Ponderings of a Pregnant Skeleton

As we scurry around, preparing for an evening of trick or treating, I can't help but smile.
The livingroom is scattered with human anatomy books, jack-o-lanterns, costume pieces, children's Bibles and skulls.
It's been an interesting week to say the least.
Filled with discoveries of what's inside our bodies and that skeletons and such aren't very scary after all.
A random yet rivetting conversation concerning the meaning of 1 Corinthians 15:55
(I'm consistently amazed at what a 4 year old picks up on!).
And then the traditional decorating, pumpkin carving, costume preparing, filling pumpkin bags with leaves.

I am wondering if perhaps this controversial holiday is another training ground in which we can prepare our kids for real life.
Guiding them through the world and it's ways, helping them to learn truth as a result of it.
This is another opportunity to teach them to see things through the lense of God's Word.
Equipping them to take on the truly scary things of life that someday will inevitably come knocking at their door.

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Psalm 118:6)
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
The LORD is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)

And could it be that this night could be but another opportunity to teach these little ones generosity?
To give the candy at the door, to put a smile on an elderly person's face, to connect with neighbors often missed in the hubbub of life?
To offer a real life example of making the most of every opportunity, to engage wisely with our culture and pursue other-oriented acts of love?


A little fraulein, pregnant skeleton and candy corn princess after spreading some cheer at the nursing home.


Just things I've been considering and thinking about.
Naivete is an uncomfortable choice for me.
So year after year, chances are, I'll continue to ponder this day.

So Happy Halloween, Happy Reformation Day and, if all else fails, Happy October 31st!


The Pumpkin Process

First, obviously, we picked out our pumpkin which this year meant digging one we liked out from the haystack display at the entrance to the grocery store. Nothing too magical but quite a feat considering I'm basically already carrying a pumpkin around under my shirt! ;)

Next, the girls washed their pumpkin.
For the record, this is now going to be a new Halloween tradition for this family.
They washed that big ol' pumpkin for half an hour!
Piper kept telling me that the pumpkin would smell so good the neighbors wouldn't run away!


The next day, we moved on to the carving!
My MIL was kind enough to do the dirty work of helping the girls clean the guts out.
(This Mama just can't bend over for long periods of time anymore!)
Piper bravely dug right in!


But not without a few comments of disgust!
That's just part of the fun though, now isn't it?



Taitum also did her part but preferred to use a spoon.
I was proud of her though, knowing that she has a huge aversion to touching anything that feels strange!


Finally, it was time to start designing Mr. (er, Mrs.) Pumpkin's face!
Piper was the designer, I was the carver.
Here she is drawing her plan for what our pumpkin should look like!


In the end, I think we made a good team!
Piper had the genius idea of adding a bug to the pumpkin's cheek.
One with lots of legs.
At least Mrs. Pumpkin has eyelashes to show her feminine side!






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Slow.

Slow.

It's a word, a concept I have to remind myself of everyday.
So quickly forgotten or pushed aside for a more convenient time.
But the time is now.
It may never come again.
I could miss the beauty of her spontaneous dance when no one is looking.
Or the innocence of the song she sings as she plays.
There's the story she tells while turning pages filled with words she has yet to learn.
And then the moments of walking hand in hand, a girl child on each side.



Slow.

Let it last a little bit longer.
They won't always want to show me over and over how they can blow bubbles in the tub water.
Someday showing off her biggest, bestest jump will be just plain silly.
Eventually my heart will yearn for those quiet, middle-of-the-night moments when a little one just needs Mama to hold them to make it all better.

But somedays the mind screams with all that needs to be done.
A floor scrubbed.
A toilet cleaned.
Laundry washed, dried, folded, put away.
Dust the furniture, the end tables, the light fixtures.
Teach the littles their ABCs and 123s.
Vacuum the carpets.
Make the beds.
Now, what's for supper?
Somedays I let the rising panic take control.
As if it mattered most.

Slow.

The little one growing inside is teaching me already.
Used of God to make this mother slow.
Slow enough to hold a child a little bit longer.
To stop another in mid twirl to simply say "I love you."
To lay back and really feel the not-so-gentle kicks of a miracle growing within.



In a world that says this is not enough.
You need more.
What about you?
Your security?
Your dreams and passions?
Your sense of self?

Slow.

I am growing into the ability to throw my head back and laugh.
I have all that right here.
In the midst of the everyday.
Everyday with them.
Guided and directed by Him, for His glory and my joy.
This is the better way.



Slow.

Enough to enter their world of make believe and stories without end.
Deep conversations of heaven and fire hydrants and why we need blood.
Of hugs and snuggles and top-of-the-lung, screeching tickles.
How could I ever complain?
This grace, these blessings, a life of love and sweet perfect moments.
Its all right here.
I only need to slow.

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"Fell Apart"

Because I've been playing The City Harmonic I Have a Dream (Feels Like Home) cd over and over in the van.

Because I get to see them in concert in less than 2 weeks.

Because more often than not I put this song on repeat and sing along at the top of my lungs.

Because 'You found a way. You are the Way. You're the real thing.'




Fell Apart

Ohhh

Put me back together
I fell apart
You are Creator
You understand the heart

Mine is prone to wander
I feel it everyday
Put me back together
Won't You find a way

If You are who You say You are
Won't You be who You've always been to me
Lord I ache for the real thing
Just a taste
You're something real in a world of fake

Ohhh ohhh ohhh

Oh my cynical heart
Begs for bread from a stone
If You are who You say You are
Can I live on words alone

Tell me where's that hope and peace
Tell me where's that grace
Words that heal this heart of mine
Lord, You found a way

If You are who You say You are
Won't You be who You've always been to me
Lord I ache for the real thing
Just a taste
You're something real in a world of fake

Bread of life.
Light of the world.
Door by which I may come in.
Good Shepherd.
Resurrection and the Life.
True vine.
My God, You have spoken.

You found a way
You found a way
You are the way
You’re the real thing
You’re the real thing

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Together We'll Learn (Planting Bulbs)

Planting bulbs
Little hands dig down deep in dirt
Freshly bathed fingernails become crusted with earth
Side by side, we burrow down
My girls and I


Until it is deep enough
The seeds can be planted
Its just the right time
For this soft, fertile soil


Along the way new discoveries are made
Some that leave one at a distance
Heart pounding
At the absurdity of it all


Until courage grows
And that joyful moment of overcoming fear comes to pass
Life at its fullest
Taking on things never before imagined


What excitement ensues at the prospect of flowers the next morning
An explanation is extended
Of patience and time and reward in the waiting
So plant your bulbs, little ones
And learn the lessons of perseverance


Together we'll learn
Side by side
As you and I plant our seeds
Getting dirty in the process
Overcoming fears
Putting our whole self into the planting
And waiting for the day that these seeds grow
And bloom
Filling the world with beauty
Pointing to our King


Together we'll learn, sweet ones
These seeds planted were worth our time, our sacrifice, our love
Until the warm rays of Spring bring our efforts to light
And we count it all joy

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:2-4


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Fall Foodies

I was very excited when I came across this chili recipe on Pinterest.
I thought it was the solution to my family's anti chili stance.
Although spicy, it was also sweet!
Perfect for my 2 kiddos who balk at the idea of eating anything with a bit of zing to it!

In the end, Sweet and Saucy Chili was delicious.
And my kids hated it.
It was sweet but also spicy.
Back to the drawing board, I guess!

Personally, I thought it was a fun alternative to the usual pot of chili.
It contained chicken rather than ground beef which I loved!
The sweetness came from a can of jellied cranberries.
Delectable!


Last week, I made these Cranberry Crumb Bars.
I love, love, love anything with cranberries in it and these did not disappoint!
The only thing I'll do differently next time is add some orange zest to the cranberry mixture.
There is orange juice in it but the flavor was not evident.


Give them a try and tell me what you think!

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Halloween Preparations?

Taitum may have taken the idea of homemade Halloween costumes a little too literally this year...


I mean, seriously kid, I woulda bought you the fake dollar store teeth had you asked!!

(For those who will start worrying and inquiring, Taiter Tot and Sister were up to their usual late evening shenanigans that began with lots of giggles and shrill screams and ended with a collision, crying and blood. In the end, other than a chipped tooth, my little babe is just fine!)

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Water Play!

There is no end to the benefits of water play for young children -
It enables them to practice and improve their hand eye coordination and teaches them manipulative skills such as lifting, pouring and controlling.
It introduces them to scientific concepts such as heavy/light, sink/float and empty full.
Mathematical skills, like measuring and estimating, are reinforced.
The list goes on.
The point is, playing with water teaches kids a ton of things!
To top it all off, it is a soothing and relaxing form of play that is forever attractive to little ones!
So when I pulled out buckets of water for the girls to bath their babies with this week, they were thrilled!
The house got very quiet as they scrubbed those dolls clean!


In our Bible studies we've been learning about God fulfilling His promise to Abraham and Sarah to give them a son.
This generated lots of talk about babies and how to care for them.
Thus our baby bath time!


Once they were both good and soaked and beginning to peel out of drenched clothes, I pulled out some new tools to work with in their water play containers.
This basically included containers, spoons and a funnel.
They surprised we with just how long they spent simply transferring the water from one container to another then dumping it out and starting all over again!
This activity was a part of their math studies and an idea I got from their MathArts book.

 

There were other discoveries to made too though!
Piper placed her bare foot in her bucket of water which, of course, was followed by Taitum placing her socked foot into hers!
They just had to see what it felt like!
Taitum also enjoyed drinking the water.
A lot of it.
And it was warm! :P


Next, we spent some time learning about color mixing by adding food dye to jars of water and predicting what color it would change into once a second color was added.
Fascinating, can't you tell?!


Finally, the girls set to work stirring the colorful water and adding beads, sequins and glitter to the jars.
They took time to guess which items would float and which would sink.
But mostly they enjoyed mixing up this sparkly stew!

 

Once the lids were firmly in place there was a lot of shaking and watching the pretty contents swirl around!

 

Water play is such a simple activity to provide for children.
Some water and a few manipulatives and they are set for quite a while!

What water play activities have your kids enjoyed?



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Apples Up On Top!

Apples.
This theme is one of my favorites!
And this year we gained a new apple themed book that we LOVE -



My Dad brought it by for the girls the day we went apple picking and it has been a huge hit!
The best part was trying to balance apples up on top ourselves!
This produced tons of giggles and smiles!




We also did a multitude of other apple related activities...

Piper's personal favorite was this one from 2 Teaching Mommies' Apple Unit.
She would throw the dice and then dot that number of apples on the tree.
She continued this until the tree was full.

Of course we did the classic apple prints!

And made apple sauce!
Both girls had a great time cutting up the apples for it!

Piper filled in an apple observation sheet (also from 2 Teaching Mommies' Apple Unit).
She was very keen on making her observations and filling out the sheet correctly.
This made for a rather interesting snack time!


We worked on putting numbers 1-10 in the right order with these apple printables.
We placed them "up on top" of pictures we drew of ourselves.
Piper accomplished this with minimal help from me.
Taitum and I worked together on it.


She shocked me by knowing what number came next for all of them except 5 and 7!
This girl does not miss a thing!

She arranged them in the right sequence and worked at matching the words with the correct pictures.

Finally, Piper worked on her culinary skills by putting some apple peanut butter sandwiches together for us for snack one day.


I think little sister enjoys being on the recieving end of this area of study!





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A Thanksgiving Song

A Thanksgiving song.
Because we have Someone to be grateful to.
And the greatest gift to be forever thankful for!



Jesus, We Are Grateful

 

Jesus who rescues us from the wrath to come
You are the ark of God who saves us from the flood
You are right to judge my sinful heart
But Your glory is Your mercy
For You condescend to make a friend
Of an enemy like me

Jesus who says come forth and calls the dead to rise
You are the Word of God whose breath sustains our lives
I was dead in all my guilt and shame
'Til you spoke my resurrection
Now you hide my life inside your own
Where you whisper me your love

Thank you, thank you
Jesus, we are grateful
Thank you, thank you
Jesus, we are Yours

Jesus who gathers us like children in His arms
You are the Lamb of God who shepherds us from harm
We will follow into family
And be seated at Your table
Where matchless grace of an orphan makes
A child of God in full

Fun, Fall, Food and Thankfulness


Want to know what these things are?
You should.
They're pretty cool.
And toddlers and preschoolers alike enjoy them!


They are super easy to make - simply hot glue a round magnet to the bottom of each puff ball -
And work wonderfully with do-a-dot printables!
(If you don't know what a do-a-dot printable is, look here at a post by Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations who explains what they are and other ideas for using them!)

 

My girlies had so much fun placing a puff ball magnet on each of the circles on their do-a-dot printable!
There was quiet for a good 15 minutes straight!


Following our leaf bingo nature walk, we decided to use an idea I found on Pinterest to make a leaf lantern!
The only thing was the only instructions given were to simply use leaves and Mod Podge.
Well...the Mod Podge didn't work so well!
So we washed it off and found some contact paper to use instead!
Worked like a charm!
And added a nice glow to their after swimming/before bed snack!


Also, this.
I may have a problem.
I can't stop baking.
Can. Not. Stop.
(Pumpkin Creme Pies, yet another Pinterest find!)


Finally, our only truly Thanksgiving craft for the week -


Tait's is on the right.
She is thankful for:
Piper
Mama and Dada
Eggroll
Food
Home
"Yes, Jesus Loves Me!"
....
She came up with the last 3 all on her own.
Although it did take me a while to figure out what 'ome!' was!

Piper is thankful for:
Mama's baby
My eyes
Mookie and Papa
My crayons
Auntie Mya
Nana and Boppa
.....
I'm assuming Mom and Dad are a given?
Also, she wanted to put 'my bum' as one of her thankfuls.
I told her that was more of a private thankful!
Hahaha!
But just so you know, she's thankful for that too!

Pinteresting Recipes

Have you heard about Pinterest yet?
If not, you should check it out!
Its an amazing way to find ideas for just about anything!
I am a wee bit addicted!

I have found so many yummy recipes on there though!
It has somewhat rekindled my joy of trying new recipes out!
How could it not with hundreds of amazing photos thrown at me on a regular basis?!

Tonight I tried 2 new recipes found while 'pinning'.
So stinking delicious!
Seriously, go make it right now!
You'll never be the same!

 

And these little lovelies:
So very scrumptious!
The dough itself was to die for!
(Not that I tried it or anything...)
It was a far messier process than I expected -
It was pretty impossible to not burst the blueberries so the dough was dripping with juice.
But I'm not complaining.
The end result was well worth it!

 

So if you're not pinning, get to it would ya!
You might end up cooking something fantastic.
Or making a dessert stand out of a thrift store plate and glass.
Or learn how to unplug your drains naturally.
Or find out that you can print on fabric!!
Or discover how to make puffy paint for the kids!

And while your at it...

 
Follow Me on Pinterest

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Somedays homeschooling is so rewarding.
Everything goes as planned.
Your kids learn something.
They impress Daddy with their new found ability.

The Good:
(Piper quoting this month's memory verse.)


Other days aren't quite so smooth.
But you get by.
Besides, they are only children!
And they generally make you crack a smile in the process.

The Bad:
(Piper's attempt at singing "Yes, Jesus Loves Me")


Other days are simply insane.
The kind of days that make you want to run back to bed and bury your head under the pillow.
You know what I'm talking about.
Sometimes children are beyond any explanation.

The Ugly:
(Uh....?)


But who am I kidding?
The good, the bad and the ugly -
I love it all!
Regardless of the kind of day, I'm glad they're mine!


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How to Keep the Kids Occupied and Your Kitchen Smelling Amazing!

I came across the following recipe at No Ordinary Moments.
It smells like Autumn.
It makes your whole kitchen smell like it!
And makes you want to bake and bake and bake.


I'm not the only one enamored with this delightful playdough...


After finding it in one of their workboxes this morning, it got hauled out multiple times today!


Lots of cookie making going on here!
And a few taste tests, too!
Word to the wise, it doesn't taste nearly as good as it smells!


Here are a few other things we are going to try with our Pumpkin Spice Playdough this week:

Make the letter out of playdough on this pumpkin playdough mat.

Leaf prints will be the perfect way to end our game of leaf bingo!

I came across mark making in playdough as a fun pre-writing activity - we'll be trying it out!

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I love motherhood.

We're a smiling family.

I'm a covenant keeper.

I love my husband.

I am above self pity.

I am a nation builder.

Motherhood=Adventure

Worth more than rubies.


“I am more convinced than ever that even in the midst of the mundane, burdensome, and oftentimes frustrating tasks of life allotted to me as a mother, God wants me to find his joy. He wants every single day of my life to be a celebration of his blessings, whether large or small. He wants me to celebrate life ~ the life He has given me.”

~ Sally Clarkson







My Hubby

My Hubby
He's my bestest.

Piper

Piper
She is my compassionate, dramatic, fun to be around 6 year old. She loves to shop, get dressed up fancy and anything else that screams girly!

Taitum

Taitum
She is my goofy, snuggly 4 year old who loves to sing and dance and smile all day long!

Renly

Renly
She is our one year old smarty pants! She does all she can to keep up with her older sisters and to keep them in line!

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