Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Crafts

The kids did a lot of crafts at Sunday School, MOPS, and random other places but I'm going to just show you what we did around here. I love that the side of my fridge is covered in glittery, Christmasy-ness!

These are simple and would be a great way to pass the couple of days next week while the kids are off school and eagerly awaiting Christmas!

The Hand Angel

We talked about the angel Gabriel coming to Mary and Joseph. We used finger paint to paint each hand then put glitter on the paint before it dried. The kids glued on cotton balls and drew their own interpretation of what an angel might look like. Jack thought it important that his had ears, while Marie thought arms and legs were essential and ears looked weird.

(I'm learning that it really is better to let the kids do as much of their own crafts as possible, even if they end up looking a little… strange. But in this case, I did quite a bit of helping with the paint because hand print crafts are dear to me, and because paint all over everything is not ideal. I still highly recommend giving your kids freedom to do their own crafts with minimal interruption from you in most cases!)

Coloring Pages

Use Do-A-Dot markers for this one.

I've mentioned before, my girl LOVES to color. HERE (within these awesome packets) are some we really enjoyed that also had more than just coloring to them.

Christmas Tree Name Puzzle

We've been working hard to help Jack learn the letters in his name. He usually recognizes his name but that's the extent of it. So when I found this idea HERE, I knew we had to do it! And I had no doubt Marie would thoroughly enjoy it.

I had Jack trace his name on the pieces (Marie wrote her name herself), and then they cut their own pieces out and glued them on. Marie spent a significant amount of time using every color of glitter we have, while Jack took about 2 minutes to decorate his.

Nativity Scene

The top picture is Marie's from 2 years ago while the bottom is Jack's he did the other day. Since he had already done two manger scenes with popsicle sticks other places, I stuck with the simple. He also loves to cut and clue, but isn't big on decorating.

Birth of Jesus Mini Book

Cutting out the pieces for this was kinda a pain, but otherwise I really liked how this helped the kids tell the story themselves. And it's super cute.

((THANK YOU to the amazing women who came up with and put together these crafts/activities!!))


I highly recommend these books be read in your home every year!

  • The Candymaker's Gift (I talk about this more HERE).
  • The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (When the Grinch realizes that Christmas… perhaps… is a little bit more, he doesn't specify what exactly. Today we were able to talk about what "more" Christmas is really about.)
  • The Jesus Storybook Bible (This is a must-have for all littles, year-round).
Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Just Do It

One of our favorite traditions is running the Turkey Stampede 10k that supports the Faith Mission. (I love that even if for some reason we couldn't run, we didn't waste our money! Love supporting an excellent cause).

I debated about doing the 10k, considering the 5k instead, because I haven't run more than once a week for months. And being pregnant, I was a little nervous about surviving. But I just hated the idea of breaking tradition. And I love impressing my husband.

This race has had obstacles for me each year… all related to bearing children! But I think that's what makes it one of my favorite traditions! It has played a huge part in teaching me that I can do so much more than I thought I could.

I first learned this concept from my other half. He's always told me (not always with sensitivity I might add) that my body can do amazing things. After the last year, I finally truly believe it. And I want so badly for you, dear reader, to believe it about yourself, too!

Do you want to be a runner? Then become a runner!
Do you want to lose weight? Then lose weight!
Do you want to be fit and healthy? Then get fit and healthy!
Do you want to be stronger spiritually, mentally, physically? Then be stronger!

I realize there are road blocks. Different for everyone. But how many are simply in your head? And how many are simply obstacles that you need to push past? work through? beat?

most of them.

I am the queen of excuses. Pregnancy makes it that much worse! But the race on Thanksgiving morning was a much needed reminder that I can do so much more than I think I can. And so can you!

Don't wait for the new year. Stop making excuses NOW.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Thai Sweet Chili Dressing

This dressing was fantastic so I had to share. Your taste buds will thank me.

Original recipe found HERE.


1/2 C Frank's RedHot Sweet Chili Sauce
1/4 C milk
2 T fish sauce (or soy sauce which I may use next time)
2 T lime juice
1 T peanut butter
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 tsp ginger, grated


Heat everything in a small saucepan over medium heat until peanut butter is melted.
Let cool then pour over salad or whatever else you want to taste delicious!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pumpkins in School

Fall is my favorite.

I loved summer this year, but probably because it was cooler most of the time!

Fall is just my favorite.

My best friend in the wide world also loves fall which makes it even more special. Every year we make sure to get together at least once and our favorite pasttime is a trip to a pumpkin patch in October. This year we got to spend a long weekend at their new house with our babies and go to a great pumpkin patch!

(Unfortunately, my computer won't upload pictures from my camera so iphone shots are all you'll get for awhile).

We plan to get together every October until the end of time :) Next time she will have her own lil pumpkin! Love you, Jamie (and Eric)!

So on to the main point of this post... pumpkins in school! For Jack we are working on "P is for "Pumpkin" for the next two weeks and since he could get most of the Letter of the Week stuff done in just a day or two, I went in search of some pumpkin fun online and found great resources for both preschool and kinder! So I had to share.

1+1+1=1 has a pumpkin coloring pack for the coloring lovers in your life. She actually has all sorts of colorings packs that I am very excited about! My Goob could color all day long.

On the same website is a couple of great pumpkin preschool/kinder packs.

3Dinosaurs has huge pumpkin packs for your enjoyment.

Don't these mommas ROCK for creating and sharing all of this for FREE??? Made my night, fo sho.

I'm sure there's lots more but I've gotta start printing and preparing for the next couple weeks. We love homeschooling around here, by the way! God has been blessing the decision to homeschool on a regular basis. The kids are doing amazing. It's not all kicks and giggles, of course, but there is an underlying joy in knowing that we're doing exactly what God has asked of us.

Happy Fall!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Our Curriculum for 2013-14

We are super new at this homeschooling thing. I feel like this year will be the first "real" year of school for Marie. She'll be in kindergarten. Jack will be joining us for preschool!

So for anyone else new to this journey (and for my own reference!) I thought I'd share what we're planning to use this year. I'll let ya know how we like it as the year goes by.



Anyone have experience with any of this? What curriculum are you using this year?

((The links are randomly chosen! I did not necessarily purchase any of it from these specific links))

Monday, August 19, 2013

Weight Loss Update {Part 2}

I promised you an update after Kempton's 1st birthday. My goal was to be wedding day weight by his birthday. By the grace of God, I saw that pretty number on that day! Woot! And I continue to hang out right around that weight.

I still have 6-8 pounds I'd like to lose and am continuing to work toward that. But otherwise, not a whole lot has changed since this post over on my sister-in-law's blog. So if you haven't seen it, go check it out!

Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Happy 1st Birthday, Kempton Charles!

Dear Kemp Shmemp,

A whole year has already flown by and it has been the best year of our lives thus far because you have been a part of it.

August 7, 2012
You were not thrilled about being pulled out of your comfy home so close to mommy, kicking like a wild kid when the docs were invading. But shortly after you shocked us with being a boy, you began smiling and giggling. My heart melts just at the thought!

August 2012
August 2012
To this day it does not take much to get you to smile.

September 2012
September 2012
You are also very active. You are still refusing to walk because crawling is so much quicker. And you have places to go, people to pester. You do stop for electronics, though. You knew how to turn the TV on and start a movie at the wise old age of 6 months.

October 2012
October 2012
You know what you want and when you want it. Even Marie's God-given talent of negotiation doesn't work on you.
November 2012
November 2012
You have a lot in common with your big sis. You like to scream, for example. And you love to color right along side of her.

December 2012
Christmas Day 2012
 While you aren't a huge fan of sleep, you are a serious snuggler which (usually) makes up for it! You already know how to wrap your arms around my neck and squeeze. And you let me squeeze you for (almost) as long as I want!

January 2013
February 2013
March 2013
We named you after a man who committed his life to furthering God's Kingdom. He never forgot a name and remembered details about long-ago conversations. He had a passion for people. His love for the Lord was evident from the moment I met him.

March 2013
April 2013
Since you were born, I have felt strongly that you will change the world, just like your namesake. I pray every day for that to be true. I'm so excited about what God is going to do through you!

May 2013
June 2013
And I'm so grateful to get to be your momma.

July 2013
July 2013
I love you more than life, Littlest Dude.

August 2013
August 7, 2013

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Day at the Zoo

Our first field trip of the 2013-14 school year was at the Potawatomi Zoo! All of my sisters and my mom gathered with our various kids for some lunch and several hours of checking out the animals.

Here was my plan to make this day both enjoyable and educational...

1. Make sure bellies were full.
2. Read Genesis 1:20-25 and quickly remind the kids that God created all of these animals.
3. Hand out scavenger hunt pages (my husband ROCKS for helping me make these!), clipboards, and markers.

4. Have my big kids help me take pictures to make a "My Day at the Zoo" book.

We only took 3 pictures before Marie lost interest.
5. Have each kid draw a picture and/or write about their favorite part of the zoo.

After Marie lost her scavenger hunt clipboard, she started drawing everything. She's got a gift!
The pictures on the scavenger hunt page are all from the Potawatomi Zoo website so if you plan to head there, print one out!

While all my ideas didn't pan out perfectly, the day was a huge success! Missed naps and all!

What field trips do you have planned for this school year? If you are in the Elkhart area and want to hook up with us for future trips, let me know! We are planning one a month.

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