Our Journey Home

Friday, September 28, 2012

Happy Friday!

"He faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin."- Hebrews 4:15

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Homeschool Update

It has been a while since I have written about homeschooling. We continue to love our time learning together! (Sometimes, I don't know who is learning more, the girls or mommy. I must have been seriously dreaming during class when I was a littler girl! wink.) One thing that I have been doing with Bella is pictured above. When Bella learns how to write her letters, I model writing the letter and then she practices. After she has completed her handwriting, instead of 'correcting' her work, instead I ask, "Which capital letter A is your favorite?" or "Which lower-case d is your favorite?". She gets to circle to 'favorites' (her very best letters) and I will say something like, "OOooh! I would have picked that letter A, too. I like the way it touches the top line and the bottom line." Bella loves picking her favorite letters using mommy's special red pen!
Emma Grace still loves reading, anything craft related, and in math, she loves making up her own story problems. (I have to try so hard not to giggle, though, because her story problems are so elaborate!) We are loving our new Bible curriculum from church, and our daily chapter from our missionaries story book. Emma Grace and JJ and I go to the library every week during Bella's ballet lesson, so we are exploring lots of different books and subjects!
I continue to praise God for the opportunity to be home with our children!

ps- And JJ stays plenty busy during homeschool time as well! If he isn't napping he's doing something like this:

"But I said, "I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due me is in the Lord's hand, and reward is with my God."- Isaiah 49:4

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: sweet lil' walking feet!

"We love because he first loved us."- 1 John 4:19

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

34 rocks!

Yesterday I turned the big 3-4. I know it's only been a day, but I must say, 34 rocks! wink. And speaking of rockin'- we like to rock to Toby Mac at our house! Our sweet friend, Abby Campbell introduced us to this song and we LOVE it! (The Campbell family is serving in Nigeria. We love this precious family so much and we miss them dearly.) We dance and sing to this song at the top of our lungs whenever it comes on the radio. Even at 34, I still love to break-it-down. ha ha! Here are a few of our dance moves...

( Bella was dancing too but she didn't want me to take her picture! )
"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near."- Phillipians 4:5

Monday, September 24, 2012

more baking adventures

 David and I love our new routine on 'cake nights'. We both feel super productive! wink! While I'm busy in the kitchen, David is busy studying, writing papers, or working on household projects. It is fun to be up late together! This weekend, the Lord blessed me with three orders for Sweets by Sarah Jane.  I had one order for Friday:
This cake was for a nine year old girl who was celebrating her big day with a party at the go-cart track! I tried to match this cake to her party supplies. The inside of the cake was swirled pink, orange, brown, and teal.
 This birthday cake was for Trent, a sweet six year old boy who loves Power Rangers! The inside was swirled blue, red and green! Below are the cookie goodie bags for all his party guests.

This cookie was ordered as a special treat for a family who had company in town.  Aaaah, I am so excited for fall!
One thing I have enjoyed most of all about Sweets by Sarah Jane is praying for the recipients of the cakes and cookies. I know that God can use anything (including a birthday cake, wink) for His glory!  I have been praying before I bake an order, while I'm baking and decorating, and I always thank God when I've completed the project. (I am literally talking outloud to God! In fact, while I was making the Power Rangers cake, I was laughing and saying, "God, I know that only You could be making this cake because I don't even know what Power Rangers are! Thank you for helping me. I could not do this without You. " ha ha! I have A LOT to learn about little boys before JJ gets older. ) I know that is only because of Him that I am given these opportunities, and these abilities; I want to give Him all the praise. It's all about Him!
"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."- Acts 20:24

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday funny: Salt?

During dinner, I served Wubs a second helping of green beans and by her request, I sprinkled a little salt over the top.
"Mmmmm, Mommy, these are SO delicious!!" Emma Grace said happily, between bites.
"I'm glad you like them, baby."
Suddenly, Emma Grace stopped chewing.
"Mommy, do you know what Clara told me in the bonus room?" (Clara is a dear friend of Wubs, who is in the 1st grade. The bonus room is a classroom at our church.)
"What's that?"
"She told me that salt will give me high blood pressure."

Have a wonderful weekend!

"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it."- 1 Timothy 6:6-7

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Our favorite frozen treat!

Some nights, when the children are in bed and the house is quiet, David and I like to sit together and chat, while we indulge our sweet tooth! (**Sidenote: Oh, how I love love love my wonderful husband! I treasure the times when we just sit and laugh and talk!) We love to splurge with an orange julius! It is simple to make, but it is oh-so-yummy! All you need is a frozen orange juice concentrate, 1 and 1/4 cup water, 3/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and about 20 ice cubes. I put all of this into our blender, and within minutes we are sipping our favorite frozen treat! I promise if you try it once, you'll be adding 'frozen orange juice concentrate' to your grocery list! wink.
And, speaking of fun things to eat... I made Emma Grace a special quesadilla for lunch the other day! We are very excited for the arrival of fall at our house!

"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom."- James 3:13

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Yesterday's rainy day activity

"You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word."- Psalm 119:114

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bella and JJ

This past weekend, David and Wubs went to run a few errands together. (Emma Grace LOVES her daddy-daughter time! )While we were waiting for them to return, I asked Bella if she would like to go for a walk; it has been SO beautiful outside! We put JJ in his little tricycle stroller and we walked, and walked, and walked. We were about a blocks from home when Bella's legs got tired.  I used to be able to allow Bella to ride in the stroller and I would carry JJ, but now, if JJ is not strapped in, he wants to run! So, I had to be resourceful. (I kinda felt like MacGyver but without the duct tape. wink!) Bella and JJ rode double, and they had the best time all the way home! Our two youngest children have such a sweet relationship; it blesses my heart so much to watch them together. I am so thankful to be a mommy!

"The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God."- 1 Corinthians 8:2-3

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sweets by Sarah Jane: so thankful...

God has cerainly been blessing our newest little adventure, Sweets by Sarah Jane! He has provided  opportunities to bake for our friends and family every single week for the last four weeks! And I have been humbled by the kindness of our friends, through whom the Lord has provided everything from cake pans and decorating books, to a new mixer.  Thank you for being so supportive and passing on our contact information, and for suggesting Sweets by Sarah Jane on your Facebook page! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
 I am having a little bit of trouble uploading pictures but here is a picture of the baby shower cake I made this past weekend. (It was striped on the inside with baby blue colored cake and chocolate cake.)
"You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God."- 2 Corinthians 9:11

Friday, September 14, 2012

Photojournal: Mr. Snuggles

JJ (a.k.a Mr. Snuggles, wink) loves to climb up into his sisters' beds to cuddle and giggle before bed! Here are some pictures I snapped just last night. Oh, I love these precious children so much! God has  blessed us so so so abundantly.
 *And our family would like to wish a Happy Birthday to Meghan! Mwah, mwah friend! I hope you are having a great time at the beach.*

"All a man's ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart."- Proverbs 21:2

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The new rule

I don't have any siblings. I don't know what it is like to grow up with a little brother, or a big sister. Because I grew up an only child, sometimes I don't understand the dynamics of the relationships among our three children. While our children love eachother deeply, and for the most part, they are the best of friends, there is one thing I simply cannot wrap my brain around.  I can't understand why they seem to enjoy 'bugging' eachother?

After a conversation with a wise friend, I learned a new rule to implement at our house. My friend told me that when her children were little, they had a rule that helped to alleviate the 'bugging'. And guess what? It is working! So, I wanted to share our new rule with you, in case you'd like to try it too! Here it is, our new beautifully simple rule that has proven very effective...
"If it's not fun for everyone, it's. not. fun."

That's it! I taught this to our girls and if they break the rule, there is a consequence. I no longer need to be the referee, trying to figure out who started it! The teasing, the prodding, the irritating- it all falls under the umbrella of this new rule. It is genius, I tell you! wink.

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail."- Lamentations 3:22

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: just sittin' on a dump truck

"Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others."- 1 Corinthians 10:24

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

daughters of Eve

Our family is currently studying Genesis, both in our homeschool curriculum and also at church. We just started a new curriculum in children's ministry called The Gospel Project, and  I love it that our girls are both learning the same scriptures and Bible stories every week!

We use our refridgerator door as our homeschool classroom bulletin board, and we change out the decorations often to reflect what we are learning.( Sidenote: Now that JJ is walking and into everything, we are a little limited to the space on the fridge we can use for our projects; everything has to be up out of his reach to prevent the possible doom for beautiful creations. However, we are still making it work! wink.) This week, we have been talking about the very first sin and the deception of satan. The girls each made an apple and a serpent.

While we were making our craft I talked to the girls about Eve.

"Do you know what I think is interesting when I read about the very first sin? I think that it is interesting that Eve didn't gobble up the entire apple. She knew that she was disobeying God, so she decided to just take one little bite. Are there ever times when you know that you are being naughty, but you still do it?  Because of that one little bite, sin entered the whole world! Hmmmmm. Before Eve got so tempted by satan that she took a bite, can you think of anyone she could have talked to first?"

"She could have told Adam about that tricky mean snake."- Wubs said.
"JESUS!"- Bella exclaimed.

"You are both right. Eve should have talked to her husband and she should have prayed to ask God to help her make a wise choice. Satan wanted to trick Eve, so he waited until she was alone so she couldn't ask her husband. And satan also tricked Eve by trying to make her believe that God didn't want what was best for her. Satan loves to tell us lies, doen't he?"

"Yes. He loves lies and tricks!"-Wubs said very matter-of-factly.

"Well, you know how Adam was the very first man, and Eve was the very first woman? They had  babies and they grew up and then they had babies. And those babies grew up and had more babies. Their family grew and grew over thousands of years and thousands of years! Do you know that if we looked at our family tree and we looked all the waaaaaay back to the very beginning of our family, do you know who we would find?"

"No."- both girls answered.

"It would be Adam and Eve, the very first people that God made!"
"WOW!!!   Mama, you are right!"- Wubs really got it! "That is amazing!"

"I know it is amazing! So that makes all of us- Wubs, Bella, and mommy- it makes all of us daughters of Eve! And just like Eve, we get tempted to sin, don't we? Satan is still up to his old tricks, and sometimes, just like Eve, we believe his lies. Sometimes, we think that we can take a little bite of the apple, don't we? But what can we do when we are tempted?"

"Tell Jesus."- Bella replied.
"Go find a grown up, too?" Wubs asked.

"Yep! You can pray and talk to God! Do you have a husband yet?"

"NOOO!" The girls both giggled.

"Well, since you don't have a husband, you can talk to daddy and mommy when you are trying to make a decision or if you are having a hard time with something. Like maybe it's really hard for you to have a happy heart when you do your chores. If you pray and ask God to change your heart, He will always hear you. And you can tell daddy and mommy, so we can try to help you too. "

Then the girls both proceeded to confess some of their sins and temptations to me. It was precious. I did my best to offer some suggestions to help them and then we prayed for God to help us in the areas that we are tempted. David and I are so thankful for our children, and for teachable moments just like this. We are excited about what the Lord is doing within their hearts!
"Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent decieved me, and I ate."- Genesis 3:13

Monday, September 10, 2012

A sweet snapshot of our weekend

I took this picture over the weekend, and this sweet snapshot perfectly describes the last few days! Even though we stayed busy, we all just enjoy being together.  When I saw Bella and JJ curled up on their daddy's lap in the office, it blessed my heart so much!  In addition to our church responsibilities, David spent several hours studying for school in the office, I baked three cakes (wow, thank you God for these opportunities!), and the children played and played. It was a wonderful weekend!
"Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me."- Psalm 31:3

Friday, September 7, 2012

15 months old!

I cannot believe that JJ is already 15 months old! The time has passed by so quickly, and our baby is getting SO big! Here is an update on our little man:
Favorite toy: Any toy with wheels! JJ loves to push around his little tractor, his trucks, and his cars. He says, "ooooooommmmmm!" instead of 'vroom'. It is SO cute!
Favorite foods: JJ still loves pizza, but he also loves popcorn, yogurt, Goldfish and chocolate milk.
Favorite activities: Taking a bath, walking!!!, being tickled, climbing on e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g,  and being outside. JJ also loves to have his teeth brushed.
Vocabulary: JJ says dada, mama, bye, baby, ooof-ooof (for a doggie), paba (pacifier), dink dink (drink), pzzz pzzz (pizza), ball, ooooom (vroom),  and chee chee (chicken).
Sleep Habits: We are weaning JJ off his morning nap, so he has started sleeping from about noon until 2:30pm on most days. His naps provide time for  the bulk of our homeschool instructional lessons, because although Emma Grace can do a lot of her work on her own, I need one on one time with each of the girls. JJ is ready for bed by 7pm and he sleeps through the night until about 6:45am!
Dislikes: JJ doesn't like to get out of the bathtub, getting buckled into his carseat, or eating sandwiches. He also doesn't like it that I won't allow him to suck on Legos. wink. And JJ almost always cries when it is time to come inside from playing or going on a walk; he LOVES being outside!
Other cute stuff: JJ will give us kisses now! If we ask, "Can I have a sugar?", he removes his paci and leans in for a kiss! And my favorite, he squeals and shouts, "DADA! DADA!" at the sight of David's truck pulling into our cul-de-sac.

We love our big boy so much! He is a blessing and we thank God for him!

"I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers."- Ephesians 1:16

Thursday, September 6, 2012

in the details

David took this picture last week while I was flat-ironing Wubs' hair. Bella had already gotten her hair flat-ironed, and she was helping me brush Emma Grace's hair. (And JJ was supervising. wink!) Oh, how I love beautiful straight hair! However, that is not what the Lord has given me. He has given me gobs of thick, crazy curls. Yep, when God made me, He gave me big ol' messy ringlets instead of smooth locks. But as I was looking at this picture, I got to thinking...
In this small, nearly insignificant detail, curly hair instead of straight hair, God knew exactly how He wanted to form me. He knew that my husband would love curly hair and by His design, He made me beautiful for David. That is incredible! One thing that the Lord has been teaching me a lot lately is that He is in full control. His plans and His ways are perfect. And God is certainly in the details- every last little one!
"But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his understanding."- Jeremiah 10:12

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Catching up

I know it's only been a few days, but I feel like I've fallen a bit behind on blogging! wink. Our blog is almost like my journal entry, and while I truly enjoy sharing our stories with you- I also love keeping a record of God's blessings, lessons we have learned, and simple every day memories, so that one day, our children can read all about it. So, in an attempt to do a little catching up...

This year, our Papa and Nana came to stay with us and spend their Labor Day weekend at our house. We had LOTS of fun! We went to the Marbles museum in Raleigh, we got ice-cream at Sweet Spoons, we went shopping, David and I slipped away for a date night (oh, it was SO wonderful!), we played on the swingset, we watched The Lorax, we ate some great food... we enjoyed every minute together! Papa and Nana arrived last Friday and they left on Monday afternoon. The time just flew by! I need to ask Nana for copies of some of her pictures, but here are my favorites from the pictures that I snapped over the weekend:

On Tuesday morning, Bella had another dentist appointment. *gulp* I honestly cringed when I remembered that her appointment was this week. But guess what? No cavities! Praise the Lord! I was praying and praying on our way to the dentist, that God would give Bella a peace and a comfort for this appointment. And not only did God give Bella the sweet comfort that she needed (she didn't even cry when the nurse called her name this time!) but He blessed us with a happy happy dental visit! Hooray!

And today, it's Wednesday, the first night of our fall discipleship classes. I can't believe it! Wubs is thrilled to be going to her new 2nd grade classroom tonight, and Bella is very excited about her new preschool class too! This year, I am going to multi-task a bit, and after I get my nursery classrooms all situated, I'm going to slip upstairs to lead the praise and worship for David's grade -schoolers in 3rd through 5th grade. I have been practicing and practicing the songs and the dances. (And I realized that I am out of shape! wink.) I am looking forward to this new opportunity!

 ps- I am going to include a  picture of my latest cake order! Angelia, a sweet, sweet ten year old celebrated her birthday this weekend with a zebra cake! She specifically asked for a large letter 'A' with zebra print, hot pink, and hearts. I tried my best to incorporate all her requests, and I also made some goodie bags of cookies for her slumber party guests. Thank you, Jenny, for allowing me to be a small part of your daughter's special day!
"For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace."- 1 Corinthians 14:33