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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Kids Say the Darndest Things

I called Zech into the room to do his job. Every time he winds the cord on the vacuum cleaner he receives ten cents. We have a chart on the fridge that he keeps track of it on. On the first and third Saturday, it’s pay day.

the money man gives it to you

As Zech was doing his job this morning, he told me I should have a chart on the fridge to keep track of my jobs. “Every time you do a job, Mommy, you should write it down on the fridge. Then you could get money. Lots of money!”

I'm glad to see he appreciates how much work I do around the house. I was curious where he thought the money would be coming from, so I asked him.

His smart reply, “The money man gives it to you."

"Oh yeah? Who's the 'money man'?"

"You know where Ariel’s school is; you drive past there and get your money from the money man. He lives there. He will give you stacks of money.”

My bank is nowhere near my daughter’s middle school, so I have no idea who this “money man” is, but I really want to meet him!

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Walk Through Proverbs

For the past month my Bible reading has lead me through Proverbs. I have to say it felt rather rushed. Proverbs is one of those books you could easily take one verse out of it and ponder it for an entire day. I was reading a couple chapters a day! It's full of wisdom from King Solomon, reported to be the wisest man who ever lived.

(This is taken from 1 Kings Chapter 3) One night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, "What do you want? Ask and I will give it to you!"

"Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?"

The Lord was so pleased with Solomon's request. "I will give you what you asked for! I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have!"

Solomon could have asked for anything! He could have been selfish in his request, but he was thinking of the people. His greatest desire was to be a king the people could follow. He desired wisdom to rule. That alone blows me away. I think my first thoughts would have been rather selfish. God protect me and my family. Let us live a long life. Provide for all my needs. Make me happy. Keep sickness far from me. Give me whatever I want! The list could go on and on.

Proverbs 21:21 nature photo

As I read my Bible, I like to underline the key verses that speak to me. It makes it really easy to go back and find them on another day. I wish I had a perfect memory that once something goes in, it never goes out. However, that's not the case for most of us. I'm constantly trying to remember what I've heard, and where I've heard it at. That's a big reason why I take notes, and keep them in one place. Wisdom at my fingertips!

I wanted to share with you some of the key verses I highlighted in Proverbs. It's been a really inspiring month. This is a book that you want to read again and again.

Parenting and Children:

"My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck." Proverbs 1:8-9

"My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:11-12

"Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives." Proverbs 19:18

"The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them." Proverbs 20:7

Proverbs 20:7 nature photo

"Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it." Proverbs 22:6

"Don't fail to discipline your children. They won't die if you spank them. Physical discipline may well save them from death." Proverbs 23:13-14
Hold Your Tongue:

"Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you." Proverbs 9:7-8 We have to be very careful with who we share our knowledge. For those who aren't ready for it will be driven away in anger. This can be a very tricky thing, and I believe the only solution is to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide your words. Always spend time in prayer before you confront. Sometimes it's the offense in you that you feel you must defend. Remember God is our defender!

"Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut." Proverbs 10:19 This one hurts! My mouth is constantly getting me into trouble. I have to weigh my words so carefully. I am certain most of the sin in my life starts with my mouth and ends there.

"Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything." Proverbs 13:3

"People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness." Proverbs 14:29

"A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare." Proverbs 15:1

Proverbs 15:30 nature photo

"Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit." Proverbs 15:4

"The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of the wicked overflows with evil words." Proverbs 15:28

"Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body." Proverbs 16:24

"The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences." Proverbs 18:21

"A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls." Proverbs 25:28

Proverbs 16:32 nature photos

"Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth— a stranger, not your own lips." Proverbs 27:2

This section of verses are the ones that hit home with me the most. I need to print some of these out and paste them on the walls of my home. I need reminders to hold my tongue, and think before I speak. There is so little you can do to repair the damage of the tongue.

A Godly Woman:

"A beautiful woman who lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout." Proverbs 11:22

"A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands." Proverbs 14:1

"A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day." Proverbs 27:15

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised." Proverbs 31:30
Thoughts for Life:

Proverbs 3:6 nature photo

"Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them." Proverbs 3:27

God has richly blessed us all, and yet reaching out to others is not always our first instinct.

"When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation." Proverbs 11:25

"If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you!" Proverbs 11:27

"Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up." Proverbs 12:25

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12

Proverbs 13:12 nature photo

"A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health." Proverbs 15:30

"People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives. Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed." Proverbs 16:2-3

"We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall." Proverbs 16:33

Proverbs 19:21

"The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive." Proverbs 20:27

"An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship." Proverbs 24:26

"A person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it is like clouds and wind that bring no rain." Proverbs 25:14

"As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person." Proverbs 27:19

"The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions." Proverbs 28:1

"People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy." Proverbs 28:13

"Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety." Proverbs 29:25

Thank you, God, for giving me the ability to speak. Remind me to hold my tongue when necessary, and to speak when it will be an encouragement to those around me. Show me ways where I can improve in my parenting. Make me the wife and mother that you desire me to be. Keep me from speaking evil so that I may not cause pain. Thank you for your unconditional love!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kids Say the Darndest Things

We were discussing our plans for the evening around the dinner table. It's a Wednesday, so we will be in church. I told my boys in an energetic voice, "I get to teach Club 2190 tonight. I'm excited."

Zech didn't seem to know what I was talking about, so I explained to him, "I am Gabe's teacher tonight."

The response was upsetting. Zech looks over at Gabe and says, "Sorry, Gabe. You don't get your real teacher tonight. You just get mommy."

I was amused with Gabe's rebuttal. "Mom knows how to handle all the kids and get them to listen to her. She talks in an angry voice."

I feel so misunderstood...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Wisdom From Gabriel

Yesterday I had a trying afternoon to say the least. One of my children was being punished because they fragrantly refused to cooperate with me. I had to explain to Gabriel that I wouldn't be able to make it to his soccer game that night. I was going to need to carry out the sentencing of his sibling.

sin hurts other people

He was crushed by this, and I felt horrible. I told him if I could go I would be there. I hated disappointing him.

He responded with a very grownup attitude. I thought I was going to hear a lot of words about how unfair it was. Instead, I was touched by the wisdom of his words.

"I guess when we sin it can really hurt other people too, not just ourselves."

How true that is! Our sin can be very painful for those around us. If only we could step outside ourselves to see how our choices are affecting others.

It was very comforting to see a heartfelt apology issued to Gabe when he arrived home from his game. A lesson was learned here... (His team won! I'm sad I missed it!)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

For the last year and a half I've been making the Duggar family recipe of liquid laundry detergent. It has saved me so much money! I used to buy laundry detergent at least once a month, sometimes, twice. That can range from $7 to $15 per month I was spending. Now every six months I invest about $1 in my detergent. The start up supplies are around $12, after that you simply have to buy a new bar of Fels-Naptha. Eventually I will run out of borax and washing soda, but for now, laundry is very cheap! All I buy is some Oxy clean stain remover every few months and I'm all set. It's been wonderful!!

To start off you will need a 5 gallon bucket, a heavy duty grater, 1 Fels-Naptha bar of soap, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda, Borax, and scented oil (optional).

I have used the scent one time, but haven't found it to be strong enough to actually scent my clothes. I don't bother now. The clothes come out clean, and that's all that really matters to me.

homemade laundry detergent

For a five to six month supply: (for my family of five)
4 cups - hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
½ cup Borax

First you grate your Fels-Naptha bar of soap. On stove, over medium to low heat, add soap and 4 cups of HOT tap water. You need to stir continuously until your soap melts completely.

Fill a 5 gallon bucket about halfway full of HOT tap water. Add your melted soap, the Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda and the Borax. Stir well. Once all the soap is dissolved fill the bucket to the top with HOT tap water. Stir again.

Cover and let it sit overnight to thicken.

This part is the most fun! You dilute your 5 gallon bucket with a ratio of 50:50, HOT tap water to soap. I drove around town with my daughter and collected old laundry soap containers at various recycling bins. I didn't want to need to dilute my soap every month or so, I wanted to do it all at once. I love that I have a huge supply of soap at my fingertips with no more work needed.

The easiest way I have found to fill my containers is by using a funnel, a ladle, and a measuring cup that has ounces listed on it. Remember the ratio is 50:50 of HOT tap water to soap. Your bucket of soap will have gelled completely overnight, so you will need to stir it again before adding it to your containers.

Before each use, you will want to shake the container well. It will gel again as it sits. I use 1 cup of laundry detergent for each load. I have a top loading machine.

This homemade laundry detergent has been such a blessing to my family. I love saving money!

Monday, September 10, 2012


As I've said before, I love working with the elementary aged kids at our church! It's only been two months, and it's been wonderful. God has been speaking to me through this, and I have been experiencing such fulfillment.

The first month, I was a part of things, I observed. I helped out where needed, but mostly I hung back and watched. I learned what would be expected of me, and how others were accomplishing things. I shadowed a couple adults, and got to know the kids more. I've almost learned every kid's name now, after two months!

The second month, I was assigned as a teacher on my own. I knew this was something I really wanted to be doing, but I still had that tiny part of me that was afraid of whether or not I would be good at what I was doing. I have since decided that God can use me regardless of how I feel. Feelings can lie to you. All He's looking for is people to be willing to let Him work through them.

My first lesson I was in charge of was a project center on a Sunday morning. When the kids arrive in KidZone, we all worship together with plenty of actions to the songs. DJ, our children's pastor, gets up and shares a Bible story or lesson. Then the kids break into their teams and rotate between centers. There's always a project center, a game center, sometimes a snack center, and when there are lots of help there is a surprise center. My official job on a Sunday morning is to be in charge of the project center. I'm known for my creativity so this was a perfect for me. I really love the job!

Each Monday our children's pastor will email us the topic or chapter we will be working on that next week, for both Sunday and Wednesday. Wednesday night's lesson will go into a little more detail.

My first assignment was Exodus chapter 5. The Israelites receive cruel treatment. I needed to come up with some kind of craft to fit the theme. If you're not familiar with the chapter, it's when Moses approaches Pharaoh and asks if he will release the Israelites to go into the wilderness to worship God. Pharaoh says no, and makes the slaves work even more difficult. He stops providing the straw, but expects them to make just as many bricks as before. All the Israelites are angry at Moses because now things are much worse!

After much preparation and study, I finally came up with a short craft/lesson. This was not an easy topic to cover. There are tons of ideas out there for Moses; you have Moses and the Burning Bush, Moses as a baby, Moses and the Plagues, Moses parts the Red Sea, the list goes on. But Moses and the Bricks... not so much. It's not one of those classic children's Bible stories.

The best way to find a lesson that is God inspired is to ask God. Sounds so simple, doesn't it? For some reason, I always rely on myself first. I use God as a last resort when I can't figure things out. How much easier of a time would I have had if I went to Him first?

I started the kids out with a sheet of bricks. Each brick represents a problem. The Israelites had numerous issues; I mean really, they were slaves. It doesn't get much worse than that.

I wanted the kids to write on each brick some problem that they had. It could be huge or it could be small. It didn't matter the size, it just represents troubles. We all have things that we are dealing with. For a kid, it might be things that aren't their fault, things that are done to them. And it could be things that are their fault, areas in their life where they're falling short. To name a few examples: too much homework, bullies, cheating, lying, fighting, hurtful words, lonely, afraid, angry... the list goes on.

Once we figured out all our problems, we glued the bricks onto a house. We then traced a large cross on another sheet of paper, and cut it out. I had the kids glue the cross on top of their bricks, not worrying if the cross was covering some. I had the kids write JESUS across the cross, and the verse Philippians 4:13 down the middle. "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."

Israelites make bricks bible lesson
When the Israelites had their straw taken away from them, this made their work practically impossible. The straw is what helped the bricks to dry quickly. Without straw, the clay would take days to dry, thus making it hard for them to meet their daily quote of bricks. They were now expected to gather their own straw, and make the same amount. Impossible!

We know how unhappy this made the Israelites. They complained and whined about how hard it was for them. They wanted someone to blame, so it all rested at Moses feet. He was the cause of their trouble. It was all his fault! Or so the Israelites thought.

Moses faced problem after problem, and he didn't know what was coming next or how it was all going to work out. When we see the story of Moses, we know how it ends. If we were there with him we could tell him to wait just a little longer. God was going to take care of things. God was going to free everyone! Don't be mad or afraid, God will work everything out.

Just like Moses can't see how things will work out for his good, we can only see our problem that's right in front of our nose. We see a pile of bricks. Our trouble is overwhelming us, and we are constantly making more bricks. The troubles are growing more and more instead of going away.

God knew how Moses' story would end, and He knows every page of our story. He doesn't see a pile of bricks sitting there with no meaning at all. He sees the beautiful building that's going to eventually be built. Each and every brick has a reason. If you take one of them away, the walls would weaken and the foundation might crumble. God has a reason and a plan for everything in our life. He puts it all together to make something beautiful.

I think this lesson is for more than young children. I think all of us have our own set of bricks in our lives. They just have different names. God is perfectly able to transform our bricks into a masterpiece, no matter what brick it is, or where that brick has come from. God is a miracle God, and a master architect.

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!" Philippians 4:13

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

God's Blessing Box

For a long time now I've wanted to put together a blessing's box for my family. God is so amazing and He fills my cup to overflowing. I cannot put into words how much my God means to me.

God's blessing box

The idea for the box came to me one day when I was feeling down. It can be really hard to get out of a rotten mood. Most of the time it's because you just don't want to. It's often easier to be miserable than it is to be happy.

Living the good life is all about focusing on the positive. It's about your attitude not your circumstances.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

My idea was a blessing's box. I wanted a box full of God's blessings that I could pull out on any occasion. The box would be filled with individual things that God had done. I didn't want it just for myself either. If God did something, or spoke to my kids about anything, I wanted to have a place that I could send my children. I could tell them, "Write it down and put it in the box!"

Life is really about all the little things. We forget how much we have to be thankful for.

A few weeks ago I had a little thing, but to me it felt big!

We were shopping at the Goodwill store, like we so often do. I had my arms full of treasures for me and a movie for my kids. I wasn't willing to buy the kids a toy today. We had other things we were buying.

This of course didn't stop them from finding something they really wanted. Gabe kept bringing me a dinosaur toy. I kept telling him, "Not today. But you can save your money and buy it another day!"

The woman who was checking us out told Gabe to keep it. And then she proceeded to tell my other two that they could pick out any toy they wanted.

What a blessing! Their toys may have only totaled $3, but to me it might have well been $300. I appreciated that woman's kindness so much! God is amazing!
The first thing I put in my blessing's box was the story of this one woman's consideration for my children. I don't ever want to forget it.

Psalm 23:5-6

God's blessings box

"God's blessing makes life rich; nothing we do can improve on God." Proverbs 10:22

Monday, September 3, 2012

Owl Purse Pattern

This past week was my daughter's birthday. If you know my daughter, or have been reading my blog for long, you probably know she is a huge bird lover. If it has a bird on it, my daughter will love it!

I wanted to make her something fun for her birthday and this owl bag is what I came up with. It's super simple, and adorable! The best part is that it was completely free! I made it from scraps I had on hand.

free owl purse pattern
The bag or purse itself is very easy and requires little instruction. The owl is what complicates the bag a little, but still doesn't require incredible sewing skills. If you are new to sewing you could easily make this.

I started out by cutting 4 fifteen inch squares, two for the lining of the purse, and two for the outside. I also ironed on some interfacing to the outside pieces of the bag. I was feeling a little stingy with my interfacing and didn't want to do both front and back. I just thought the owl needed a little stiffness to him so the bag wouldn't fall over. Probably if I made the bag again, I would use interfacing for both front and back. I wouldn't use the interfacing on the lining of the bag.

free owl purse pattern
Next you want to cut out all the owl parts. I included my pattern pieces. For every piece you will be cutting at least two for the front and back. I wanted to make the owl a little fluffy, so I also cut one out of a thin batting.

free owl purse pattern
free owl purse pattern
Once I have all the owl pieces cut, I individually sew them together. You place your batting in between the pieces with wrong sides together. They are going to have raw edges showing after you sew them. I also trim the batting a little bit smaller than the fabric.

free owl purse pattern
Once the owl fabric pieces are all sewn together, I clip the edges every 1/4 inch, being careful not to cut through my stitches. If you've ever seen a rag blanket, this is the same technique. I sew all three layers together on my eyes at this point too, after I have sewn the individual layers together. The black pupil of the eye I cut out of felt and did not use any batting for it.

free owl purse pattern
Now it's the fun part! You get to choose how you want your owl to look. You can rearrange the parts anyway you like. You can have him look straight ahead or off to the side. You could have his wings off to the side, facing in or out. It all depends on the personality of your owl. Make it your own!

free owl purse pattern
free owl purse pattern
free owl purse pattern

Once you have chosen how your owl looks, sew all the pieces to the front of your purse. The rest is really easy; we'll just be assembling the purse.

To assemble the purse, you sew three sides of both the lining and the outer shell of the purse, this time with right sides together.

After the three sides are sewn, I squared the two corners on the bottom of the bag. I measured 1 ½ inches for the squaring. After sewing across the black line, I cut the extra fabric off the corners. Make sure to do this for both the lining and the outside of the bag.

At this point, you can turn the outside of the bag to right sides showing. The lining does not get turned. I iron my seams open; this helps them lay flat once the bag is sewn together. You can iron a small hem to the top of the bag on both the outside of the bag and the lining. Don't sew the hem yet! Once your hem is ironed, place the lining inside the outer shell. Remember, you haven't turned the lining; it should still be right sides together. Pin the two together at the top of the bag.

free owl purse pattern
Time for the straps! I didn't measure the length of my straps. I did make sure to cut the straps with a 3 inch width. I was using scraps for the entire purse, so I basically used the length that I had on hand. I even pieced them together in a few places.

Once I had my straps all cut, I sewed them together first lengthwise. Then on the outer edges I ironed a small hem, folded the strap in half, and sewed the other side. I did not sew them closed on the width side. This will get tucked in between the lining and outer shell, so it's unnecessary. I also like to top stitch both sides of the straps once they are complete. It helps them to lie flat, and makes a more professional look. Make sure to make 2 straps!

The last step is sewing it all together. Pin your straps where you want them to go in between the lining and outside of purse, then you can do the final stitching around the top of the bag. Your purse is done! It was that easy!

free owl purse pattern

free owl purse pattern

It was the perfect birthday gift for my daughter. She loved it!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

That 70s Girl

I have never been jealous of the youth workers at our church, until now. My daughter is a part of them, and I wish I was there to watch her interact. It's amazing how quickly your perspective can change. In an instant, I was wishing I was back in high school so I could join in on the fun.

Tonight was my daughter's first official youth group activity. I don't count the welcome party they held for only the kids going into 6th grade. That was out of the ordinary; now she is one of the group. She belongs there. And it's hard for me to say it; I don't. I have always felt like I belonged wherever my daughter was.

I remember a few birthday parties when she was young that I invited myself along for. I was the awkward parent who just didn't want to say goodbye. I gave her the choice and she would respond, "I don't care. Whatever you want, Mom."

I desperately wanted her to yell back at me, "Mom! I need you! Don't go!" That's never been any of my children. I raised them all to be independent. I never let them know how much I wanted them to need me. Or how much I need them.

I believe if you're doing your job right, this is how it's supposed to be. They grow up, and so do you. You realize it's now your job to fade a little into the background. No kid needs a hovering parent. They need you to reassure them that they're okay and they can survive on their own. I'm not talking about kicking them to the curb; I'm talking about a little healthy independence. It's not easy, but it's all for their benefit. They need to know they can do it. Everyone needs the courage to be who God made them to be. It's not something that happens when you hit a certain age of maturity. It's all about the small steps you take to get there.

As I sit and write this I noticed the verse for the day on my blog, "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

I can rest easy knowing I've done my part, and am still doing my part. I am training my daughter in the best way I know how. To follow after God. To give Him her full attention and He will take care of the rest. There is so much peace in knowing that God is in control. He's got my back, and my daughters.

70's theme party clothes costume

I found a 1970's Butterick pattern to make this dress for Ariel. I believe the fabric is vintage too! I have an awesome friend who has supplied me with all different kinds of fabric. I love it! The shoes came from the last of a million trips to Goodwill. I really wanted white for her, but settled on the black. I think she looks adorable.

70's theme party clothes
Titus played electric guitar in the band for Fusion Live

I was able to watch the dress rehearsal for Fusion Live and I must say the youth are in for a treat. It was hilarious!

Fusion Live is a spinoff of Saturday Night Live. It's good clean humor for the youth group of our church.


My daughter just walked in the door. She won the costume contest! Woohoo! It was a 3-way tie. I'm so proud! Two boxes of candy and a $10 iTunes gift card...

70's theme party costume clothes


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