Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas Writing Prompt

It's Friday, that means in our homeschool we try to do something extra fun for writing. Today we played this Christmas roll a dice story prompt game.  The boys helped me pick characters, settings and problems... We wrote them all down and then took turns rolling the dice (I know it's technically "die" but come on now... let's just be real here)  Once they had their list, they got creative and set in writing.  Gavin ended up with a 4 page story complete with chaos in the toy shop and elves accidentally being delivered to a house instead of gifts.  Ryder's Santa was attacked by Jack Frost mid-air, action packed. Ledger, who isn't writing yet but can dictate and draw illustrations, included a mutant Mrs. Claus and Santa's sleigh breaking to pieces. I especially liked this activity because all ages could join in the fun at their own levels. 

It's always cool to just let them go- and see their creative personalities come out.

Oh, and also, who knew Rudolph isn't spelled with an f... We all learned something today, lol. 

Happy Friday friends!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

When real life isn't what you expected

Confession, before I had kids, I was seriously clueless and had these crazy unrealistic expectations about parenting.  You know, the hallmark card version that no one really lives out. examples:  sweet family meals, frolicking in the fields, styling little girls' hair, playing dress-up, and good-night snuggles. The reality looks more like loud, messy family meals, wrestling instead of frolicking in the fields, picking mud out of hair, an occasional cape or
superhero costume running through the house, and whining about bed-time. When our expectations aren't realistic we can sometimes feel let down about the real-life version we are given.  But what I've realized is that the version we have isn't less than we pictured, it's just different. Sometimes VERY different, but the joy of raising kids IS. STILL. THERE. in the noise, in the roughhousing, in the never ending challenge of disciplining and fostering disciples, the task of growing these kids up. It's there in the weariness and the overwhelming responsibility. We just have to stop chasing our vision, and get in line with God's. 

I read once that we should occasionally grieve hard the life we thought we would have, and then get up and thank God for the life we have.

Our oldest is practicing his sharp shooting skills for his first youth hunt next weekend, with his dad. My heart tugs a few different ways at these milestones; first I get a little sentimental at how fast these years are flying, and then I hear this little voice that's stealing a bit of my joy. This voice whispering visions of what I thought our family would look like, a family that would include at least one little girl. Tea parties, nails, hair, and mommy-daughter things are all things I don't have. If I linger too long, or let that voice grow in volume I can just kiss my joy goodbye. That voice of lies, voice of "what-if's" starts to not just whisper but starts shouting, and it's deafening and defeating to listen to... and that's a place I've done some battling in. That's a place I'm learning to have victory in kicking those lies out.  You see, I am raising 4 boys. Four hard and tender, crazy and caring, Loud and Loud and LOUD boys. Boys who love Jesus, and are growing in their faith, boys who are learning to stand up for what's right, boys who still hug me goodnight. Boys who build tree houses, but call for me to climb up to take a look with them. Boys who invite me into their world of boy things to celebrate with them! Wow, what a privilege!  These boys are WONDERFUL. They challenge me and keep me on my knees in prayer, but they are such a gift. If I allow my heart to wander to the "What-if's" and just start hanging out there, my contentment is gone, and I'm missing out on what is right here in front of my face.  If I wish these moments away, then I'm missing out on the blessings God gave me to raise. 

So join me in something, do this with me okay? Just stop. Stop wishing and pushing for your version of things, and surrender to God's. He will surprise you in all the good ways. He will supply what you need to face challenges and be your strength in the times when you are spent. Keep pouring into these souls you are raising. And do not listen to those not so subtle whispers or those hard to miss shouts that are lies. Don't listen to the list of "what-if's" don't give him even another second of your joy. Kick him out! 

Real-life is hard, but real-life exists in the common everyday things. It's in the teeth brushing, laundry doing, floor sweeping, dish washing and keeping house moments.  It's in the band-aid applying, scrape kissing, sick snuggles when they need mom. It's in the being a welcome home for your husband, a cup of hot coffee waiting. Real-life, all you've hoped and wished it to be is NOW. 
Real-life is in the kids playing outside
the kitchen window while I do supper dishes.
Don't miss out on the gifts of today to be waiting, or wishing for a vision of what you thought it would be, cause you'll miss out on the wonder of what it IS!  Real-life is ugly, it's raw and hard and beautiful and full.  Real-life is finding Jesus in it all. It's in leading these little ones to know a Savior, it's in a Bible verse that gets you through stress. It's in relying on Him when you are just done. It's in His faithfulness when you are faithless. It's in the soul soaring, praise giving freedom and forgiveness of sin! John 3:16 is real-life! This world, this life is just a vapor, eternity is a'waiting! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Copycat Takeout Chicken Fried Rice

Who doesn't crave chicken fried rice? This is a recipe I've changed, adapted, combined & tweaked from others I've tried. Hope you and yours enjoy as much as we do! This amount fed our family of 6 with leftovers for Josh to take to work.
penny-pincher friendly, Approx. cost $4.00 (I don't count sauces cause I keep those stocked) 
        3 Frozen Chicken Breasts, cubed & cooked with a little oil to brown
        3 cups cooked white rice- (best if chilled)
        3 eggs
        1/4 cup white onion
        3/4 cup frozen peas and carrots
        dab of butter to fry onion
        2 Tbs. soy sauce
        2 Tbs. Oyster sauce
        3-4 Tbs. sesame oil
        salt, pepper, garlic powder

Rice is cooked and chilled, (chilling helps it not get sticky or gooey when frying- leftover rice from another meal also works great)  Chicken is cubed and browned in pan, I added a little salt, pepper and garlic while cooking. Use a big enough pan to eventually be able to fit all the ingredients in.
Move chicken to back side of pan, add 3 eggs and scramble. Chop small with spatula once cooked and mix in with chicken.
add dab of butter and chopped white onion, brown and cook then mix in with other ingredients.
These are the three sauces I use, I don't have a preference to any brand. Add them in and stir. Smell that? That is pure deliciousness you are smelling right about now.  
Rice goes in, stir to mix and start frying. I like to brown it so I let it cook until it reaches that beautiful golden color

Dump in the frozen peas and carrots and keep frying/mixing until those are hot and tender. This is how it looks once it's all cooked.
Dish it up, and dig in. chopped green onion makes a great garnish, I just didn't have any on hand. Better than takeout Let me know what you think, Enjoy!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

An Attitude of Gratitude

Contentment has been on my heart a lot this summer. As I posted about earlier my husband lost his job, and we fleshed out playing the waiting game for the majority of the year, not really having clear direction or knowing the next step.  As I wrestled with trusting God's plan in all of this (wish I could say that trust came easily, but being totally honest, I struggled back and forth between feeling peace and then having that worry/stress creep in and shadow over me) During this wait, my faith was stretched, answers didn't come as quickly as we prayed for them to (funny how that works!) and we didn't have any control over the way things at his past job unfolded. Contentment, wasn't a word that I could relate to very well during the past 7 months. But as God provided an open door and guided us through the next step in HIS TIMING, I learned so much.

The verse, 1 Timothy 2:13 spoke loud and clear, "if we are faithless, he remains faithful" I can't say that this trial was a total victory for me where my faith didn't ever waver, where I claimed perfect peace throughout and was a shining example of how to face storms in life. I failed a lot. Many times. But God was faithful, as He absolutely always is 100% of the time. He had a plan, He never deserted us, He never failed us. His plan didn't change just cause I was stressing, or struggling or doubting. He was patient with me, and showed us His plan for our family only when it was His timing to do so. 

This fall as Josh is starting his new job and we are transitioning I want to stop and really praise God for that faithfulness He poured on us. Gratitude is what my heart is bursting with in this season. We have a list a mile long of things to be thankful for. 

  • Marriage that stood strong, survived, & made it through stress (we took some hits and have some mending to do, but our commitment to eachother didn't waver. Rock solid it stood because it's foundation is centered on, built on, totally dependent on Christ) Marriage is so hard, seriously. & also so rewarding. 
  • four crazy, awesome, fun, healthy, challenging, rad boys to grow up. Parenting is a wild ride. These guys are tough and tender. Wonderful and nerve wrecking, amazing amazing amazing. We are honored to be raising them.
  • A cozy home
  • food to eat
  • a Christ centered church family, where we go to be convicted through the Word, be encouraged, be inspired and to worship together
  • a group of friends that prays over us and is there for us
  • Family

So grateful. so so so grateful. 
Choosing contentment.
Finding the joy in the real-life we are living and focusing on that. There is an abundance!   

I also know and want to recognize that the trial of a job loss would be something some of you would gladly trade your trials for. I know there are much harder, serious and heart-wrenching things to face in this life. The verse remains truth for you to cling to as well, He IS faithful. Always. In His way, in His time, with His big picture in mind. He sets eternity in our hearts. Seek Him. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

DIY paint chip tray decor

My mom picked up this old tray at a garage sale and challenged me to find a way to re-do it.  I had been holding onto it for awhile thinking for ways to breath a little new life into it.  I knew I wanted something bright and bold.  I started by giving it a few coats of a mustard yellow spray paint.  

I came across some awesome chevron paint chip art pieces on Pinterest, and had the intentions of doing something similar with my tray. After trying a few different layouts, it just wasn't the right size to get a good chevron pattern to fit.  So I did the brick pattern instead. I glued them onto the tray, let that dry and then gave the whole thing a few clear coats to seal it.  

The pop of color it adds to our coffee table is just what I was looking for.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

During the hard stuff

This would be so much easier to write a year from now when I know the outcome, when I know how God will direct and work all of this out. When I could tell you what doors opened and what ones closed, where we are living and how God provided for us during a hard time. But the truth is, life doesn't work like that. I can't just fastforward the tough stuff to get back to the good. In fact, no matter what season in life, there is always something difficult we are facing. So this is a real life post, right smack dab in the middle of unknowns, uncertainty and a feeling a bit of wondering and wandering.  

Josh found out Friday that in our tiny little town, the company he works for will be moving out by the end of the year.  We are a one income family (on purpose and by choice) I'm a stay at home mom, homeschooling our four young boys.  This is our only income. When I found out the news Friday morning I could feel my heart just sink.  That day went on with a lot of questions, and wanting more details.  A few more details came with Josh coming home and filling me in, but actually there are still a lot of things we don't know. A lot of unanswered questions.  

However, here is a list of truths that I am clinging to.

*God is up to something

*He cares and has not taken His eyes off of our family

*He can fill me with peace even during this

*I have UNknowns. But to God, every. single. one. of those are KNOWNS

*I don't have to face this faithless, God is FAITHFUL and that fills me with hope

*Tears will sometimes flow, and that's okay

*There is still so much to be thankful for

*I do not know the future, but I do know and trust The One who does!

It's so much easier to say all of these things outside of a hard time, but in reality, it's a moment by moment choice to walk by faith.  When I let the circumstances flood in, I can quickly lose focus. 

But then I remember, God is in control and when I am weak, then He is strong. (Talk about good news!) 

So no matter what you are facing today, you do NOT have to face it alone. Get to the source of it all and rest in His strength. He cares and He will carry us through all of our real-lifeness, because the truth of it is, THIS IS THE GOOD STUFF, it brings us to Him!