Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Oh, these three!  I'll start at the top at work my way down.  :)

Dede, there is no one like you!  I am so glad to have this man so close to us.  There's no better grandfather in the whole world.  Thank you for all the puppy loving, landscaping, errand running, lunch date that you do for all of us.  Thank you for all the trips and love and laughter and stories.  Oh, the stories!

Our snorkeling trip in Roatan in March:

Dad won't be seen for the next two weeks.  He's off at the beach with Mom and his side of the family this week, and then he'll be on the Navajo Reservation the week after.  Here's the to man who keeps showing us that serving the Lord has no age limit (not that he's old-he's not!).  Thanks for moving hot water tanks in and out of attics, turning a blind eye to how much it costs to spoil your grandson, and loving us always!  So glad I get to sing next to you in choir each week! 

All four of us in December:

 Isaac is the most amazing Daddy to our now three children.  Sorry, the dogs always count.  We were both raised that way...He has served me without complaint, and makes time for each kid, even when he's exhausted.  I love how he works so hard for us and still puts Jesus first.  I love you, Honey!

Happy Father's Day, everyone.  Remember you are God's child!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Five Friday Favorites

These two and their momma will be wrapped up in our arms in just 2 short days.  Their momma doesn't get to say the whole week, but we'll see her again at the end of our visit.  I don't know who's more excited: the girls, the grown ups, or the dogs!

These two darlings PLAYED together last night. Bailey hasn't been interested in chew bones for years...until recently.  He has some his own size, but after watching Sister and Cousin banter back and forth over the ends of the same big dog chew bone, Bailey decided it was his turn to try this out last night with his sister.  So, so proud of my little chi and his old age gumption!

"Call the Midwife" is a fabulous BBC series in its 3rd season.  I found it on Netflix  a few weeks ago.  At first, I was a little leery that this might make me flip out about having a baby in 5 weeks, but it hasn't.  There is soooooooo much more to this 1950s, East London period piece than babies!  The 50s music is such a gem!  Even Isaac has started watching season 2 with me, and he's a hard sell when it comes to TV.  PBS also airs this show, but not they just finished season 3, so for now, Netflix. 

Supposedly I'm on this thing called 'limited activity' until the Man Cub is born.  For those of you who know me in person, you just snorted and tried not to wake your own napping babes.  I really have been pretty good about sitting (or pool floating) for long stretches between activities this week.  But, the doctor never said I couldn't go to lunch with friends and family, and I've done that 4 days this week!  I don't know how many more of these uninterrupted lunch visits, so I'm taking advantage!  Yesterday, Isaac joined us at Freebirds for the first of the summer's Throwdown Thursday Lunch Breaks.  We had a blast loving on some teens, our summer interns, and of course our youth minister.

Love my LifeFactory bottle for drinking water with YLEOs!
Linking up with:

 photo FFaves_zps6c1a013e.png

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Elephants and Pups

Just the other night I was bemoaning to Isaac once again my overwhelming desire for an elephant.  I might have even been honest to goodness begging the Lord Almighty to allow my eternity to be spent praising Him from atop one of my beloved pachyderms.  I know, I know, but y'all!  Few creatures show the magnitude of God's creativity and delight in the animal kingdom like these giants.

And now, this was sent to me today by BarkBox.  Yep, the pups want an elephant too.  The backyard is big enough, right?!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Inexpensive Ways for Children to Serve This Summer

It's the fourth weekday of summer in my school district, and I'm sure there are already mommas hearing, "Mom, I'm bored!" out of the mouths of their babes.  And the mommas are probably wondering if it's August yet.

Most cities have tons of free and cheap things to do with kids to encourage family bonding-take advantage!  But, why not make intentional time to serve others this summer too?  You'll combat the boredom, teach them that it's not always about them (or you!) as they're stretched outside of their comfort zone, and you'll show them that families can have fun together while being Jesus' hands and feet.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

At a nursing home:

Call up your local nursing home.  They are always so welcoming of volunteers of all ages!  This could easily become a once weekly routine for the summer.  Relationships are easily built

Ask if they have a weekly craft or game time, and see if you and your kids can come help.  Take things like puzzles, coloring books, and water paint books.  Cheapo from the dollar store!  Keep in mind that the bigger puzzle pieces and wide crayons used by your littles will also be delightful for arthritic hands and fingers-win win for everyone!

For young readers, take along some treasured stories to be read to the residents.  The residents might just want to read back!

For older loves, take some nail polish, and let them paint the residents' fingers.  It's a treat!  Also bring a deck of cards.  Go Fish, Old Maid, War, and Hearts are fun games for all ages. 

Ask if your children can hang their art work on the residents' doors.  Many homes allow this, and it adds some flair to a sometimes plain hallway.  It might help you clean out their art from this school year too!

Before arriving, talk to your littles about what to expect.  Sometimes a room full of the elderly can be a bit overwhelming.  I take 5 and 6 year olds routinely though, and they sometimes are the best about striking up conversations while they create masterpieces.  School, pets, hobbies, and sports are awesome topics for all generations.

In the neighborhood:

You know that neighbor that hasn't been out for awhile due to old age, illness, pregnancy, or caring for an ill relative?  Find a morning to go pull the weeds in that yard.  Don't make a big fuss, just grab the kids and some empty grocery sacks, and go pull!  And a cold popsicle afterward will be a nice treat for everyone!  It'll be even better if you ask that neighbor to join you for the popsicle. 

All kids like helping Mom in the kitchen.  Let them help whip up a batch of cookies, brownies, muffins, or other goodies, and wrap them up with a handmade (by the kids!) tag that says "Thanks for being a star in our community!".  Have the kids walk them into the local fire station, police station, library, and your church office.  The smiles and hugs will be endless! (Often a bonus: an impromptu tour of the fire truck, etc!).

Call up the local food pantry, and see if they accept volunteers as young as your kiddos are.  I know the Houston Food Bank has family nights where littles as young as four are welcome to come help.  Many small food pantries are so desperate for extra hands that they don't care how little those hands are!  From sorting beans and rice to bagging groceries to sorting cans based on content, there is so much to be done!  If you aren't sure where a local pantry is, ask your church-they will know!
Learning what our jobs will be at the local food pantry

Clean out the toy room and closets!  Take the things no longer needed to a local shelter or the local crisis pregnancy center.  This guarantees that the items won't end up being resold in 3rd world countries at profit (yes, this is REAL and why I don't use those donation bins in the grocery store parking lot), and it lets the little loves see exactly who their outgrown things will be helping!

Get some friends together and make goodie bags for the homeless.   Take the kids to Sams, and let them help pick out things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, individually wrapped handi-wipes, mints, granola bars (chocolate free so they don't melt), raisins, peanut butter crackers, napkins, water bottles, and trail mix (again, chocolate free).  Let the kids decorate lunch sacks with Bible verses and encouragement, and then stuff those bags with the goodies.  Make enough for each kid to keep 3 or 4 in their car.  Meet back a week later to let the kids share their stories of how it went when they pointed out someone to Mom or Dad to give the bag to. 

At Church:

Call the secretary and ask if anyone needs help stuffing envelopes, folding bulletins, or making food for an upcoming event.  I'm sure that overworked secretary will have ways for the family to pitch in and will be so grateful you asked!

Ask if you can give the custodians a break, and take the kids to dust the pews one week.  While you're in there dusting, pray over the pews and all who will be coming and hearing the Word of God this summer.  

The church staff works hard over the summer!  Find a week when most of them are actually in town and not off at camp/mission trip, and take a happy hour Sonic slush up for each staff member.  Don't forget custodians and secretaries!

At Home:

Make a prayer calendar.  For each day, have the kids pick one friend, ministry, missionary, or community helper to pray for.  Incorporate those prayers during dinner or morning quiet times.  

Who else has ideas for helping little learn the joyous art of serving during the free days of summer?  I'd love to hear the ideas!!

Linking up with Kristen and Works for Me Wednesday.

Homemade Deodorant

The Environmental Working Group has an awesome consumer guide on their website so that shoppers can see what harm (if any) can come from the ingredients in the products they buy.  It's so cool, so go check it out!

The downside is that I'm learning a TON of the items in my house are in no way shape or form good for the body.  Since I'd like to live a healthy life, we've been working hard for well over a year now to reduce the amount of chemicals found in our home.

One of the first places I turned was my bathroom.  Skin is the largest organ in the body, and thanks to pores, everything that's put on the skin enters the body.  For ages, I've been testing the natural deodorants found at the organic/health food stores.  I've avoided aluminum, but finding a deodorant that works without parabens or glycol is another issue.  Yes, I don't stay dry without the aluminum, but I shouldn't have to stink either.  It's been a losing battle that's left me frustrated.

A few friends have had great success with homemade deodorants, so on Monday, I decided to my hand at it.  I used my friend Courtney's recipe, and so far I'm pleased with the results.  All credit goes to Courtney, and I'm so grateful she shared her recipe!  Better yet, this took me a grand total of 10 minutes to make!  I can't get to the grocery store that fast!

4 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1/4 C Baking Soda
1 oz. Beeswax
1/4 C Arrowroot Powder
Young Living Essential Oils (I used 10 drops lavender, 5 drops rosemary, and 1 drop time, I'm probably going to double the amount of oil)
Empty, clean deodorant containers (I used an old one that I washed and dried)

1) Measure out the ingredients.  My scale, tared for the glass dish, made getting 1 oz of beeswax a snap!

2) In a double boiler, melt together the coconut oil and beeswax.  Be patient...the water was nearly boiling before that beeswax melted!

3) Wisk together remaining ingredients.  I turned off the burner before doing this.

4) Carefully pour into the deodorant container.  This actually made enough for about 2 containers, but I only had one on hand.  I poured the remaining into an extra.  I plan on using it later...don't want to waste anything!

5) Place in the fridge to cool thoroughly.  It should be fine to keep at room temperature once it solidifies. 

Voila!  Good for you deodorant that will keep you smelling fresh on these hot summer days! 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Dad Shower

The weekend before last, two of Isaac's buddies threw him a 'Dad Shower'.  Let's be honest: this was his planned for a guy by guys.  There are no photos, and some of the details of all they did are still sketchy-because men.  And that's a-ok with me!  What I do know is that my hubby came home feeling loved and was greatly energized by his day out. 

The guys started the day at a local shooting range (um, I was jealous about this part, and REALLY wanted to join them, but I refrained.), and then headed to a local pub for lunch that lasted til 4:30.  Apparently guys CAN talk for as long as their wives.  ;)

Our group of friends do this routinely for new daddies, and it's always some variation of a 'manly' activity such as shooting, go cart driving, and darts, and then food.  Sounds about right!  Depending on who is planning, Dad-to-be gets gift cards or diapers.  Isaac got the jack pot of gift cards, and he was able to use a portion of them to buy his Diaper Dude Bag.  This thing is awesome for guys, because what man really wants to tote around wifey-poo's huge mess of a diaper bag when he's in charge of the little love?!  Check out Diaper Dude for more Dad goodies!

How do your hubby's friends celebrate becoming a father? 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

WFMW: Home Auto Repairs

Linking up with Kristen!

Y'all, can I tell you how awesome it is to have a husband whose dad taught him how to navigate his way around a vehicle?!  I mean, really!  The man keeps my school's single teachers' cars running, and I'm grateful for his generosity.  But I'm also incredibly grateful for how much money he saves our little family each time one of our vehicles needs some work done.

Sarge is MY truck, but he's huge, and pregnant belly won't let me reach too far under the hood right now.  Isaac's little brother Jacob came into town this week just to be the extra set of hands that I can't be right now.  Ol' Sarge has hit 80,000 miles and needed his timing belt replaced, so these two knocked that out yesterday.
Thank you gents for saving us so much money, keeping my truck out of the shop, and helping me!

Parents, teach your kids!  If you don't know how, enroll them in shop classes at school or find local community colleges that offer classes.  Take them together.  You'll never know how much fun you might have til you try it!  Neither my hubby nor his brother are mechanics by trade, but use it as a hobby to bless their families and others.  That works for me!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Spring Concerts

Third trimester with the Man Cub has not stopped me from using my musical talents this spring!  We have had a lot of excitement with concert season!

A year ago, our Chamber Singers group from UBC was asked to sing with the Clear Lake Symphony for their "Best of Opera" concert. The concert was May 2nd of this year, and I couldn't wait!  I had to twist Isaac's arm to agree to sing with us this Spring, and once it was all said it done, he was glad I did.  Opera sounds so stuffy and high brow, but it's really not.  We had a great time singing about gypsies, drinking, working long hours, cheated lovers, and little maids free from school.  The symphony is incredible, and this was my second time to be able to sing with them.  It's always an honor.

Before concert pic at warm-ups:

Afterwards with two of my dear friends, Kathleen and Leighann, who sing with me

Singing Brindisi's "Libiamo" at 28 1/2 weeks pregnant wasn't easy, but it was a blast.  Air support was practically non-existent, but I just snuck little breaths and had fun!  And nothing ever makes old feeling the vibrations through the floor up my body from a well trained symphony!

Then last night we had a 68 member bell concert.  UBC has a phenomenal handbell program, and I've been fortunate enough to be a part of it since 8th grade (minus 4 years for college...).  We played some fabulous worship music, but we also had fun with "The Muppets", "Firework" (Katy Perry), Adele's "Rolling in the Deep", and the always fun "Broken Hallelujah".  Just, yes!

I hear people say bells are dorky or silly or some such nonsense, but they really are beautiful.  When Isaac finishes editing some of the video from last night, I'm hoping to post one of the pieces we played.  I so enjoy the challenge bells bring me each week, and the different type of opportunity it is to worship the Lord.

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