Monday, September 29, 2008

Recommended Websites & Resources

Below is some of the articles, websites and resources that I have used recently and have enjoyed - hope you enjoy them too!

Marriage

Sex & Spiritual Warfare based on a Mark Driscoll Sermon, Jess from the Making Home Blog quotes and writes on how sexual intimacy can be spiritually attacked.

Single Living

"Talk of Marriage and Such" Joyfully at Home a blog written by a single young woman named Jasmine, she wrote an inspiring blog about what it means and feels like to her to be waiting to be married. I did not read the articles that she recommends on this post but I thought that her reflections were pure and insightful and thought that my single friends and family would enjoy them. To quote part of her post she says "When and if Prince Charming arrives, I don't want him to find me neglecting the tasks at hand, straining my neck towards the horizon, sighing in hopeless melancholy!"

Frugal Living

Coupon Clipping Read this article about serious coupon clippers and how they save money the easy way! To read more visit my friend Jessica's blog on this subject

Deal Seeking Mom & Money Saving Mom two wesbsites devoted to saving money - if you're into the CVS and Walgreens deals, this websites help make it easy, breaking down the weekly sales, deals & steals.

Homeschool Freebie of the Day offers a free downloadable book or freebie every day!

Parenting/Children

The Blessing of Books written by Karol Ladd, has some fun ways to introduce books and reading time to kids and families

Why Children need father-love and mother-love: part 1

"Rock-A-Bye Baby" One mother's viewpoint on why she doesn't put her children in the church nursery

Christian Birth Control Options, what forms of birth control are okay for Christians to use? This article is based on a sermon by Mark Driscoll (Pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, whom by the way I LOVE to listen to!), a link to the sermon is available at this site.

Politics

Randy Alcorn a respected Christian Best-selling author provides resources (including articles and videos) on the presidential candidates on his blog. One of the articles linked from his blog is called "Why Christians Shouldn't Vote for Obama"

Studying The Bible
I recently (about a year ago) started using the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible, and I have really enjoyed it. This website explains how the ESV is translated and the philosophy behind it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Kid's Say the Cutest Things

It is a fun time now that Treyton is talking better. Tim and I get the enjoyment and laughter that comes along with trying to understand and follow what is going on in our little man's head!! It's awesome! Below are a few conversations that have happened in the last few days.

Story #1: Too Cute

Today, I laid the baby in the crib and was standing there talking and making faces to make her smile & laugh, and like he usually does, Treyton crawled into the crib and was sitting next to her. I continued my conversation with Alexa that went something like "You so pretty, yes you are, you're a beautiful princess!" He watched me for a while and then he leaned over her (so that she could see his face) and said (in a matching high pitched voice),

"Baby, You so Tute (that means cute)"

I said "The baby thinks your cute, too"

He looked at me, then he looked back and the baby and said "Me, Tute, too?" and took his hand and helped her nod in agreement.

Story #2: Happy Baby
At another time, we were sitting on the couch; I had Alexa up on my knees and Treyton was sitting next to me, we were reading some books when Alexa decided she had some things to say. She cooed quite a bit and I said "What a happy baby you are!!" after Alexa had calmed down some, we went back to reading our book but not for long.... mid sentence Treyton leaned over pushed up Alexa's cheeks and said "Baby Happy, right mommy?!"

Story #3: So Funny!
Lately, Treyton has been pretending alot more and one of his favorite games is to pretend we are other people. Today, I was "Mommer" (Grandma), He was "Papa" (Grandpa) and Tim was "Sawyer" (Sawyer is Treyton's cousin who is 6 days older than Alexa). It's pretty unbelievable how far he will go with it. Even when you forget that you're "mommer" that's all he will call you until you respond. Today it lasted for about 2 hours!

Anyhow, we were all on the bed wrestling and he was getting a little carried away and I said, "Woaw, Papa, You need to calm down a little bit, I think you're getting a little carried away"

He through his head back in laughter (totally over-dramatically) laughed for a good 10 seconds looked me straight in the eye and said "Mommer, you so bunny" (which means funny)

Story #4: I'm on the Phone
Yesterday, I caught Treyton talking on the "phone" (a.k.a a calculator up to his ear) while I was on the phone with my dad. He was saying (or trying to) what I was. When I hung up I said "I'll talk to you later, Love ya, Bye" and he said the same thing, removed the phone from his ear, clicked a few "buttons" and put the calculator (I mean phone, down).

Then today, Treyton told me he was hungry and I said, "Today Daddy is bringing lunch home, he will be here soon." A little while later, when I was out of the room, I heard him talking to himself (which is not to unusual) I peaked in and saw him, new "phone" in hand, pretending to call his dad. He punched a few buttons put the phone up to his ear, waited (about 2 seconds) and the conversatin went something like this:
"Daddy, my tummy hurts, me tungy (hungry) bing (bring) food now - Bye!!"
I thought it was so cute that I tried to get him to call Tim for real but we got his voicemail, which Treyton obviously does not understand so instead of talking to him he spent most of the time (1 minute and 7 seconds) going "Daddy! Daddy???" really loudly and waiting for a response!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Regardless of the Situation God's Working on Your Behalf

I wrote a close friend of mine an e-mail today encouraging her regarding a personal situation she is currently facing and after I wrote it I thought to myself "I think I may have just ministered to myself more than her." I hope that you may find some blessing from it as well.

I actually got some of the information/thoughts out of the In Touch Magazine that I use for my daily quiet time (I higly recommend it - you can sign up for it - it's free and it has good articles and a monthly devotional in the back - I think you could google in touch ministries and you would find it.... okay enough about that!)

John 12:24 says "Truly, Truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit."

"That is, only by falling and breaking can a single grain produce a rich crop. If it remains isolated and protected, it will never produce anything."

Now, I'm not going to pretend for a second that I understand "why" God allows us to go through the troubles and struggles that we face. But I can say, that God IS in control and that we are not going through it alone. Our God is a God who sees, and He knows what our needs are and what we are capable of doing in our own power.

The Lord allows things to happen in our life for many different reasons, to strengthen us, to cause us to trust in Him alone, to prove something, to take something away, to humble us, etc.... again, I can't for a moment pretend to know the "why" in each circumstance. But I can say, He is with you and He will give you the grace you need to get through it.

No matter what the future holds....

1 Peter 1:5 "[We] by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time"
Romans 8:31 "If God is for us, who can be against us"

These verses illustrate that the Lord is guarding us, and keeping us. We can't be sure exactly what this verse is saying but we can be sure that His power is real and it is being used on your behalf!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More on Grace

So, after yesterday's post, I've been thinking more and more on the concept of Grace and God's Love. I am currently reading through "His Princess Love Letters from Your King" by Sheri Rose Shepherd and today, the verse and letter went along with this all to well. I thought I should share it with you all.
Romans 3:23-24 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ
Jesus."

"My Princess You are Saved By Grace, Don't be so hard on yourself, My love. I see your heart filled with frustration. I know you're in a constant battle between your flesh and your spirit. Don't ever give up on trying to live out your faith because of your weaknesses. Don't you know that nothing you do in your own strength will last? I give you grace when you've gone the wrong way, and I give you strength right
when you need it. I am here waiting to make all your wrongs right and to heal all your hurts. The battles in your mind belong to Me, so don't waste any more time tearing yourself down. I love you no matter what you've done or said. Now give Me a chance to show you who you are when you are surendered to Me. Let Me give you My gift of Grace. Remember that you have been covered with My forgiveness since Calvary; now walk in freedom from the past and open My gift of a new start. Love, Your King and your Grace"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Galatians Study

I started a new Bible study on Galatians this week. I am taking it through the Appleton Alliance Church on Thursday mornings. I've never done an inductive Bible study on a book of the Bible before. This week we read chapter 1 and so far I LOVE it!
Each week we will be answering the same 6 questions:

1. What are three points you want to remember?

2. What does this passage say about God and/or His character?

3. What in this passage do you not understand or still have questions concerning?

4. What other insights do you have regarding these verses?

5. What has God revealed to you concerning your life in this passage?

6. What is one verse from this passage that spoke to you the most and why?

We are encouraged to read the portion of scripture on our own (without study helps, commentaries, etc.) and to answer the questions and then if we want to do more to go ahead and read the other stuff.

This week, reading chapter 1, the main theme that stuck out to me was in regards to what the church at that time was struggling with, which is addressed in almost all of the New Testament books and that was whether Gentiles needed to follow the Mosaic Law/Jewish Customs in order to be saved. In Galatians Paul refers to this as "a different gospel" verse 6 (which was being taught by others). Though this has transformed itself through the ages, the church as a whole still struggles with this concept. It may not be the Mosaic Law, but legalism is legalism. (Definition of Legalism: Strict, literal adherence to the law or to a particular code, as of religion or morality)

We are easily blinded into believing that we are required to follow strict guidelines of rules and religious beliefs in order to be saved or "earn" God's love. This is simply not true, and while few churches are bold enough to preach legalism from the pulpit many Christians are struggling with it and portraying it to others. (This is not to say that I blame the church leaders specifically for this concept, it is the church as a whole that struggles and relays this message to one another)

Our salvation CANNOT be earned, no matter how "good" we are or how well we follow the 10 commandments, it is not our obedience that is getting us to heaven, into the presence of our King. It is through grace alone that we receive that gift!!

To understand this is so crucial to the heart. When we can understand, REALLY understand that God requires nothing from us except accepting this gift, we will understand the reality of the sacrifice that He made by sending His Son. By believing that we can somehow EARN God's love is prideful and is a lie! This lie is meant to seperate us from God's love, we cannot possibly grasp God's love and believe this lie.

Galations 1:6-10

"(6) I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel (7) not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. (8) But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed {also translated "eternally condemned"}. (9) As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (10) For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ."
We had a fun-filled week this past week.


On Saturday we went to the Fire Day at the Fire Station in Menasha - Treyton learned how to crawl through a smoke filled room, he got to practice spraying "fire" (it wasn't real fire) with a hose, he learned about electricity and natural gas explosions (okay, so I don't think he really retained that part... but who knows?), and enjoyed a brat fry, fireman clowns, climbing in the trucks, and a dalmation dog mascot. It was a lot of fun and I think even Alexa enjoyed it! :)



On Sunday we went to MY FIRST PACKER game - and even though they didn't win (or play all that well in the second half) it was a blast!! I LOVED IT! I can't wait to go again.... this could get addicting. It's so different than when you watch it on TV. Both have their advantages, but I can't describe the atmosphere and excitement of the real thing!!

And this is just a picture of Alexa Smiling..... she is just too cute!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Walgreens Steals!!


I took my first trip to Walgreens today as a "couponer" and deal seeker and WOW am I excited!!

Following is the STEALS I walked away with:

~ Crest Mouth Wash $4.49 ($4.50 in Register Rewards)
~ Reach Toothbrushes 2/$5 ($5.00 in Register Rewards)
~ Children's Cough and Cold Dimetapp 2/$10.00 ($10.00 in Register Rewards for Buying 3 + Three $2 off coupons a total of $6.00 off in coupons) *NOTE: You can find the coupons for yourself in my previous post
~ Scrubbing Bubbles Starter Kit $5.49 (Free after Mail in rebate form for)
~ Revlon Nail Color $4.49 (Free after Rebate)
~ Pert Plus Shampoo $3.49 (Free after Rebate + $1.50 off coupon)

My total Out of Pocket (OOP) was $30.46
I got a total of $19.50 in Register Rewards (which are like gift cards that can be used for future purchases) and I am going to receive $13.47 in Rebates

Which means:
I MADE $2.51 plus I received the products!!

Now if you want to get technical I had to pay taxes on my purchases which left me with $0.81 and I will need to mail in one of my rebates which will cost me $0.42 BUT even considering that I MADE $0.39!!!
I am SOOO excited - I am looking forward to next weeks ads and coupons already!

Coupons & Freebies


I am becoming a deal seaker and a couponer!! I have been working on organzing myself for a while now, and thanks to my friend Jessica, have been given lots of tips and extra deals (that I haven't found on my own). I just found a couple deals today that I thought I would share with you all:

~ If you would like a free Reach Access Daily Flosser sample - sign up here!
~ For $2 off Dimetapp products (which you can use with the walgreen sale this week go here!
~ For a free sample of Fiber One Honey Nut Clusters Cereal go here
~ For a Free Sample of Always Infinity visit the walgreens website
~ To sign up for a free Aveeno Sample and coupons visit the attached link

Thanks to Money Saving Mom for the samples I found on your page!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Preschool Bowling League

Today, we went bowling with the other mom's that are using our same preschool curriculum. This week we were learning about "B". In honor of our "ball" day we decided to go bowling as a group. There were 9 total kids bowling (plus some younger siblings who REALLY wanted to help). The kids did a great job with focusing on the game and everyone finished, which is saying something for 3 and 4 year olds!!


Treyton had a great time and did an awesome job at waiting his turn!


I'm sure that this is something that Treyton will be wanting to do again in the near future - thankfully dad likes to bowl so maybe we'll take a family outing to a bowling alley soon.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Alexa's Update

Today was Alexa's 2 month check up. I can't believe it's been two months already!!

She weighed in at 12 pounds, 15 ounces (with her clothes and diaper on), and was 23 inches long. So she is in the 75th percentile for height and the 95th for weight.

Everything checked out okay and even though she was a little congested she didn't have a fever or anything so they went ahead and gave her, her shots. She didn't really like getting the shots and they had to do 3 different shots with only one nurse so Alexa really let her hear about it, but as soon as she could nurse she calmed right down. She fell asleep before I even got her out to the car and is still sleeping now so.... we'll see how the rest of the day goes. :)

Overall the doctor said she looks great. He took another look at her collar bone (not an x-ray, he just moved it around and felt it) and he said that it looks good, it doesn't seem to be bothering her which is a good sign, and she will probably not suffer any long term affect from the break. Praise the Lord!
Alexa has been a wonderful little princess, and a blessing to our family, one that was well worth the wait and heart ache of the past two-years. I feel incredibly blessed to be her mother. As she is growing more every day I am constantly reminded of the miracle of life. I am only saddened by how quickly this time goes. She is learning how to smile, and how to "coo" which warms my heart just to think about. I think that in no time she will be talking with real words and I'll be wondering how to get her to be quiet! :)

Fun-Filled Weekend

This weekend some of our family (Terry & Sandra's Family) came up for a visit. It was the first time we were able to meet Ava so that was the highlight of their visit but we also had a fun filled weekend, which the kids really seemed to enjoy. Friday we went to the NEW Zoo in Green Bay and then on Saturday we went to Bay Beach and then to lunch at Lambeau Field (Curly's Pub). This is our family at the Zoo

Treyton and Tim on the Ferris Wheel, this was Treyton's Favorite Ride.

Our Family's First Trip to Lambeau - me and the kids had never been before. As you can tell by the picture Treyton was asleep for the first part of it!

I just thought this one was adorable!

Alexa & Ava getting to know one another. (They are 4 weeks apart)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

God Given Wisdom


Often in the past month I have prayed for God to give me some answers, some clear-cut guidance in specific areas of our life. However, the more I have prayed for a clear yes or no, the more discouraged I got. I found myself busy looking for signs, or hearing voices that weren't really there. I wanted so desperately to hear from God but I found myself putting His voice and direction places that it didn't exist, or feeling alone and like I had done something wrong to not hear from my loving Father.

While it is a good thing to ask God for guidance and direction and to then listen for His answer, if it comes, there are also times in our life that it doesn't come. We need not be discouraged, we just need to look somewhere else - and that place is within ourselves. God's Word tells us that He will give us wisdom if we seek it, and I believe that when God fails to give us an answer He expects us to answer our question ourselves, with the wisdom He has given us.

He will not tell us exactly what to do, when to do it all the time, but He has given us the tools to get through every decision and crossroad in our lives. Praise the Lord for the wisdom He has given you and ask Him to conintually show you how to use it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Commit To The Lord Your Plans


I've been using a book called "His Princess Love Letters from Your King" written by Sheri Rose Shepherd during my quiet times - I read one "love letter" a day if I can. I highly recommend this book - it is very inspirational - she takes a verse and then writes a love letter from God to us (women) using the content of the verse.


Today the one I read really touched my heart. It was called "My Princess Give Me Your Plans" and was based on Proverbs 16:3 which says Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed" I am including the letter below:


" I know you have an idea in your head on how everything should unfold in your life. Even today you have an agenda. Because I love you, I need you to give Me back all your plans for today and for all your tomorrow. If you let Me have your day, I can then intervene with something special. My intervention will give you more joy in your journey than your good intentions. I know all that your heart longs for, and I want to do more for you than you could ever do for yourself. So give Me a chance to change your agenda from ordinery to extraordianry, becuse that's the kind of love I've destined you to live, My beloved. Love, Your King and your Planner"

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Breakfast and Lunch Ideas

I have had some struggles in the past with Breakfast/Lunch ideas. They are the toughest meals, you don't want to spend alot of time on it but you don't want the same thing every day either, after looking at some other blogs I have decided to put a list together and wanted to share it with you all.

Breakfast Ideas:
Cereal
Waffles (frozen or homemade)
Boiled eggs
Yogurt with fruitOatmeal
Applesauce
Muffins
Scrambled eggs
Toast topped w/ thin apple slices, cinnamon, & cheese (warmed in the microwave)
Biscuits
Apple Slices
Oranges
Bananas
Toast w/ peanut butter & banana slices
Cinnamon Toast
Soft flour tortilla w/ beans, corn, & cheese
Bagels with Cream Cheese
Omelets
Pancakes

Lunch Ideas
(leftover) meatballs sprinkled with Parmesan cheese
English muffin or bagel pizza
Spaghetti
Peanut butter on crackers
Macaroni and cheese
"Ants on a log"-- celery sticks with peanut butter & raisins
Refried beans w/ sour cream
Grilled Cheese
Cheese Quesadilla
Baked potato (any toppings – including broccoli)
Rolled up lunch meat and a slice of cheese (w/ no bread)
Tortilla chips w/ salsa and cheese
PB & J Sandwiches
Tuna Sandwiches
Homemade Breaded Chicken Strips/Nuggets/Thighs (warmed from the freezer)
Corn Dogs
Salad
Pasta with White Sauce
Rice topped with Cheese (or just plain rice)
Carrot Slices (boiled with butter – could top with brown sugar)
Green Beans
Broccoli (steamed with garlic)

What about you guys, do you have any other ideas you would like to share?

Monday, September 1, 2008

First Day of Preschool



Well, we did our first day of preschool today!! It was tons of fun - Treyton loved it. We decided to do it today, while dad was home so that I could totally focus on Treyton while dad could take care of Alexa.

We read the apple books we got from the library, we then talked about how the apple has three parts (the skin, the middle and the core) just like God (the father, son and holy spirit). We then colored a picture of a tree and added finger print apples. We painted out hands and arm brown and made a tree (from his print) and added apples to our tree. We also took apples, cut them and half and made apple prints.

Treyton wanted more... more... more!! However he settled for a Bible Story (adam and eve in the garden of eden - the fall). Then we had our apple snack --- apple mouths (apples for the lips, peanut butter for the gums, and marshmallows for the teeth) YUM!



We really had a good time going over the letter "A" and the color red (and green).... I am so excited for the coming up year, as is Treyton!!