Friday, 28 March 2014

Five Minute Friday: Mighty

Mighty is a hard word to write about. There is so much involved in that world both in creation and in my home and heart.  The dictionary says Mighty means:
1. having, characterized by, or showing superior power or strength: mighty rulers.
2. of great size; huge: a mighty oak.
3. great in amount, extent, degree, or importance; exceptional: a mighty accomplishment.

I think I could easily describe things in my life with this adjective (especially the third definition). From my daughters’ love to God’s love. So we’ll do a brief poem here.


Mighty is … the seas churning in a storm
Mighty is … the mountains stretching to the sky.
Mighty is … the prairie reaching far as the eye can see, hiding beauty within.
Mighty is … the hawk soaring through the blue summer sky.

But that is world. In my heart ...

Mighty is … God’s grace that he gives every day
Mighty is … my husbands kiss when he comes home
Mighty is … my daughters’ hugs and “I love you”s .
Mighty is … my daily chores that serve my family.

P.S. I think my creative juices forgot to wake up with me. Not as happy with this as with past writing. But, at least I took 5 minutes out of my morning to do this! I had to get it done as I'm going to be attending a homeschool conference for most of today and didn't want to leave without writing! :) I felt rushed doing this writing as a result of the other plans for my day. I think I'll be working on this more at another time (don't worry, I won't edit this post, I'll just make a new post with this worked out a bit more). :)

Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Photo Book Memories

I recently had an opportunity to create a free photo book with Shutterfly. I used it as a chance to document my girls from the last 12 months (March 2013 - March 2014). Wow! It was amazing to see how much they have changed in just one year!! Such precious girls God has given us! I chose to make this photo book to send to an aunt in Holland who I haven't seen for a really long time and who I haven't sent pictures to for a very long time. I hope she likes this book!. Shutterfly also gives codes to put the photo book on other websites/blogs so I'm going to try that here and hope it works! :)

Friday, 21 March 2014

Painting Spring

A couple of weeks ago Annalise wanted to paint. Usually when she paints, I paint too (easier to keep an eye on the mess then). I love painting. I don't think I'm the greatest at it but it feels so good and therapeutic to paint! :) I also love flowers - take pictures of them pretty much every where I go. So, when Annalise and I sat down to paint, I painted this flower:

Five-Minute Friday: Joy Comes With The Mourning

Five Minute Friday from Lisa-Jo Baker has become a highlight of my week. I find myself getting excited early in the week to find out what the word will be that we have to write about. I enjoy the practice of just writing without editing. I also find that the ideas that come in this writing time are things that I really want to flesh out more for larger writing projects (something I should and could probably do during the week leading up to a new Friday writing time)! J Today’s word is Joy and I’m pretty excited about the challenge of writing about it. As usual, my thoughts will probably be scattered and about a variety of ideas related to joy but that just means more to flesh out later right? J

Joy Comes With the Mourning

Psalm 30:5b (ESV) – Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

I’ve been thinking a lot about joy these days. It seems joy always comes to mind when I’m thinking/reading about the gospel, about glorying in the cross of Christ. Of course, that’s because, for Christians, the cross brings joy. And we are commanded to be joyful. Now, that makes people confused. Does that mean we have to be happy all the time? To this I say, “No!” I believe that Christian joy is not equated with happiness. It is unrealistic to think that, in this fallen world, we can be happy all the time. But, can we be filled with joy all the time? Yes! Because Christian joy is very much related to the hope we have in Christ, to our faith in God. Today, when I saw the word joy, do you know what the first thing that came to my mind was? It was the night I received a phone call from my brother telling me my mom passed away. Was I happy? Of course not! I was heart broken! I wept! BUT, I also had joy! I turned to God’s word and was brought to the verse from Revelation: “… ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’”  … THAT is joy! Oh, I was mourning (as were we all). The funeral was hard. We were all sad! BUT, there was joy! Because we could glory in the cross and be comforted knowing Mom believed - and, oh how passionately she believed! We could have joy because we knew that her suffering had ended, that she was in the presence of God living in eternal joy! So, when I saw the word joy today another verse jumped out at me from Psalm 30 “… joy comes with the morning.” This refers to the start of a new day that brings joy. And it does! But, I played with the words a bit … for us, with Mom passing away, joy came with the mourning. In our sadness we could still find joy!

My lovely 3.5 year old daughter also wanted to do Five-Minute Friday today. She, of course, can't write yet so she chose to draw instead. She wanted pink paper "because pink is like joy Mommy" so I gave her some pink paper and this is what she drew:

The big black thing is Hawkeye, her cousins' dog. She said Hawkeye is like joy because she (Hawkeye) makes her happy when she licks her face. :) The black circle within a circle above Hawkeye is a sun because sunshine makes people and dogs happy. And the tall purple thing is a flower because, of course, flowers are the perfect picture of joy. I love her reasoning behind her drawings! :) After the 5 minutes were up, she finished the picture with a bone for Hawkeye and then flipped the page over to draw the cat that belongs to the same household and food for the cat. :)

Five Minute Friday

Another thought:  I know these posts are supposed to be unedited but ... I remembered something I wanted to add but apparently forgot when Annalise interrupted my thoughts to ask how to draw Hawkeye. :) I wanted to write about the other thought (more an image actually) that came to my mind after I heard the news about my mom passing away. She had been wheelchair bound the last few years of her life as she didn't really have the strength anymore to walk - rheumatoid arthritis had taken it's toll on her. BUT, the image that came to mind was joy filled. It was an image of my mom in a beautiful green meadow ... and she was running, running with joy, just because she could. :) THAT is joy!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Princess Fairytale Pillowcase Dress

Yesterday I wanted to sew. So I pulled out my supplies, looked through my fabric and decided what to make. Over at The Mother Huddle, she has a tutorial for a pillowcase style dress using fat quarters. (I say "pillowcase style" because it's not made from an actual pillowcase, but the rest of the concept is the same.) I had a few fat quarters and some fabric scraps that I thought would be perfect for this so I went at it. Well, things didn't go exactly as I would have liked and I totally forgot to do the top stitching so it's not my favourite work but I still like how it turned out. I adapted some things from her pattern. For example, I like using bias tape in the armholes as it means I don't need to try to hem things in a curved line and still make it look nice - faster and easier with bias tape and it still looks super cute! :) This one is in the 6 month - 12 month size.

I like how the fabrics went together - perfect for a little princess! :) Also, I used almost a yard and a half of bias tape for the tie at the shoulders but I think I could have gotten away with using closer to 2 yards as that would have given it a nicer big bow. At least now I know what I would do differently next time! :)

Friday, 14 March 2014

St. Patrick's Day Craft 2014

Yesterday we did a St. Patrick's Day craft. The kids and I have been sick with some sort of bug and I kept Annalise home from preschool. Staying home when you know you're supposed to be out gets to be a bit boring so I decided we all needed to do a craft. I wanted to do something that Emilie could participate in as well (at least a little). So we made pots of gold at the end of rainbows! :) This is how we did it:

First I cut strips from various coloured card stock and cut circles from yellow card stock. The strips will become the rainbow and the yellow circles will become the gold.

Then I cut pots and strips from black construction paper. (You could use construction paper, card stock or both for this craft).

I also took out my photo mounting squares and Scotch tape (the tape didn't make it in the photo). This is WAY less messy than glue and I didn't really want to be cleaning up glue for the rest of the day. These are super easy to use and Annalise was able to do it all on her own. Emilie, of course, needed help.

Here I've put the photo squares on the yellow dots for Emilie. I showed her with one how to attach it to the pot and she went wild with the rest. Of course, she didn't put them where I would have put them but that's what makes her work beautiful and unique! :)

Here's Annalise working hard at getting her gold in her pot. :)

Of course I forgot to take photos of making the rainbow but basically, you take your first colour, bring the ends together in a circle and tape them together. Then loop the next colour through that circle, bring those ends together, tape them, and so on. You are making a rainbow chain. To connect it to the pot, we used the photo squares to stick one end of the black strip to one side of the pot. Then you slip it through the last colour circle and attach it to the other side of the pot. I found that the photo squares weren't quite enough to hold the black handle onto the pot so we reinforced it with tape. Then we hung them from the dining room lights! :) 

There you have it! Three pots of gold at the end of three rainbows! Easy craft, kept the kids engaged and interested and we didn't have a huge mess to clean up afterwards! :) Annalise's pot and rainbow is now hanging in her bedroom at her request. :) 

P.S. Is it bad to have 3 blog posts in 1 day? :)

Emilie's First Time Painting

So, one day this winter, Annalise went outside with Darran so I decided to pull out the toddler paints with Emilie and let her have at it. This was her first time painting and I think she rather enjoyed herself! :)
She got these paints and paint shirt for Christmas and this was the first time I pulled them out (early March I believe)! She figured them out pretty quickly and had a blast! :)

She also tried to eat them. Thank goodness Crayola is non-toxic! :)

Emilie's first piece of art at almost 1.5 years old!

And her second piece of art. She had decided the first paper was colourful enough and just helped herself to another paper. :) At least she realizes there should be limits to how much you put on one paper! :) Both paintings have been proudly placed by Mommy on our fridge! :)

December Crafts

Very delayed post here but c'est la vie! :) (FYI, the spelling autocorrect on this computer wants me to write "chest" instead of "c'est" ... rather funny.) :)

So, last year (2013) I decided to do a Creative Pay It Forward with no strings attached. Most of those Creative Pay It Forward things that go around Facebook have strings attached, meaning "I'll make something for you but then you have to go ahead and make something for other people." I chose not to do that, following the example of a friend, and just make something creative for the sake of blessing someone with something creative. So, the point was that the first 5 (or 6) people who commented on my Facebook post about Creative Pay It Forward would get something hand-made by me before the end of the year. I did one pretty early in the year (and just realized I haven't blogged about it so will put it here) and then did the last ones in December because I procrastinated way too long! :) So I will post photos of what I did and try to describe them. :)

First "Creative Pay It Forward" item - Japanese Cherry Blossom painting on pseudo-rice paper. I really liked this and it was both a little sad and very wonderful to give it away. :)

Close-up. :) Doesn't is just breath hope?

Pop/Beer Cap coasters. Because, really, what else are you going to make for a guy you worked with for one year who is now married to a woman you've never met? :)

This is a quilted debit/credit card and cash/receipt holder. It was actually quite fun to make and the first quilted thing I've ever made! (I just got my sewing machine in April or May 2013.)

The above item folded closed.

OK, so then I decided to make little coasters so this is the start of them. They had a different fabric on each side and I liked how these two fabrics went together.

One side - I liked just sewing the "stripes" for the quilting. I really like this fabric! :)

The other side of the above coaster. :)

Coster in progress. :) Ha! I actually took a progress shot! :)

Four completed coasters on the one side.

Four completed coasters on the other side.

I also made something for myself - a fat quarter scarf! :) I'm pretty proud of this one! :) Here's where I got the tutorial for that:

Another view of my scarf.

And one more view of my scarf. :)
Hmm, I also did a little pot holder but I can't seem to find the photo of that.

Five Minute Friday: Crowd

Today I want to be alone. I’m drained, exhausted, need to recharge. SO grumpy!
But the kids woke early and I lost the time I needed. This is a day when three really is a crowd. Crowds are hard. My body tenses, I feel anxiety and have to put on a show that I’m all good, that I’m happy to be there, that I’d just love to chat with all these people (yes, even when that crowd is just me plus two kids sometimes). Then he says, “you need to phone such and such and get this done.” He doesn’t know where my mind is today. He doesn’t know that even the phone is a crowd in my mind today. But I have to pretend. I’m strong. I can do this. I feel the anxiety rise another level but I push back at it. I have to do this! Phone calls with strangers DO count as crowds. (Don’t tell me they don’t!)

Crowds used to terrify me, back when I was deathly shy. These days, I’m not as shy but I’m still not fond of crowds.

Ach, there are crowds I don’t mind: church on Sundays, Coffee Break on Thursdays. But I know those crowds. I know (kind of) my place in those crowds. I can handle those - especially since I get plenty of time to recharge afterwards. And really, in church, I can just focus on the message, on the worship and pretend the crowd doesn’t even exist. :) I like those kinds of crowds. :) Or malls, I can handle those because I’m not expected to interact with anyone if I don’t want to. I can just walk around and observe if that’s all I want to do (and sometimes it is). But most times, if I’m in a crowd of people, by choice, know that it took a lot of effort to be there and know that, sometimes, it will take time for me to open up and talk. Trust in crowds (however small they might be) is a lot harder than trust with friends when one-on-one.

Five Minute Friday is five minutes of free writing and is hosted by Lisa-Jo Baker on her blog.

Five Minute Friday

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Quiet Times With God

That's what we call my morning time so the girls understand: it's Mommy's quiet time with God. We talk about it often enough and model it (not as often as I should) so the eldest (Annalise, 3.5) asks if she can have her own quiet time with God. Since she's not yet reading, this doesn't always work well if she wants it at the same time as me. :) Most times the 2 girls just colour together while I have my quiet time. I do this most mornings and what a difference it makes in my days! I sure do miss it when I don't do it. Currently I'm working though a few things. I'm reading Don't Waste Your Life and working through the accompanying study guide in preparation for each Thursday morning Coffee Break at church. I also choose a devotional to read. Currently that is the book The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning (fabulous author)! Though the book I choose isn't always labelled as a devotional, I treat it as such as it is something that turns my mind and heart to God. I also am following a Bible reading plan taking me through the Bible. The one I currently follow does not have me reading every chapter but key chapters in each Bible book. It's a good overview plan. :) Finally I end with my journal. In here I write my thoughts that I've had from my reading or just things I've thought about throughout the morning or previous day or things that my kids said/did that prompted some interesting thought or lesson in my life. I also use it as a prayer/thankfulness journal. I find that practice especially useful, beneficial and enjoyable. It is so good to start the day with God! It is water to a thirsty soul. It gives encouragement and comfort on days that start a little blue. It gives peace in times of anxiety. It gives joy each and every time! :) Perhaps someday I should start blogging about my journal entries. I'd have to flesh them out a bit but that would be a good practice to do! :) I'm eager to see what Annalise will do with her quiet time once she can read! :)

My Current Quiet Time Supplies. :) (Coffee is always essential). :)

The girls keeping busy with their own quiet time. :)

Friday, 7 March 2014

Five Minute Friday - A Willing Heart

This week's Five Minute Friday word from Lisa-Jo Baker is "Willing". I wish I had more than 5 minutes! :) This is a good exercise, to write for 5 minutes (without editing!), a good way to practice getting those thoughts we have on paper! :) Here follows my thoughts on "Willing":

A Willing Heart

A willing heart is malleable. And I wonder if this mama has a willing heart. I love my girls, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I’m just really selfish about my time and space. And willingness to interact positively with those girls is just lacking at those times. Willingness to play, to read, to craft … and in those activities, to teach. How many teachable moments have I lost simply because I wasn’t willing to let go of my own selfish desires? Today is a new day. Today is a day where I am willing, a day I remind myself of the need to be willing. A day where I need to consciously choose to be willing to play, to read, to craft, maybe even to bake (with a 3.5 year old?!?!) … k, that last one might be a tad crazy.

When I think about examples of willingness to emulate, I think about my 3.5 year old daughter. Like this morning when I commented to Darran (in pride) how impressed I was that we’ve been able to keep our house quite tidy for at least 1 whole week and that we need to make effort to keep it tidy! Annalise piped up, “No Mommy, it’s not really tidy yet. There are still things to pick up … like those newspapers! I will do that for you Mommy!” And she did! Just like that! And she was proud of her success in tidying. And I was proud of her unselfish willingness to help. Yesterday she tried to sweep the kitchen floor (and hurt herself in the process by getting the broom stuck and jabbing her gut with it). Instead of thanking her for her help and willingness to help, I criticized her for doing something she didn’t even ask about first! Instead of praising a servant heart, I criticized! Oh, if only my heart could be as willing as hers!

(Please also follow my other blog: Confessions of A Pinterest Addict) :)

Five Minute Friday