Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Worship Wednesdays - Empty Me

The song I picked for Worship Wednesday is "Empty Me" by Chris Sligh.  If you are an American Idol watcher, you may remember Chris Sligh from a few seasons ago.  No, he didn't win, but like most of the "unwinners", he went on to some success of his own.  In his case, the Christian music side of the world.  I first heard this song several years ago when it first came out and liked it.  Than I figured out - or heard- the story behind it.  He talks about being in the spotlight and how easy it is to stray but than proclaims:

Empty me

Of the selfishness inside
Every vain ambition

And the poison of my pride
And any foolish thing my heart holds to
Lord empty me of me
So i can be
Filled with you

And, really, shouldn't that be the pray that each of us proclaims - that we be emptied of our selfishness?  To be Filled with Christ?

I hope you enjoy song # 1 on my player this week!

Pumpkin Jars

Yesterday I worked on another Halloween craft.  I wanted to use things that I had and came across this idea and really liked it!

Pick out a variety of jars - I just used regular canning jars I had on hand.  You could also search garage sales for some different shaped jars as well and make some cute jars!

I used Press'n Seal to make the stencils for the faces on the jars.  I learned a few things 1) Use VERY sharp scissors to cut the Press'n Seal or it just sticks to the scissors 2) Do NOT stick it to paper and than try to cut out the shapes; once cut out, you will never get the press'n seal off the paper ! 

Put the face shapes where you would like them on the jars.  Make sure and press hard so that it is sealed against the jar.

Spray jars with spray paint (sorry I didn't get a picture of the in process paint job) Once dry, remove the stencils and you have some jack-o-lantern jars.  I did also add some raffia around the lips of the jars to make them more finished.  Plus some tea lights inside :-)  I'm thinking of getting LED T-lights for projects like this so I don't have to worry about the flame.
I can't remember what sight I picked this up from  . . .but isn't it fun?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lesson Plans - 8 Months Week 3 and 4

This is what Nate is working on over the next two weeks. 

Literature (We read the story daily)
Week 1: Go Dog, Go! By P.D. Eastman
Week 2: Daddy Loves Me

Nursery Rhyme (This is printed out and hanging near the changing table - we review it every time we change diapers)

Little Jack Horner
Little Jack Horner sat in a corner,
Eating a Christmas pie.
He put in his thumb and pulled out a plum,
And said "What a good boy am I!"

Poetry (We review this at meal times)

“Block City” By Robert Louis Stevenson

What are you able to build with your blocks?
Castles and palaces, temples and docks.
Rain may keep raining, and others go roam,
But I can be happy and building at home.

Let the sofa be mountains, the carpet be sea,
There I'll establish a city for me:
A kirk and a mill and a palace beside,
And a harbor as well where my vessels may ride.

Great is the palace with pillar and wall,
A sort of a tower on the top of it all,
And steps coming down in an orderly way
To where my toy vessels lie safe in the bay.

This one is sailing and that one is moored:
Hark to the song of the sailors aboard!
And see, on the steps of my palace, the kings
coming and going with presents and things!

Yet as I saw it, I see it again,
The kirk and the palace, the ships and the men,
And as long as I live and where'er I may be,
I'll always remember my town by the sea.

Bible Selections (I am using the Rhyme Bible and read the Bible Rhyme once during the day.  A great place to purchase this Bible is through

Psalms 100:1-5
Week One: “The Shepherds” from The Rhyme Bible
Week Two: “The Wise Men” from The Rhyme Bible

Speech and Vocabulary (At the appropriate time)
Describing: (at bath time) warm water, squeaky duck, white towel, three boats, clean hands, etc

Music (We listen to these CD's all day long)

30 Scripture Songs
Little People Sing Along Favorites
Hymns – 16 Classic Hymns for Children

Baby Game (Whenever I'm holding Nate on my lap, we'll do this little activity)

Ride a Horse
Bounce baby gently on your knee while reciting this rhyme:
Ride a  horse to Banbury Cross
To see a fine lady upon a white horse
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
She shall have music wherever she goes

Sign Language (Just use at the appropriate time)

Teach the sign for BED

Gesture: Place palms together to the side of face and tilt head towards hands as if laying head on a pillow.

Suggested Use: This sign can be used for "good night", "nap-time", "crib", etc. Use this sign when telling a child that it is time for bed. You may find it helpful to say, "Night-night time in five minutes" while signing "five" and "bed". This prepares child for bed-time and gives them a chance to finish their activity before going to bed.

Foreign Language (We will be listening to a Spanish CD but we haven't started this as of yet.)

Exercise (Just daily playing at this point - no real structure.  I do have a couple of books that I'm looking through - I'll post more once I finish them)

Just playing

Film Fridays (This film is the same that Josh gets to watch - If I only had a baby under 1, I probably wouldn't show a video but Nate gets to benefit from his older brother!)
Duke and the Great Pie War (Veggie Tales)
Praise Baby

Monday, September 27, 2010

Creative Memories - What's New!

First, I don't know why this flipped - but Nancy O'Dell has joined with Creative Memories and has created her first line - the Hummingbird Collection.  There are some beautiful coordinating things in this set!

This bag is part of the Hummingbird Collection.  It holds all of the components plus it looks great as an everyday tote

There is a new cutting system that is out as well.  I'm pretty excited about this and I know they will add to it too!

I want two of these bags - one for my laptop and one for my latest projects!

There are some great new Christmas collections out this fall as well as a new Christmas album too! 

Of course there is also some great fall/Halloween papers and stickers as well

Lots of great digital stuff out - Calendars, Cards, and "papers"

I know this is blurry but this is an up close look at the album in the Hummingbird Series.  I really like this and am hoping I can get a couple of them for my 2011 pictures :-)

These things can be found on the Creative Memories Website starting in October.  Feel free to check it out here.  You can also check out the specials and "while supplies last" or clearance sections to get some great deals!  If you place an order, please choose me as your consultant :-) 

Chicken Parmesan

Meals have not gone well the last few days.  Not because they didn't turn out but because I seem to be missing ingredients.  I did find the missing cheese that I couldn't find yesterday but knew I bought . . . lets just say it's not so pretty.  So tonight for dinner, I went on the fly and came up with this - Chicken Parmesan.  I have never made it, never been a big fan of it, but I had chicken and I had spaghetti stuff.  I must say, that turned out F A N T A S T I C!  I could make it again tomorrow!!!   It is actually two recipes combined :-)

Here ya go!
Step 1:
4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
One egg
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tablespoon oil

Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and basil in one shallow bowl.  Put the egg in another bowl and whisk.  Heat up the oil and butter in a pan on medium high heat.   Flatten chicken to 1/4 inch thick.  Dredge through egg and than place in the bread crumbs, covering completely.  Place chicken in oil/butter and heat 3-5 minutes on each side.

Step 2:
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 cups cooked spaghetti

Place the chicken breasts in a 9 x 13 pan.  Pour the spaghetti sauce over the chicken.  Cover with both cheeses.  Cook at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.   Cook spaghetti as directed and place in serving bowl.  Place chicken on top of noodles and add sauce.

So it isn't the prettiest looking dish but it sure was good!

Enjoy :-)

Lesson Plans - 18 months weeks 3 and 4

I was reading another blog the other day and loved - I mean LOVED - how she posted her "Mommy School" plan.  As I read her ideas she is doing with her son (and I'm going to copy them ALL to use with my boys) it dawned on me that someone might actually use all of the ideas that I have been working on to teach my little guys.  I mentioned this curriculum before and it is so great for the 0-2 year old age group.  I plan on actually using it with Josh until the end of the year, since I started late, and am thinking I may try to incorporate this fantastic new idea I just found starting in January.  Why did I pick 18 months to start?  Honestly?  The arts and crafts began in weeks 1 and 2 of the 18 month lessons so I picked up there for that reason. :-) 

So, with my current "Mommy School" we work in two week increments. Maybe you'll use all of this or maybe you'll use none of it :-)  In this post, I'll also give my time frame when I try to do the activities.  I will also do two different posts - one for each of my boys. 

18 Months - lesson 12, weeks 3 and 4 (there are some activities that are the same and carry through both weeks and some things that are done week one and some things that are done week 2)
Week 3:
Literature - "The Mine-O-Saur by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
              I try to read the story Daily - usually in the morning
Bible - Proverbs 18:10 - "The Name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous run to it and are safe"
            I print this out and post it above the changing table.  Than we review it each time we change diapers
Nursery Rhyme - Wynken, Blynken and Nod (find the lyrics here)
            I print this and post it on cardstock.  I keep it near the dining room table so that we can review it daily at meal times
Speech and Vocabulary - Explaining (at bath time) I am washing your nose, ears, etc.
           Obviously, we do this at bath time
Indoor Games - Somersaults - Help your toddler carefully learn how to do somersaults.  Put a soft quilt on the floor and some cushions for extra comfort.
           I try to do this specific activity 2-3 times a week indoors.  I make sure that Darryl knows the weekly plan so he can do some of these things during their regular play time in the evening too.
Music - 30 Scripture Songs, Little People Sing-Along Favorites, and Hymns - 16 Classic Hymns for Children
          In order to keep our TV watching down, I incorporated CD's into our day.  For each two week period I pick out 3 children's CD's and 2 "adult" CD's (meaning MY music!) Than I put the CD player on and let it play through all 5 throughout the day.  I change out the 2 CD's that are mine more often so I don't go insane listening to the same music - which is the same reason I add the two grown-up cd's . . .so I don't go insane listening to kids stuff.
Children's Songs - If Your Happy and You know it
        This is the thing I tend to miss - but I try to sing this throughout the week just whenever
Foreign Languages - Spanish - Green
       I do not speak Spanish but Darryl does some so this is his job :-)  We try to review our flashcard at dinner at night. 
Exercise - Painting with water - use a sand bucket and fill it half full with water; use small regular paintbrushes and "paint" on a dry sidewalk
       The outdoor exercise I try to do 2-3 times a week.  We often go outside more times than that but to keep it from getting boring, I don't do the same activity every day.  Also - some weeks, we take "field trips" in place of the exercise plan or outdoor games (see week 2) and go to a park or the play stuff at the mall.
Arts and Crafts - Red, Yellow and Blue Masterpiece: Cut shapes out of red, yellow and blue construction paper.  Help your toddler glue the shapes on paper and use crayons to add the final touches.
          I try to do the craft once or twice in the first week.
Film Fridays - Duke and the Great Pie War - Veggie Tales
        Because we don't watch a lot of TV during the week, I've made Friday mornings "Film Friday".  We watch a video every Friday morning as a special treat.
Week 4: (some things are the same)
Literature: The Beginner's Bible - Noah and the Ark
Bible: Same Verse
Poetry: " Cradle Song" from Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne.  (I couldn't find this on-line so I borrowed the poetry book from the library and copied the poems - all the poems for the 2nd year come from the collection of Winnie the Pooh Poems.)
         We review the poem at meals times
Sign Language: Teach the sign for Baby (find instructions here)
         I try to use the sign whenever I say the word "Baby"
Outdoor Games: Bowling.  Either use a bowling set or use a bouncy ball and milk jugs/cartons
        Again, I try to do this 2-3 times while we are outside
Musical Exploration - Rhythm Sticks - introduce the concept of rhythm.  Let your toddler use sticks and tap along with music (I just use it with my CD's)
         This is one that I don't always get to - but with music playing all day we do a lot of dancing :-)
Puppetry - Wooden Spoon Puppets - make wooden spoon puppets and than teach your toddler how to stand or crouch behind a chair and hold his puppet up for others to see
        We try to work on this 2-3 times a week
Nature Study - Go for a walk and point out the birds and/or other small animals
        The boys like to go for wagon rides, so I try to do this at least once a week
Film Fridays:  The Praise baby Collection - Sleepytime Lullabies.

If you want to see more on this curriculum please check out the following website:   This is where I got all of my plans/ideas.  I did make changes and left some things out but it is a great starting point.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Making Your Home a Haven

One of the blogs I enjoy, Women Living Well, is hosting a fall challenge called "Making Your Home a Haven.  I am accepting the challenge and if you would like to also, just click here  This challenge is actually starting Monday, October 4th so you have time to link up and participate!

Art Prize and More.

We ended our crazy week with some relaxing time too.  On Friday evening (since the kids were with the Grandparents) we took time to walk around ArtPrize in downtown Grand Rapids.  There is some really awesome art!.
The Giant Flying Pig outside "The Bob"

The Creepy Guy who moves (he's real!)

I just like elephants

The Wolrds biggest greeting card - it was really cool!

A cool looking sculpture . . really.

The Peacock - my favorite piece that I saw - it was just stunning.

Than, on Saturday we attended a wedding for one of the girls in the group that Darryl plays in.  The group provided special music.  It was a bit cool out but the wedding was just beautiful!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Who needs power?

It's been a crazy week. First, we were interrupted by this:

On Tuesday night, a HUGE storm came through.  It came up so fast, Darryl and I didn't have time to react before my curtains were whipping, screens were shaking, Josh's door was sucked open and than, the transformer blew outside our window.  The culpert was this lovely branch.  We lost power at 9:30 pm on Tuesday and didn't regain it until Thursday morning at 5:30 AM.  So, does it really matter?

(A Cute Nathan)
Well, Nathan didn't really care that there wasn't power.  He just played and slept like he always does!
(Josh saying "Turn that power back on!)
 He really didn't care either.  I had a radio with batteries playing some music and he just played in his favorite window.  Granted, at nap time his room was just too quiet to sleep  By 3:00 Wednesday afternoon, we made the call to send both boys to my parents house a day early (They were supposed to go on Thursday anyway)  Trying to put two kids to bed in the dark . . .didn't really appeal to me.
My exhausted Husband
It DID matter to big kid in the house that the power was out.  Tuesday night was a rough night.  The house was HOT and there complete silence.  He ended up "sleeping" on the couch but didn't get much sleep.  By the time he got home Wednesday, he could hardly walk he was so tired.  He laid down for a few moments before we headed to practice (where we charged our phones!)

So I asked myself, who really needs a refrigerator??
 A toilet?

 A shower?  (we have a well which means - no power = no water)
 Or even a TV?
Guess what ??? I DO!!!!  I love my modern things that make my life easier and missed them greatly over the 32 hours we had no power.  And yes, we lost food but that is what good insurance is for :-)

All I can say now, is that I'm glad my lights are on, my TV is working, and I can relax this evening!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Show Us Your Life -Master Bedrooms

Wow - I had this almost done and trying to use the new picture editer erased my whole post :-(

So, lets try this again. Over here at Kelly's Korner, she is hosting a "Show us your life" Fridays.  Currently it is on showing our homes.  When I saw that this week was the master bedroom, I considered skipping.  I don't have a huge master bedroom, no master bath, or big closet.  But as I started to take pictures for this post I realized there are so many things I love.  Would I love more space - aboslulty!  Do I wish I had my own bathroom - YES!  How about that master walk-in closet . .. of course!  For now, I am happy with what I have and I think it is beautiful!

Here we go :-)
This is the view into the room from the door.  I love my Bed.  I purchased it when I was still single and loved it too much to change it when I got married.  Another thing I love about our room is the bedding.  It is so rich and classy.

And the view from one corner of the room.  I love my full length mirror and so do my kids - they both like to make faces into that mirror and make it move.  My bookshelf is there for the sole reason of storage - a place to store my candles (and it makes my room smell good) plus my Creative Memories Albums which eventually I will put in the living room so that people can actually see them.

The view from the other corner.  When our second son was born, we had to move things around and the Treadmill got squeezed into our room.  Despite the tight fit I kinda like it in our room.  I can shut the door and have "mommy" time while I walk :-)

This is one of my favorites - our dresser.  This was our wedding gift from my parents and I just love the style and look of it.  And yes, we have a TV in our room and we love it :-)

This is another thing I love :-) Hehehe - he was following me around while I took pictures so I couldn't resist.  For whatever reason this picture flipped when it was loaded, sorry!  I do love my carpet for real though - it is so thick and soft!

My lamps are some of my favorites.  They look so elegant and they give off soft light.  I love it in the winter when the snow is flying - turning on the lights and lighting some candles just makes the room so cozy.

My husband purchased this for me on one of our first dates.  We went to the Detroit Art Institute and walked around.  We had seen a picture we wanted to purchase a print of and than I saw this one.  He bought me both.  I just love the peacefulness that this picture shows. 

And my closet.  I picked this closet organizer out when we first moved into our room and  it took me 4 years to get it.  When our 2nd son was born, we considered putting both boys in this room and moving us to a smaller room; I couldn't bear losing my closet though :-)  It has lots of room and I make the most of it for storage and it is also my "make-up" counter.

So that is the grand tour.  Hope you enjoyed it :-)

Frozen Hot Chocolate

I've heard about the signature dessert from Serendipity in Manhattan several times as I watch a lot of Food Network.  It intriqued me but I never thought to look for a recipe.  I found this recipe in a magazine for a slimmed down version and we tried it last night.  Wow - this beats any frozen drink I've made yet.  And, for those of you that don't like coffee, this is your drink!

1/2 cup chocolate syrup
1 cup fat-free evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups ice cubes
Garnish: reduced-fat whipped topping and dark chocolate shavings

Combine everything but the garnish items and blend until smooth.  Pour into glasses and garnish, if desired.  This made 2 large glasses.  I had enough of the milk left to make a 1/2 batch this morning :-)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Worship Wednesday - Better Than a Hallelujah

This weeks song is "Better Than a Hallelujah" by Amy Grant.  Darryl and I heard this song on the radio when it first came  out and fell in love with it.  It is another one of those songs that, when it comes one, all talking ceases, and we crank the radio. 

This coming Sunday, I have special music and church and this is the song that God has laid on my heart.  I have so enjoyed learning it and singing it.  Singing in church is such a wonderful thing for me.  Many people ask how I can stand to get up and sing in front of so many people and it comes down to the fact that it is my ministry - I can share God's love, His word, His love - all through songs.  I take the "job" of choosing my song very seriously. . .I have close to 100 soundtracks in my collections; many I have sung over the years; many I bought because I loved the song but God just turns me to something else at the time.  I've learned over the years that when I try to pick the song it doesn't go well but when I follow God's leading it goes so much better.  Sure there are problems - soundtracks not working; the sound not working, the sound guy turning the soundtrack off half way through, wrong notes, starting over - but ultimately, it is all of the glory of God.  Do I still get nervous after singing solos for close to 30 years?  Yes.  If you attend church with me, you may notice that in the moments before it is time for special music I "stop" - if we are singing, I stop, if we are reading scripture, I stop.  What am I doing?  I stop, I take a deep breath and I pray "Lord, please use me to reach just one person today but take ME out of the picture"  As the music starts moments later, God eases my soul and I just sing.  I am so thankful for the ability God has given me - a ministry I truly enjoy!

So, here's a link to this weeks song

Enjoy, and if you are free - come to Smyrna Bible Church on Sunday :-)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Being Crafty for Fall

Well, I did it.  After searching through some blogs endlessly and making many lists of some crafts (both Fall related and not) I went shopping yesterday and picked up a bunch of stuff (Half of it will be returned since I either couldn't get all of the supplies or, I've made enough for this year ;-) ).  Today, I made the things that I had all the right supplies for and decorated.  Here are my three lovely crafts:

Aren't these cute?  ANd they were SOOOO easy!  The top set of pumpkins:
1) Find scrap wood that your husband won't miss ;-) LOL
2) Spray paint it orange (Suggestion - don't spray paint on the sidewalk right in front of your front door, just saying, that's all)
3) Cut a limb off of a tree (where no one will notice) and trim it down
4) Hot glue the piece of tree limb to the top of the wood
5) Tie raffia or ribbon around the stem

The second set of pumpkins were EXPENSIVE to make (hehehehe) 
1) Find two rolls of Toilet Paper in your house (stash them if you must!)
2) Using fabric or Napkins (I found a set of two napkins at walmart for $3.00)
3) Set the TP roll in the middle of the napkin/fabric square and tuck each corner down into the center of the TP roll.
4) I used more of the same tree limb and stuck the pieces into the center to hold the napkin in place
5) Tie raffia or ribbon around the limb.  (After Thanksgiving, you can even get your TP back!)

The Picture took a little more work but was still easy
1) Find an old frame and spray paint it black
2) Cut scrapbook paper to the size of the frame and also cut a mat a little smaller and attach to the frame/glass
3) Find a book you don't want, like or just don't want to read.  (I would suggest that you find one that you don't mind the whole world reading!!)
4) Make a pattern of a pumpkin (or some other symmetrical item) and fold it in half
5) Tear about 100 pages out of the book (leaving the binding in tack) tear off the front and/or back covers as needed. 
6) Lay the template on the book so that the edge lines up with the binding or the book
7) Cut away until you have cut out the whole thing
8) Glue the front and back pages to the frame and fan out the pages

Isn't that so cool????  I might have to try it with a Christmas tree for the next holiday.

So here are my before an after photos!

Before . . .                                                                     After . . .

Before . . ..                                            After . ..

And than one from my dining room.

There are a few more decorations up but it is kinda hard to get it all.  There is at least one more craft I'd like to try and do but I'll have to decide whether I will get to it or if I need to return that stuff too :-)

Lesson learned:  Only plan one craft at a time and get those supplies AND finish it before moving on to the next one! (Like I didn't already know it . . .I was just really excited to do crafts!)