Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Out with the old, in with the new...

In just a few days, it will be a brand new year.  I'm not really into long lists of "New Year's Resolutions" but I do have a few things in mind I'd like to try, or change this year.  But mostly, I'm looking forward to the freshness of 2011. 

2010 was a really hard year for me.  I had a massive amount of personal and spiritual growth, but looking back, I'm ready to let it go.  I have no idea what the Lord has in store for my children and I this year, but I am confident it will be good.  He has been so faithful and good to me so far, and I know He's just begun.  I'm ready to say good-bye to this chapter of my life, and step into the new one.  :) 

Unfortunatley. (or fortunately...I'm not quite sure) this has put me in massive pitch it/donate it/get rid of it mode.  I love when I get rid of clutter and junk, but it's usually then that I realize i needed it!!  Either way, it's what I am doing.  I'm ready to start over "new."


Have a blessed New Year!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Craft #2

The kids and I had a playdate this morning, and we made ornaments out of dough (made from flour, salt, and water.  Super simple!!).  Our hostess, Megan, told us about another type she tried with her kids, made from cinnamon, that smelled super yummy while making the ornaments.  I came home, googled it, and I am sharing it as craft #2!!  I love the smell of cinnamon, and am looking forward to trying these with the kids.


3/4 cup applesauce
4.12 oz bottle of cinnamon, or 1 cup plus 2 tbsp
Plastic wrap
Rolling Pin
Christmas cookie cutter shapes

Mix applesauce and cinnamon in a bowl until a smooth ball forms.  Use your hands to incorporate all of the cinnamon, if needed.  Roll dough to 1/4 inch between two sheets of plastic wrap, and cut with cookie cutters.  Using the end of a drinking straw, poke a hole in the top of each ornament. 

The ornaments can be left to dry at room temperature for 1-2 days, or baked in a 200 degree oven for 2 1/2 hours.  Decorate if desired, and allow to dry.  Thread a ribbon or some string in the hole and hang on the tree!!

The ornaments we made today are better for painting, since they are lighter in color.  I should warn you that as the kids play with the dough, it will develop the gluten and start to get sticky.  Just add more flour if this happens.


2 cups flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water

Mix until you have a soft ball of dough.  If the dough is too wet, add more flour.  If it's too dry, add more water.  If the dough gets too dry, it will crack.  It can also crack if the dough is rolled too thin.  Roll to about 1/4 inch, even a little thicker to avoid cracking.  After poking a hole with a straw to thread a ribbon through, bake in a 250 degree oven for 2 hours.

Once dry, paint or decorate as desired!  :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Immanuel, Christmas, and a craft idea. :)

Phil and I made the decision to focus on "Immanuel" at Christmas time with the kids, and not teach about Santa (other than to explain he's something pretend).  A lot of families are making, or have already made, the same decision with their children.  I thought at first that it would be hard, since I believed in Santa as a child and wanted to share the "magic" of Christmas with my kids.  But lately, the Holy Spirit seems to be touching so many of our hearts and opening up our eyes to the reality of Immanuel - God With Us.  It's really what the whole thing was about, after all.  The Saviour came down to Earth to be one of us, to be with us.  And when He ascended to Heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to live in us and remain with us.  I want my kids to grow up knowing this and seeing it as the focus at Christmas.  Immanuel is what we celebrate.  God came here.

Later this week, we have 3 Christmas Eve concerts/productions/services (I can't remember the exact word being used...:-P) that are focusing on God coming to Earth, as a baby, and how that applies to our lives now.  I am honored to be a part of it, and I will post more later (I also have rehearsals tonight and tomorrow, and as a result, this whole week is CRAZY).  But...the point of my post is that taking Santa and glitter and distraction out of Christmas isn't as hard as I thought it would be.  I will be giving my kids each a gift and a stocking, and Phil is giving them about the same.  We explained that it's a celebration of Jesus birth, and since He is not here to give birthday presents to, we each get one to celebrate.  :)

I've also found some awesome Christmas crafts and coloring pages.  I don't know that I will have a minute this week to do these with my kids (super bummed, but I'm going to see if I can fit a couple in on Christmas Eve), but I wanted to share them here, with anyone who may want to do them.  :)

I will post more later, if I get a second.  And since this is my blog (ha ha ha), let me take a sec to say that this week I have Andrew's speech therapy, a playdate, milk pick-up, a coffee date with Bethany, 2 evening rehearsals at church, 3 performances, a house to prepare for my brother coming into town and our annual Christmas open house, laundry, schoolwork (since we got behind before the divorce), and I still have to get a gift for Aimee.  That's a lot!!!  We also wanted to handmake some treats with the kids to wrap and give as gifts.  To say that this week is overwhelming me is an understatement!!  Thankfully, next week I have NOTHING on my schedule!!!

Christmas Craft 1, from Kaboose

Here's the link, for instructions.  I'm sure my kids would love to make the little manger with baby Jesus.  There are other ways to make the baby, if you're like me and don't want to purchase a wooden doll body.  Pipe cleaners bend into people shapes, or a large flesh-toned pompom snuggled inside a felt blanket.  The straw can be made out of spanish moss, rafia, cotton, or even shredded paper.  A paper cup cut in half makes a little manger, or you can construct one out of popsicle sticks, depending on the age of your children.  It's so easy to use what you have on hand.  :)

Coloring Pages here.

I will post another craft idea later. Have an awesome week!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holy Spirit

I just had the most wonderful conversation with Andrew and Amerie!!  It was one of those talks that started out on one topic and moved into something that was completely different, but the presence of the Spirit was so strong, I'm confident He had a hand in it!!

We were talking about dreams.  They were in bed and were supposed to be sleeping, and I had gone up to shush them.  :)  They each wanted to tell me about dreams they had, and after they each had a turn, Amerie asked me to share one of my own.  I told them about a dream I had when I was about their age (Andrew is 5 1/2 and Amerie is almost 4).  To this day, my grandmother still remembers me waking and telling her about it.  My response to the dream led my grandmother to believe it really happened.  My entire life I have firmly believed in it, too.

I dreamt that i had gone to a church, one that I had never been in before.  The church consisted of a sanctuary full of windows along both sides, with full summer sunlight light streaming in.  Before entering the church, there was a large vestibule, with hooks around the walls for hanging coats.  I was waiting in the vestibule, alone, but I wasn't frightened.  I looked towards the entrance to the sanctuary, and Jesus came walking towards me.  He was wearing a white gown, like most pictures show Him in.  He had on a sash over the gown, which He removed and hung on a hook, grabbing a similar sash to put on in it's place.  The two sashes were different colors, but I only remember that one of them was a beautiful light blue.  After He changed sashes, He walked right to me and said, "Hello Elizabeth!"  He knealt down next to me and we talked.  I do not remember how long, or what we talked about.  But we talked.  Like He was a friend I had known forever and He wanted to personally ask me how I was and what was going on in my life.  And He told me He loved me.  I was very aware of the joy that He had and love that filled Him.  I also remember that, although I was a painfully shy child, I felt completely comfortable with Him.  I even have a vague memory of sitting in His lap.  I wanted to stay with Him.

I told it to my kids, with less detail, and by the time I had finished, Amerie was quite upset and crying.  Obviously, this was not a dream that I thought would upset either one of them!!  I asked her what was wrong, and she started crying harder.  She said that she's never gotten to meet Jesus, not even in a dream and she really, really wants to.  I know this child, who has the biggest heart I've ever seen, already loves her Jesus very much.  So I asked her if she wanted to pray about it and tell Jesus how much she wants to meet Him.  In that moment, when I asked her if she wanted to pray, I felt the Holy Spirit completely surround the 3 of us.  He was there with us in that room tonight.  I felt it so strongly. 

I prayed that He would hear her heart and that it would be tender to her request and her desire to meet Him.  I asked that He would come to her in her dream tonight, and Andrew's, and that the Holy Spirit would speak to both of them.  I asked that they would wake up in the morning with shining faces remembering the time they spent with Him.  I asked Him to have it in His hands.  And then I told them about the Holy Spirit, and how we have spirits, which are inside of us and do all the thinking and control of our bodies.  I explained that when we die, our spirit is what goes to Heaven, even though our body stays on Earth.  And then I told them that Jesus is in Heaven waiting for us, but when He died, He sent HIS Spirit down here to Earth, to live in us and stay with us all the time.  We can't see Him, but we can talk to Him whenever we want.  And when we are old enough to know how to listen, He will speak back to us. I told them that I talk to Him all day, and He talks to me.  He tells me what choices to make, and what the future holds.  He tells me how to take care of each of them and what kind of mommy I should be.  And He tells me over and over that He is watching over us and taking care of us. 

They are young.  I'm sure that someone may be thinking "that's a lot for a 3 and 5 year old to understand."  But you know what?  They hung on every word.  They had questions and responses when I was done that assured me they "got it."  I know they understood as much as their little minds possibly can.  And they see it in me.  I am living that faith out every day and telling them about it every moment that I can.  Aimee has already accepted Christ's death on the cross, and she feels very strongly that the Lord is asking her to be baptized. 

I have been praying that the Lord would help me pass my faith on to each and every one of my children, and on nights like tonight, when we talk about Him and we pray together, I feel His prescence surrounding us and their faces shining with their love for Him.  I am reassured that my prayers are being heard and that my children are already getting to know Him. I want them to have the relationship with the Holy Spirit that I have, if not even better.  I want so much for them to lay all that they are at His feet and ask Him to wreck them.  To tear up who they are and rebuild them into a reflection of Himself. 

Only then can they truly experience who He is and what He has in store for them. 

Only then can they know the pure joy of the Lord.

And only then can they see a glimpse of eternity and the endless communion and fellowship in His court.  And what He wants SO MUCH to share with them and do in, and through, them while they are here on Earth.  I pray they desire that relationship.

Tonight, they were introduced to the Holy Spirit.  They heard, once more, that Jesus is with us and they can talk to Him whenever they want.  They talked about Him like He's a personal friend of the family, and sweet little Amerie cried because she wants to see Him in front of her.  To walk with Him, smile up at His face, and hold His hand.  I know He loves them even more than I do, and He wants to see them fulfill every purpose and plan He has for them. 

I am confident that He has my children in His hands, and that He is already calling their hearts.  And my heart is so glad.

We serve an awesome God!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I put in a previous post that I was super thankful for Tim Horton's Cafe Mochas (I LOVE them), but that I was giving them (and coffee) up.  I have been drinking tea this week to slowly wean myself off of caffeine.  But wouldn't you know it, that as soon as I say i'm going to give up coffee, I am GIFTED coffee from several wonderful people?!

This past Sunday morning, my Uncle Jeff met me outside the church nursery with an extra large (extra large!!!  Whoo-hoo!) Tim Horton's Cafe Mocha.  Uncle Jeffy and I have bonded over Tim Horton's.  I had to do my family duty and accept the coffee.  I mean, I love the guy.  I had to...

Yesterday, Wednesday, I checked my church mailbox and found a Christmas card with a Tim Horton's gift card inside.  It was signed, "from a friend."  Friend...I love you.

And this morning, when a friend dropped of his son (I baby-sit my friend Ellisa's adorable little boy, who is Amerie's age) he had bought me a McCafe caramel coffee (which I've never had before, but really enjoyed!!).  Ellisa has been under the weather, and the coffee was a thank you for helping them out with their boys.  It was a yummy start to a Thursday morning.

So...I say I'm going to give up coffee, and then I am gifted coffee!!  All week!!  I think this is absolutely hilarious.

Maybe I should say I'm going to give up dark chocolate, also...  ;-)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bedtime Prayers

Amerie and Andrew have been saying the Lord's prayer for awhile now.  I love the way their little voices say the familiar words!!  If Blogger had the capability to upload sound files, I would.  But in the meantime, I'll do my best with a phonetic version of Amerie's "Lord's Prayer."

Our Podder
Who art in Hebben
Howowed be zy name
Zy ting-dom tum
Dy will be done
On Erse, as it is in Hebben
Gib ussis day our daiwee bwed
And forgib us our trespassessess
As we forgib those
Who trespassessess against us
Lead us not 
Into ataytion
But dewibber us fwom ebulls
For thine is the Teenom, the Power, and the Gwory
For ebber and ebber


Friday, December 3, 2010


I guess this would be a post better suited for the month of November, when everyone is giving thanks and thinking about the good things in their lives.  But this morning, around 6:45 am, I happened to be out on the road, in the dark, and my mind wandered to all of the wonderful blessings in my life.  I was amazed at the number of things I am thankful for that aren't actual "things," even if some of them still were (like my minivan.  It was a joyous day when we got a minivan and myself and my four children no longer had to pile into my 5 passenger Aura).

Here they are...

In no particular order, 'cuz it's still too early for my brain to consider things like "order of importance."

1.  My relationship with my Lord.  I didn't know it was possible to have this.  If I did , I would have yearned for it years ago.  It took so much heartache and personal maturity to get where I am, but I am thankful for it. 

2.  I'm thankful for my children.  Of course.  :)  But not a day goes by that I don't smother their cheeks in kisses and thank the Lord for letting me be a mother.

3.  The gift of being able to homeschool my babies.  My heart longed for homeschooling for so long, especially after I homeschooled Aimee for half of her second grade year and then "gave it up forever."  I was so sad over it.  I firmly believe this is what is best for our family.

4.  I'm thankful for the Lord, and my new friend Julie, for blessing us with the use of Sonlight!!!  I have spent HOURS pouring over their catalog.  I'm already excited about each and every year we will spend with their curriculum, if it's still available to us.  Sonlight, and it's heavy reading, is not for everyone.  But it's definitely for us!

5.  I'm grateful for the relationship I have with my parents.  Wait...I'm thankful for my parents!!  I'm thankful for the home they raised us in, for instilling a Christian faith within us, for taking my kids and I in, even though they were enjoying the empty nest!!  It's crazy, messy, loud in this home on any given day and i have NEVER heard them complain about the sacrifices they have made, nor have they ever said anything to lay guilt on me.  Their child had a need and they met it.  They're wonderful parents.  They're pretty fun to hang out with and great to go to for advice, too.  :)

6.  I'm thankful for the relationship that Phil and I are developing.  Aimee doesn't quite know what to make of it.  When he picks up or drops off the kids, he stays to talk.  We joke.  We laugh.  He even bought me a Tim Horton's Cafe Mocha this week, just because.  We may be divorced, but that doesn't mean that we have to hate each other and fight all the time.  I'm also thankful that we can raise our kids "together," by making the big decisions as a team, even if we no longer live in the same household.  Even the homeschooling we discussed before making the decision together.  I'm sure this is of the Lord, and I am so thankful.

7.  Tim Horton's Cafe Mocha's  I love them.  I have decided to give them up, but they were wonderful while they lasted.  I'm sipping my last one as I type.  :)

8.  My church.  I LOVE MY CHURCH.  And all the wonderful people there.  They support, encourage, grow, serve.  They are examples of who/what I hope to be.  I love my church.

9.  My burdens and the work the Lord is doing within me.  He is truly breaking me and making me over.  I feel Him calling me for a specific purpose, and I am waiting patiently and preparing in the meantime.  I am so grateful for our Lord and Saviour.

10.  I'm grateful for Jesus death on the cross.  I may have mentioned it in the number 10 slot, but nothing else matters like it does.

11.  My van.  :)  See above.

12.  I'm so thankful that God always provides.  Always.  My kids (and I) are always clothes, fed, warm, clean.  Even last week, He provided for Aimee's birthday in His own special way.  He amazes me.

13.  I'm thankful that He has a plan for my life.  I sort of mentioned this above.  But my life went in a direction I never thought it would, and I have had to pick myself up and start all over.  I chose to do this by laying every part of me and my life at His feet and asking Him to take over, and I have not regretted it since.  It has been amazing, even if it's scares the heck out of me (I'm such a planner and future-thinker).

14.  I'm so excited that this year I am actually able to buy each of my kids a Christmas present.  I know presents are not what Christmas is about, but when you have four children and no means to give them gifts under the tree, this means A LOT.  They have never gone without Christmas presents, thanks to others that love them, too, but my love language is gifts and I am so very, very grateful that I can sit and think of the perfect gift for each one of my babies.

That's definitely not everything, but that's what I thought about this morning.  I also have a one year old (almost two year old!!) who is insisting on sitting in my lap while I type, and a nine year old who wants to put up the Christmas tree.  So I must get to it...

Have a blessed day!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fresh milk update!!!

We have fresh milk!!!  We've been leasing a cow from Hicks Dairy Farm for about a month now.  This is NOT the one from Eastern Market.  In this lease, I get up to 3 gallons per week and pay $7.50 per gallon.  We drink about 3 gallons a week between the 5 of us.  Every Wednesday, the milk is delivered to a local church, where I pick it up.  And because they actually deliver their dairy, they have to have the bacteria levels tested every other day in their milk tanks.  So I know it's bacteria-free, for those who are skeptical!!  :)

Below is a picture of Aimee's hand pointing to the layer of fresh cream on top.

The kids really like the milk, but I haven't tasted a difference.  I was partial to Meijer Vitamin D before, because it was so creamy and "fresh" tasting, and I think this milk tastes the same.  It was a little rough on our stomachs the first week, but now it just keeps us "regular."  Sorry if that was too much info, but I'm being honest!!  :)

To read about the benefits of fresh milk, I recommend this link.   Just click on the "what, why" etc. links on the left.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Aimee and I were just talking...

about how we want to stay healthy this cold and flu season.

She started it, actually...

"Mom...I think we need to do three things to stay healthy."

"What's that, baby?"  (I call all my kids "baby."  Except my boy.  He's my bubba...)

"I think we need to eat healthy, go to sleep early, and watch only a little TV."

Smart girl!!  Apparently she's absorbing some of what I am trying to teach them.  I added "drink more water" to her list and "keep the house chemical and dust free."  We're off to a good start!!

I've also purchased several teas.  I have peppermint tea, for upset stomachs, Chamomile tea to boost our immune systems and fight infection (it also helps relieve menstrual cramps), and SleepyTime tea has a "Throat Tamer" which, combined with Buckwheat honey, helps soothe sore throats. 

Aimee and I learned in Sonlight Core 2 Science yesterday all about the nose and sinus cavities, and how to keep them working properly to fight infection.  I'm the type that needs to know the "How" to understand the "Why."  If your nose dries out, like in dry winter air, it can't "trap" germs and dirt from entering your system.  Simple stuff, but it was nice seeing it all laid out and explained in detail.  :) 

So...some simple, and maybe even obvious, things we're doing to stay healthy and illness-free...

(Warning...you might think I'm a little weird on some things.  :-P )

1.  Vacuum all the rooms every single day, even the bedrooms, which I tend to slack on when it comes to every. single. day.  But I won't vacuum a bedroom within an hour before sleeping, because vacuums kick up more dust than we realize.  Let's NOT breathe that in...

2.  Wash our hands A) every time we enter the house from a trip or playing  B) before we eat  C) after using a tissue  D) obvious times, like after using the potty.  My preschoolers are not very good at this last one!  :)  While you're at it, change your towels frequently.

3.  Sweep at least once a day, to collect dust bunnies before they have dust bunny babies.  It's always after the bunnies collect that my kids decide to play under the furniture...

4.  Go to bed at a regular, reasonable time.  I am the worst offender on this one.  Midnight is usually when I call it a day.  But since the week of the divorce, I've been going to bed between 9:00 and 10:00 and I can't believe how much it's helped me.  I'd like 9:00 to be my bedtime, the kids usually go down 7:30-8:00.

5.  Dress warm!!  I have always been obsessive over this with my kids.  Socks on their feet, sweatshirts if it's below 50 degrees.  And we have quite the collection of hats, scarves, and mittens. You'd better believe my kids get their use out of them.  If your body has to put extra effort into staying warm, how can it put extra effort into fighting germs??  Dress warm.

6.  Eat healthy.  Obvious, I know.  But it's so important.  Especially fruits and veges, which are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.  And keep some homemade chicken stock on hand (it freezes really well).  There's no better comfort food when you're sick than homemade chicken noodle soup.  I try to make homemade soup several times a week. Reheated, it's a quick and nutritious lunch.

7.  Bathe.  Haha.  I'm sure you're thinking, "Why does this even need to be mentioned?"  But I'm mostly talking about kids.  We've become very aware of the need for constant handwashing, but are our hands the only part that collect germs?  And did you know that when people started bathing on a regular basis, they started to see a drop in illnesses?  Keep yourself, and your kids, clean.  :)  My kids take baths every other day in the winter (they outdoor-obsessed, so in summer it's almost every day).

8.  Wash your sheets on a regular basis, in hot water.  Especially if you take your shower in the morning (which means you don't go to bed freshly bathed)  Don't forget your kids beds, either!  As a bonus, you'll sleep much better on super clean sheets.  I'm obsessive about washing our every 7 days.  I'm weird.  I already said it.

9.  Wash the less obvious things.  Coats, lunch bags, throw blankets you use on a regular basis.  These things collect bacteria over time, too.  Keep them clean.

10.  Keep surfaces in your home, car, desk, etc. freshly wiped down.  Doorknobs and light switches count, too.  You don't even need sanitizing wipes.  Soap and water kills most germs, along with regular cleaning.  I bought a small spray bottle in the travel section of Target for $1, and I keep water and a squirt of Ivory dishsoap in it.  I can clean almost anything with it.

11.  Drink water.  Apparently, these are not in any particular order.  And I probably don't need to explain this one.  Water is good for so many things.  My personal trainer, father-of-my-children, tells his clients to drink a gallon a day.  That's a lot!!  I say start with at least one glass a day, and work up from there.

12.  I've already given you 11!!  At this point, I think I've said more than enough.  :)  If you have any other suggestions, I'd love to hear them!!