girls as they grow.

Here are some resources that might help you get started: