Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thankful heart

"Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works withe rejoicing."
Psalm 107:22

Sunday evening. Time to sit down and focus on the wonderful blessings in my life.

61. My loving family
62. Roses and pumpkin pie for my birthday
63. My dad coming out for a week to spend time with us
64. Getting to go out on a date with my hubby
65. Walking around the mall holding hands
66. A 20 minute massage in the massage chairs at the Brookstone store
67. Watching my hubby's face as he tasted tea at Teavana...he has never really had tea before
68. The cute tin I now have to keep my tea in
69. The sweet birthday card crafted at school by my step-son
70. Making a new friend who loves knitting
72. The wonderful people at our new church
73. Feeling so welcome at our new church
74. Having fun playing with my camera
75. Taking family pictures of my friends for their Christmas card
76. Watching my kids be so excited to dress up for the church Halloween carnival
77. Happy kids eating candy...but not too much. :)
78. Apple pie
79. Ice cream
80. A few minutes recapping the day with my hubby before heading to bed to start a new week

Friday, October 29, 2010

Frugal Friday

A picture of the finished banner. Sorry it's not a better one.

Happy Friday! A while back I had thought it would be fun to blog about things that we do to save money, and for a few weeks I kept up with "Frugal Friday". And then, like everything else on my blog, it kind of fell to the way side. However, I am working on posting more consistently again (or at least as consistently I can right are much more important!).
This project is something that I did for Hannah's birthday party back in May, and it was so easy and fun and practically free, that I wanted to share it with you! I know it is a birthday banner, but with the holidays coming you could make one in Christmas colors for a quick and festive decoration. Anyway, on with the directions!

Tissue paper in desired colors (I used tissue paper from my stash that I save up from gifts we have received, but you can usually find tissue paper reasonably at the dollar store, Target or Wal-Mart)
Ribbon of desired length and color (once again, I was able to use ribbon that I had on hand)
scotch tape
scrap paper

Step 1: Cut a template from a piece of scrap paper...whatever size you desire.
Step 2: Fold your pieces of tissue paper in half to work with the size template you made. Now to be really thrifty and make the best use of the tissue paper tape the open edge closed so you have a nice tube. That way you can get more shapes out of each piece.

Step 3: Lay your template out and start tracing. I don't have any more pictures to show you what I did, but basically I just traced the first like it is in the picture, and then moved it over so the top left corner of the template is touching the top right corner of the traced triangle and trace again. You will end up with triangles pointing down and triangles pointing up. (Wow! I don't know if that made any sense, but hopefully you kind of get the gist of it.)

Step 4: Cut out your shapes!

Step 5: Lay out your shapes in the desired order. I made three separate banners with mine.

Step 6: Cut your ribbon to desired length and then open up the triangles and lay the ribbon in the middle.
Step 7: Fold the triangles back over the ribbon and staple to secure.

Hang up and enjoy your handiwork! A fun, easy project to add some festive flavor to your home for a party or whatever. And it's easy on your wallet too!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Exploring the yard...

The other day the girls and I spent the afternoon outside playing in the grass and dirt and enjoying one of the last dry days before all of the rain. We had such a wonderful time being together in nature. It's amazing just how much you can explore right in your own front yard! Ellie tasted a stick, Hannah found some lichen, and they both had fun running around and playing in the colorful leaves. Well, I guess Ellie didn't really was more of a wibble-wobble. :)
We finished off our time outside with a fun game of hopscotch. Or as Hannah calls it: scotch hop.
So thankful for these times I get to spend with my girls!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The journey continues...

"Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving THANKS to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Ephesians 5:19-20

I must say, I have really been enjoying taking the time each week to sit down and focus on all my blessings. It really has been putting my heart in the right place, and helps me see just how much God's hand is in my life everyday, in every little thing.
And so my list continues...

41. Taking nature walks with my girls
42. Watching their joy at seeing the wonderful things outside
43. The sound of the rain on the roof
44. The roof over our head to keep us dry
45. Fresh, warm biscuits
46. Kisses from my is so cute when babies first learn to kiss!
47. A full 8 hours of sleep
48. Quiet time reading my Bible in the mornings
49. Seeing my girls' smiles when they wake up in the morning
50. Veggies...mmmm!
51. Chocolate candies in trail mix
52. Going to the zoo
53. Saving money at the store with coupons
54. Looking at the stars at night
55. The moonlight shining in through the windows
56. Snuggling on the couch with my hubby watching a movie and eating pie
57. German chocolate pie
58. Learning to knit
59. Hannah staying dry at night and even getting up to go potty in the middle of the night
60. Sundays to go to church

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

School Time!!!

Hannah coloring a picture of a mama duck and her ducklings.

This week for school we are reading the book "Make Way For Ducklings" by Robert McCloskey. And we are enjoying many activities learning about ducks. Monday we took a "field trip" to the pond by the library and fed and watched the ducks. We saw LOTS of Mr. and Mrs. Mallards! The girls had so much fun watching the ducks that I think they could have stayed there all day. While we watched the ducks we talked about the differences between the daddies and the mommies, and what they like to eat, and how they swim, etc. We've been having fun counting ducks in different pictures for math. We also have a fun duck craft planned for later this week to practice cutting skills, and probably another trip to watch some ducks at a local nature park. Ellie has been learning how to make sounds like a duck. She says "ack, ack". So cute!
Hannah has also been learning how to write the letter "i" and doing some pages in her Boz the Bear workbook. We are also continuing to read in our Pooh story book and Little House on the Prairie. Of course, there is time for outside play and other fun things like playdough and the rice box (a plastic shoe box filled with rice and scoops and other safe toys for sensory play).
Hannah has also been learning how to clean the bathroom and does a great job helping me get the house in order in the mornings! She is so willing to help and do things!
Oh, and in the afternoons we watch a Signing Time video from the library and we've started teaching Hannah to play the piano.
Boy, that really sounds like a lot when I typed it out, but really we only spend a few minutes with the book work and mostly just play and read books and have fun together.

Our basket of library books which we read from daily.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thankfulness journey continued...

21. Giggling little girls
22. My new camera
23. A morning at the Saturday market with a good friend
24. Warm sunshine
25. Dahlias
26. A Sunday spent worshipping and learning about our Lord
27. Fellowship with friends who are like family
28. Pineapple coconut cake
29. Cream cheese frosting
30. Sunflowers
31. My nice warm bed
32. Hubby waking me up to kiss me goodnight when he gets home from work on nights he works late.
33. A new week ahead
34. Our piano
35. Girls that love "playing" the piano
36. Playing peek-a-boo with my baby
37. My mom
38. That she listens to me talk on and on about being a parent and the struggles involved
39. Her encouragement
40. Cobwebs on the means I have eyes to see. :)

"Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High."
Psalm 50:14

Monday, October 11, 2010

Art Night- Autumn Wreaths

Monday night is Art Night at our house. And tonight was a beautiful, warm October evening so the kids and I went the local park by the library. We walked around the ponds and watched the ducks, saw some squirrels chasing each other around, and even saw at least one blue heron (not sure if it was more than one or just the same one flying around). While we walked and enjoyed nature, we also kept our eye out for pretty leaves, acorns and other things to use in our art project.
After the kids got tired of walking, we headed home to make our Autumn wreaths. We just cut holes out of the middle of paper plates and then glued our findings on any way we liked. We were going to hang them up once they're dry, but I think we are going to put some candles in jars in the centers and arrange them on the table for some festive fall decorations.

Hannah had so much fun that she made two wreaths AND then filled this shallow box with more treasures.
James stuck with simplicity on his and I glued as many leaves as I could to mine. We all had a great time exploring outside together and creating our wreaths.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Attitude of Thankfulness: The start of my journey toward a thankful heart

I recently came across the most wonderful, encouraging blog, A Holy Experience by Ann Voskamp. It is like a little retreat heading over to her blog. The way she writes, what she writes is truly inspiring!
On her blog, Ann has started a Gratitude Community where people can join and share what they are thankful for. The goal for each person is to eventually have a list of 1000 things. But more than that it is to teach us and create in us a heart of praise and thankfulness to the Lord, our Maker. It really struck me when I was reading today, how Ann talks about how we were created for praise.
How many days do I let slip by without even being thankful for one thing? We are blessed so abundantly and in so many ways, and I have been inspired to start cultivating a heart of thankfulness and praise.
I know it will take me a long time to reach a list of 1000 things with just 20 per week, but I'm starting with baby steps. And I have a feeling that soon I won't be able to stick with just 20.
I am going to try to come up with 20 things on Sunday evenings. I figured what better way to start the week than by thinking of ways I am blessed!
So here goes:

1. The beautiful spider web that is new on my kitchen window every morning.
2. Tiny toes
3. New sprouts in the garden
4. Bouncy curls
5. Precious smiles
6. Playing chase with my hubby in the dark outside
7. Pumpkin pie!
8. The anticipation of getting a new camera
9. An hour to go out by myself to Target
10. Classical music
11. Green yarn coming together on my knitting needles
12. Children's laughter
13. A new week ahead to learn new things
14. Watching my girls enjoy books
15. Playing games on my ipod with my good friends who live in Colorado
16. Telephones to be able to talk with family far away
17. Sunday afternoon naps
18. Singing praise songs with my girls
19. Reading devotions with the kids before bed
20. Teavana tea

to be continued...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pumpkin Patch!

*Sorry there are no pictures of our fun day yesterday. Our camera has been acting up and didn't work for us yesterday. Hope you enjoy this pic of Hannah enjoying her cocoa before our adventures. :)

Yesterday was a GORGEOUS Fall day here in the Northwest, James didn't have school, Matt didn't have work, and so we decided it would be a great day to go to the pumpkin patch! We packed a lunch and headed out for the day. We decided to be a little adventurous and check out a pumpkin patch near Hood River, about 2 hours away. On the way we stopped and had a picnic at Multnomah Falls, and took in the scenery. Then on to the pumpkins! The kids had so much fun going through the corn maze and the Pumpkin Funland, and then the hunt was on for the perfect pumpkin! Hannah took the first one she found that she could carry, while James took a good long look around the patch to find the biggest one he could carry. Ellie just enjoyed walking around feeling all the pumpkins and tasting the dirt. We couldn't have asked for better weather!
After the pumpkins were all loaded safely in the back of the truck, we headed for home via the scenic route around Mt. Hood. What a beautiful drive! The leaves were starting to change, the sun was radiant and the white clouds floated lazily through the sky. We took a short side road jaunt up to the Timberline Lodge as we had never been up there before. It was awesome! Mt. Hood is so amazingly huge! We are definitely planning to go back there and hike around some of the trails.
After getting back into the city we headed over to The Old Spaghetti Factory for a nice big dinner to finish off the day. Yum!


Please excuse this mess! I was trying to make a few changes to my blog layout and fix things up a little more, but somehow I ended up with this. I admit I am not technically inclined in anyway, so that explains how I ended up with a nice mess of things instead of a nicely arranged blog. Hopefully it won't be long until I have things back where they should be. Thanks for your patience!

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Weekend Fun

Ellie digging in the garden...she actually didn't try to eat the dirt this time! :)

Hannah and her worm she found while helping me dig in the garden. She had so much fun!

This past weekend was another beautiful couple of days and we made good use of the nice weather. Saturday morning Matt and I took the girls down to the farmer's market and got some fresh produce and some yummy treats. And Hannah helped me pick out another bouquet of flowers for the dining table. So glad there's still a couple more weekends of the market left! We always have such a good time walking around in the fresh air and looking at what everyone has to sell.
After the market, we came home and had lunch and then the girls and I headed out to check out some garage sales and go visit our friends at their coffee shop. We found a few good deals. Hannah is especially excited about the little mini bread pans we found so she can make her own little loaves of bread. (Yes, we are going to attempt making bread completely from scratch, by hand next week! Will let you know how that goes!) We also found a popcorn popper that looks like an old fashioned popcorn cart (except smaller) for $3! It doesn't work quite as well as I had hoped, but we are still having fun with it.
We decided that since it was such a nice day outside we should work in the garden for a bit, so after the coffee shop we headed to Home Depot to grab a bag of compost (I know, I know, we should have a compost pile in our's on my to do list, and maybe it'll happen this year, but with two littles running around well......let's just say compost pile got put on the back burner. I'll keep you posted on that too). The girls were such good helpers and helped me mix the compost into our garden box and we got it all ready to plant some seeds. We put some plastic over the bed and are going to try growing some lettuce, spinach, carrots and a few other things. We thought since we started some things in our "greenhouse" toward the end of winter/early spring this year, we'd try growing some things on the other end, heading into winter. I'm excited to see how it does!
Sunday was just a nice relaxing day with church and afterward the kids enjoyed playing together out in the yard. So blessed to have a yard for them to run and play in! We also got to have some time chatting with my mom on Skype.
All in all we had a wonderful weekend just being together and enjoying this beautiful world we live in!

Ellie sampled the cherry tomatoes while the older two ran around in the yard. She LOVED them!

Couldn't resist posting this pic of Hannah. Love how her curls are all bouncy when she runs!

Love to see the kids playing and having fun together!

"But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful."
Psalm 68:3