Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Oh, the Lord has showered us with so many little graces this week that are keeping this girl madly in awe of her Daddy God!  Our preschoolers at church call these events "God-sightings" and I think that's a perfect term.  He has reminded me in this week that His hand is a part of even the tiniest of details.  Praise You, Abba Father.

To begin, Thursday night we decided it was time to stop researching and testing and purchase a new mattress.  Ours is a hand-me-down, and while it has served us well, it needs to retire as an every night mattress.  We've wanted a king for quite some time, so the move gave us a perfect excuse.  Isaac really likes foam mattress but wasn't set on a particular brand.  After reading many reviews and testing out many in various stores, we decided we really like Mattress Firm's YuMe line.  The only problem was that they run over $3,000 for a king.  Um, not in our budget.  Thursday though, Michelle texted to tell me they found a fabulous deal on a bed at the Mattress Firm Clearance Center.  We have a Mattress Firm Clearance Center?  Who knew?  Isaac and I took a gander down the road, and low and behold, they could give us the YuMe mattress we wanted for 60% of the list price.  The catch was that it was a mattress that had been returned to the store with in the 100 trial period.  We found out the first owners had owned the mattress less than a week before returning it to the store.  Um, you have 100 days to try something and quit in less than 7?  Dumb for you, lucky for us!  The mattresses in this situation are returned to the manufacturing plant in San Antonio, sanitized, re-inspected to meet Texas standards, and then sent to the clearance centers.  Bottom line-we ended up with a mattress delivered to us May 21 that was manufactured February 22nd and sanitized April 4th for less than our budgeted price for a new mattress.  Yeah, God's hand is all over that one.  And Tanners, we owe you guys one!

Friday our closing was a huge success!  I'm loving that we were only there for 39 minutes.  Friends had told us to plan on 2-4 hours.  I highly doubted that estimate and was proven right.  God's hand was in that too because closing costs ended up being less than we had anticipated as well. 

I'm loving that yesterday Isaac pulled me out of the packing/unpacking mode to finally go purchase new bedding for the new house.  I hit a wall yesterday of pure physical exhaustion.  With the end of the school year, a huge concert this past Sunday night, extra bell rehearsals, moving, and social time, I was done in big.  We had seen bedding Friday at Macy's that I really liked on sale, but we both decided to keep looking.  Of course the sale ended Sunday and we didn't go back shopping until Tuesday.  Isaac decided to scan the tag to see if by chance the computer still rang up the sale price.  It didn't, but the Sales Clerk A said she'd go see if there was a sale price online.  I began wandering aimlessly around the homes good section, literally in LaLa Land, trying to resist the overwhelming urge to curl up in one of the display beds.  They looked sooooooo inviting and cozy with all of the plush pillows and soft blankets.  No one would have noticed a full grown woman taking a snooze, would they?  I'm little!  The next thing I know, Isaac is saying my name, telling me to go grab the decorative pillow set that goes with the bedding.  I looked around.  Sales Clerk A is still no where to be seen.  We had agreed not to spend $400 on this set; we'd either pick another one or wait for the next sale.  Why was Isaac saying this?  I brought him the pillows and he has the debit card in hand.  What in the world?  Sales Clerk B is ringing him up and telling him to donate $3 so she can take $20 off the price and save us $17.  Huh?  I was desperately trying to pull myself out of my exhaustion fog to figure out what was transpiring in front of me.  Isaac hand me the receipt and a huge shopping bag and lead me toward the escalator as I tried to make sense of what I was reading.  "Babe", Isaac said, "We bought the whole thing for $131."  Sure enough, whatever special code Sales Clerk B typed into the same machine that rang up the price as $400 for Sales Clerk A gave us the whole set for a whopping grand total of $131.  I have the receipt to prove it.  Don't even try to tell me God was all over that hot mess!

So yes, I love that God is blessing us with these little treats.  We work so hard to stay in a tight budget and make wise purchases, and these little things give me huge reassurances that God is pleased with how we use what He alone gives us.

On a completely food related note, I loved the first annual World Feast I held for my GT kids yesterday.  Why I haven't done this before is beyond me, but 1st, 3rd, and 6th period found me eating like Henry VIII.  I had home made food from Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America today that was enough to satisfy even the most posh foodie.  It's no secret that I have a near uncontrollable sweet tooth, but I believe my favorite dish was the roasted duck I noshed on a 9:15 yesterday morning.  Oh my word.  Delightful.  The best part was that the kids loved finding recipes, cooking, and sharing their favorite things with their classmates.  Happy kids=happy teacher.  Success!

What are you loving this week?

Linking up with Jaime.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pups Visit the New House

We're spending this week moving, slowly but surely.  I'm trying to purge a ton of stuff.  We like to live simply-how did all of this stuff get here?  I hate to call it all junk, but it's certainly more than we need.  Thankfully, most of it is hand-me downs, including all the extra tupperware, so on it goes to yet another home.  Thank you, Purple Heart!  Your handy front door pick up makes my purging so much simpler. 

Ok, on to the pictures.  Bailey and Aggie Belle made their first trip to the new house last night.  God gave animals a 6th sense because they know things that no one else yet to explain to them.  Typically they don't explore a new place immediately upon entry.  They wait to see what we tell them to do.  Last night, they darted into the yard like it was their long lost home. 

Let me in!

As soon as Isaac had the door open, off they went, sniffing every corner and cabinet door.  Aggie Belle wasted no time acquainting herself with the stair case.  Oh dear.  Aggie Belle is incredibly smart and beautiful, but graceful she is not.  I think a cow can make it up and down the stairs more quietly than my sweet girl can, and technically, cows can't walk down stairs.
Enjoying the view out the front window.
We took some boxes over today and worked on cleaning the tile grout.  Of course the pups went with us.  They make Seran Wrap look ineffective, they're so clingy lately, what with all of the boxes and in and out of the house.  Bailey is making sure that he does not get left!

How could anyone forget about this sweet face?

The subdivision pool is next door to us.  A private party was booked for this afternoon while we were working at the house. We had noticed that the shouting from frisbee tossing had died down, but when we walked out to grab something, we heard about 40 high schoolers singing "Lord I Lift Your Name on High" to the accompaniment of a single guitar.  Yep, we bought the right house.  :)

Friday, May 18, 2012


It's ours!  Nothing seems real yet, and probably won't for a while.  It doesn't seem possible that we actually own something so big.  Our house is everything I didn't want: not in the community where I grew up, it's 2 story, it's big, and it doesn't have a pool.  Yet, I am eternally grateful that my God is wiser than me and has no qualms in telling me to shut it and move over so He can work.  Thankfully, this time I listened.

We began looking at houses on a Maundy Thursday.  On the Tuesday after Easter, we looked at this house. I was shocked when we walked in that it was in our price range, but it most certainly was.  We made on offer two days later, and it was accepted in 3 hours.  The mortgage paperwork flew through the process in record time, our inspection was practically flawless, the house is just barely out of the dreaded 100 year flood plain, and closing took a grand total of 39 minutes.  Yes, dear friends, God's hand has been all over this entire process.  His goodness is humbling.  This house belongs entirely to Him (James 1:17), and our prayer is that we use it daily to bring glory and honor to His name alone.

For those who have been asking for details: It was built in 1996, foreclosed on 2 years ago, purchased by a realtor, and flipped.  There are certainly things we want to do to it to make it our own, but they're minor.  Isaac does get his 3 car garage, and the neighborhood pool is directly to the right as you look in the above photo.  We'll move a week from today. 

Solo gloria Deo!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Oh, this week has been so wonderful!

I'm loving that Saturday I got to go to the Art in History training (scroll down a few posts to see my fun!) and then got a call that evening asking me to travel with the grant again this summer.  Woohoo!  I have 16 days of history packed fun from southern Virginia up to Boston in July.  I. Can't. Wait. 

I'm loving that we close on our new house on Friday.  As long as my sub shows up after lunch, it should be a stress-free start to being home owners.  Let the painting begin!

I'm loving that our Christians in Action (CIA) club at school had their end of the year bash last night.  I got to attend, and while the state might try hard to severely limit the involvement teachers have in religious clubs at school, they can't stop me from going after school in the evenings on my own time.  I love that about 50 kids showed up to play ball, eat, learn some break dancing, eat, sing, eat, and listen to Rock give his testimony.  I love that we had a group of guys come and love on our kids.  So many pre-teens and teens think that Christians can't have fun, but I think tonight proved them wrong.  They were hot sweaty messes running and playing and laughing and being encouraged in positive ways.  The guys showed the kids how to have fun on the court/field using encouraging, uplifting words instead of making everything a show-off competition that gets ugly.  Then they showed our kids how to break dance.  A worship team from a local church came to lead praise and worship.  Rock, our police officer's son, came and gave his testimony.  I've mentioned him before; he's been helping with the weekly Wednesday morning meetings.  He was in prison by 16 and served a 15 year sentence.  Rock relates to the kids so well.  Our school is now 51% minority and 1/3 economically disadvantage, so these kids need role models who aren't just the white lady teachers in the classrooms.  I think I'm cool, but let's face it-I'm not.  God has answered our prayers to bring in role models and solid Christian leadership.  And, I get to cuddle sweet baby Gabriel, so everybody is happy!  I wish FERPA didn't prevent me from posting pictures of the kids, so you'll just have to trust me when I say they had fun and were totally engaged.  What a privilege to worship with students and silently pray over them while the Gospel was presented to them.  Our God is so great!  I can't wait to see the fruit that comes from our continued prayers.
The break dancing team

What are you loving this week?

Linking up with Jamie.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Nothing...we were too full from brunch!

Monday: Grilled Hamburgers, Carrots, Chips

Tuesday: Aunt Donna's Awesome Pasta

Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner

Thursday: Final House Walk Through so probably Cicis

Friday: House Closing: Out somewhere

Saturday: Out/Carryout depending on where we are in the slow-to-come moving process

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mommy's Day

I love my Nanny and Mom!  The three of us, along with each of our significant others, celebrated them after church with brunch at Tommy's.  Yum!  I'm so grateful to have these two living so close to me.

My babies signed a card with their paws in paint.  I don't know how Isaac pulled that off with these wiggle worms, but he did!  They are precious cuddlers for their mommy.  The three of them got me a Kirkland's gift card so I can start decorating the new house.  Yay!

And as for human children, well, after two years of being told our girl is adoptable and trying to figure out the huge tangle of legal mess for adopting out of Zambia, we found out Friday that we had been given mis-information.  Back to square one and healing a very, very broken Momma's heart.  God's sovereign; she'll always be our girl, and we'll be ready for the next one He brings our way.  Pain or not, none of it changes who God is and that He is the ultimate Daddy to all.  For this control freak (aka ME), that MUST be enough.  Keep praying for us to make wise choices in all we do to bring glory to His Name.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Teaching American History Grant Art in History

I was invited to join the current members of the Teaching American History Grant for this month's training.  It was from our fabulous friends at Art in History.  They write awesome curriculum for various time periods and wrap it up with an authentic replica of an artifact from the era.  It's a blast to go to the trainings, and then when I take back to the kids, they love it!

The grant is currently up to the Civil War, so this lesson was about using newspapers as primary sources and the artifact was face jugs.

We spent the morning perusing real editions of Harper's Weekly from 1860-1865.  We each were given our own edition to read.  I had September 28, 1861.  It was about Captain Strong's capture and escape from the 'rebels', the rumors of a battle on the Potomac and how if the Nation loses, they must rally or be ashamed of themselves, the debate on whether state sovereignty declared in the Declaration of Independence truly meant to allow for states to separate, and lots and lots of gossip.  There was an engraving from the Niagara River with the Canadian border in the background.  I especially enjoyed that since so many of us had traveled there last summer for the grant.  The 'humor of the day' section was great fun.   No one was worried about being politically correct.  No one was worried about stepping on toes or being offended.  It just was what it was, and folks moved on.  How nice!  We shared our papers and laughed and laughed and laughed.  Don't ever say history teachers are boring.  This group especially lives by the quote, "Well behaved women rarely make history."  Granted, none of us are truly ill-behaved, but we know how to have fun!

The face jugs are hideous, but they were used by the slaves as grave markers.  Slaves weren't allowed to mark their graves with their names, but they made these jugs individual to the person to serve two purposes: to identify the grave and to ward off evil spirits.  One of these would at least ward off me!   My goodness!  I can see a room of 8th graders getting a huge kick out of this though!
How the face jug looks straight out of the box.
The base coat is on.
Making it look aged and dirty
Final product.  Pretty cool!
The best part of the day was after training.  The grant coordinator called to ask me if I could fill a spot on this summer's trip!  I'm not even officially a member of this new round of the grant, but she wants me any way.  WHOOP!  I'll spend half of July exploring colonial and Civil War America from Jamestown up to Boston.  TWO summers in a row with time in DC??!  I'm there!  I'm so excited I've been making Isaac crazy the past few hours, but that's ok!  God has given me an unbelievable gift to continue filling my brain with knowledge, and I am grateful.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Vow: Book and Movie Review

I'm such a movie buff, but any time I hear that a movie is even loosely based on a book, I beeline for the library website to see if I can check it out or if I need to find a cheap resale. The Vow was no different.

The story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter is precious.  They met on the phone and quickly fell in love through their conversations.  Their deep faith in Christ guided their relationship, and not many months after meeting, they were married.  They were raised in small town Southwest America, and baseball was Kim's life.  Krickitt was a college gymnast.  While driving to Kim's house for Thanksgiving, they were in a terrible car wreck that left them both injured, but Krickitt was in the worst shape.  She suffered permanent brain damage that ultimately resulted in short term memory loss.  Krickitt will never remember her wedding or even meeting Kim.  He worked tirelessly alongside Krickitt's parents to help her physically rehabilitate, and then to win back her heart.  Kim was bound and determined not to break his wedding vows.  What a testament of God's love and integrity!

If the movie version of The Vow hadn't tried to piece meal teeny parts Kim and Krickitt's story, it would be a sweet stand alone story.  But to take the same title of a book that brings honorable glory to God, the film falls so short.  It destroys family values and relationships in the name of entertainment.  Sad day.  And Channing Tatum's character Leo is so short in a tough situation that it's pretty frustrating to watch.  I tried hard not to compare the two, but I failed. 

Anyway, read the book!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm loving that there are only 16 more days of school!  Not only does it mean summer is right around the corner, but it means that we'll be in our new house really, really soon!

I'm in love with this princess.  This is Layla.  She was born May 3rd and is my niece!  David and Laura will be picking her up around the end of June.  She's a shichon. I think she's going to be spoiled.  :)

I love these two pups!  They love their mommy, too; can you tell?!

I love that I have a husband who doesn't get whiny when life keeps me from being at home in the evenings for days on end.  It's one of those weeks around the Ozinga house.  Isaac picks up where I left off and makes the best of it.

Texas mandates a required cross-curricular project for all students involved in Gifted and Talented programs, which means half of my classes were involved in this.  Ugh.  It's like punishment for smart kids and their teachers.  It's not as if we don't already do tons of this sort of thing all year and have fun with it, but one more thing seemed like a chore.  Thankfully, the kids didn't pick up on that much; we let them research their passions.  So, while I didn't love the requirement, I loved their final products!  It was such a hoot to hear and see their presentations today.  Lots of dance, baseball, and other sports, and lots of animals.  Here are two of my favorites from 3rd period:
The homemade pizza represents a drum and the bread sticks are the drum sticks.  Truly a GT kid kind of project!  Love it!

This kid's passion is football, and the cake was a perfect visual aid for the presentation!

I love that it's Teacher Appreciation Week.  No, I don't teach for the kudos, but it is nice to know that all of my efforts aren't in vain from time to time.  Yesterday our principal had a tasty Italian lunch catered for us, and the moms that pray for our campus brought in goodies to stock the lounge for the day.  Today the cheerleaders brought in breakfast for us, and one of the teacher's sister's-in-law made these awesome cake pops shaped like apples and cookies decorated like our mascot.  Super cute and very yummy! 

I love listening to Isaac teach himself how to play piano out of the hymnal.  He can read music and has actively been playing violin for 18 years, but in the last couple of weeks, he has become bound and determined to learn piano.  I help when it's requested of me, and otherwise just enjoy what I hear.  Now I know why my parents let me bang away for hours-it's fun to be on the listening end, even with missed notes!  :)

What are you loving this week?

Linking up with Jamie.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Train Cookie Cake

Isaac was asked to make Erica's birthday cake for her party this past Saturday's.  Erica can't have egg product, so Isaac played around with recipes to make the perfect cookie cake for her using egg re-placer.  This was so tasty, and Erica LOVED her choo-choo train cake, complete with girly colors.  I'm a proud wife!  Thanks for trusting him with this, Kim!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Meal Planning Monday

This is one of those weeks. 

Sunday: BBQ Sandwiches, carrots, and chips...Sam's had really yummy Jack Daniel's BBQ on special, so we're going to eat through that this week. 

Monday: I have dinner/VBS training rally at church; Isaac's on his own.

Tuesday: CLF training for the district so I can then train others; I'm fed but Isaac's on his own.

Wednesday: BBQ Baked Potatos

Thursday: Round 2 of CLF; Isaac's on his own.

Friday: Grilled Chicken and Veggies

Saturday: BOGO coupon for Cullen's and to celebrate surviving this week! 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Partying Away the Weekend

We party hopped Friday and Saturday like we were the most popular folks in town.  If you really know us, you'd realize just how strange that is for these homebodies!  I must say we had so much fun enjoying friends and family.

My brother David works for Blue Cross, and he was given an entire table for this year's American Diabetes Association Gala in Houston.  While I think I definitely am not cut out to be a socialite, it was a blast to dress up and have a nice dinner with my family.  David and Laura invited her parents, our parents, and Laura's best friend Anna and her mom. 

David, Laura, me, Isaac, Mom, and Dad

Saturday morning we had a fun little party to attend for our friends' daughter Erica.  Kim and Eric are sweet friends from church, and Miss Erica is a true Cinco de Mayo baby.  We celebrated her 2nd birthday with lots of swinging, lunch, cookie cake, and of course, a pinata.  It can't be a Cinco de Mayo birthday without a pinata! 

Saturday evening we had a birthday party in the park for my sweet childhood friend Kristin's 30th birthday.  More hot dogs and cupcakes!  It was a treat to catch up with old friends from church that have moved on to other places, or at least other parts of town. 

Our last stop wasn't quite a party, but we had a 'moon party' just the four of us on the beach.  Isaac had been checking the cloud forecast all day in an attempt to decide if the best place to see the full moon rise would be at home or down in Galveston.  All day, the best bet was Galveston.  Of course, as soon as we got there, we had nearly complete cloud cover.  We decided to walk a bit of the seawall anyway.  The breeze thinned out the clouds and we did get about 20 minutes of moon sighting, but we missed the actual super moon rise.  Oh well.  It was incredibly pretty; all I needed was a pirate ship to set the scene perfectly!  Ha. 

Note to self: our pups are treated much too closely to children to forget that their schedule is their schedule.  Taking them out late and being 45 minutes from home when it was their own self-appointed bed time meant a complete puppy meltdown for both of them.  Good grief!  At least they slept well once we finally made it to bed.
Why is it dark at the beach?
What do you mean it's too dark to go swimming?!
Windy, windy, but it was our friend; it broke the clouds so we could see the moon!

Our God is so creative and good, isn't He?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Brought to you by Bailey and Aggie Belle!

We hijacked Mommy's blog to do today's post.  There are so many things we love!

Bailey: I LOVE cuddling in the Snuggly while Mommy does housework.

Aggie Belle: That's not fair.  I'm too big!

Bailey: Deal with it, Pup!

Aggie Belle: Well, I love tummy rubs.  I've decided I am no longer a turtle, and I will show my belly to anyone who will put a hand-or a foot-out to scratch me!

Bailey: You're only a turtle because I taught you how fun it is to get tummy rubs.

Aggie Belle: So?  Mom, Brother's being mean!  I love going to Cherry Berry for frozen vanilla yogurt!

Bailey: Oh, me too!  I love that Mommy has felt so good the past few days because we've gotten to go bye-bye more and go on longer walks.

Aggie Belle: I love that you will sometimes cuddle with me.

Bailey: Aggie Belle!  You are not supposed to tell my secret!  No one will think I'm a tough boy anymore, cuddling with my baby sister.

Aggie Belle: hehehe.  I love that Mom and Dad have bought a house! 

Bailey: Me too!  I haven't seen it yet, but Mommy keeps telling me there are windows by the front door like at Mama's old house.

AGgie Belle: Yay!

Bailey: Pup, what are you talking about?  You don't know Mama's old house.  You weren't even born yet.

Aggie Belle: Oh.  Well, it sounds fun!  Then I can really guard this house.  And Mommy and Daddy say we have to be good stewards with our new house.  They said we might let less fortunate doggies and people come stay with us sometimes.   Oh boy! 

Bailey: Wait, what?!  More pups and kids in this house?  Who signed me up for this?  I didn't give my permission for that!

Aggie Belle: Now, Bailey, Daddy is always telling us we need to help others and live like Jesus.  What is Mommy wouldn't have taken you in? 

Bailey: Fine.  But don't think I have to like it. 

What are you loving this week?

Linking up with Jamie!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Book Review: Beverly Lewis's The Fiddler

Beverly Lewis has been one of my favorite authors since middle school.  She weaves intricate stories of God's pursuance of human hearts with the simplicity of Amish lifestyles, and the complications that come from living in a community that is so different from the world around it.  The Fiddler is Beverly's newest novel, and it did not disappoint.  I read through it quickly this weekend, enjoying the variations on modern life and the characters' torn desires between the world and God's calling.  I love her honesty in showing that not all Amish stay Amish, and that no matter what, God pursues us until we relent. 
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