Monday, May 31, 2010

Fab Finds for the End of May!

I found some serious inspiration and thought this week!  I just have to share all of this with all of you!

First off- isn't this just beautiful?!  I found this pic on this post by The CSI Project and it took my breath away!  I'm in love!  There are also sorts of other cool inspiring photos on that post, so you should really check it out!

Here are some words from Michelle Duggar on discipline and encouragement for your children.  I love what she has to say, however she doesn't ever seem tog et around to answering the question of whether or not they spank.  My guess is they either don't or they feel it is too private a matter to share with the world (in order to avoid scrutiny and criticism).

This is a great post from on how to prepare your car for summer from Organize and Decorate Everything.  I really need to get on this- it is a great idea!

Yet another beautiful flower tutorial!!!  This one comes courtesy of Shanty2Chic.  We finally got paid and a glue gun is on my list (yes- gasp!  I don't have one!)!  I have great plans for this little flower!

This was such a good post from A Holy Experience all about the marriage bed.  I especially like The Love Collecting Box- so make sure you scroll down!

I may just have to make these cupcakes from Hoosier Homemade for Lion Cub's upcoming birthday!  Aren't they cute!?


Oh and have you heard that Carisa at 1+1+1=1 opened her "Members Only" section?!  Guess how much she is charging for a lifetime membership?  $10!!!!  I told her she was crazy but am also incredibly grateful!!  I am so indebted to this wonderful lady for all the inspiration and resources she has given us (and everyone) for homeschooling!  We are definitely going to get our membership at the end of the summer when we officially kick off our school year!

Granola Mom 4 God

Lastly, I have completely fallen in love with Granola Mom 4 God this week!  If you haven't seen this blog you have to go there right now!!  She has so many wonderful ideas (and giveaways!).  I plan to make her mayo recipe tomorrow!

Happy reading- I hope you enjoy as much as I have!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Love Dare- come again?

Okay, so, I probably need to start The Love Dare over.  Does that give you any indication of how it is going?  

I need to try harder and most certainly pray more.

Maybe it is just a matter of commitment.  Acknowledging that he doesn't deserve it but that doesn't matter.  If he were the one doing it I wouldn't deserve it either.  Realizing that this dare is more about me and Jesus, and me dying to self, than it is about him.

Jesus- forgive me.  Equip me.  Mostly just make me more like you!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Love Dare- Day 1

According to The Love Dare, I'm not supposed to say a single negative thing to my husband today.


Not one, single thing?  Remember that recent post of mine about being "glass half empty"?

What qualifies as negative? :-)

Does it just have to be nothing negative about him or nothing negative in general?  Come on, I need some qualifiers here!

Does it count as negative if you didn't mean it negatively but they took it negatively?

Okay- this is going to be hard.  I don't think I can do this on my own!

What?  I'm not supposed to do it on my own?  Oh yeah...

Dear Holy Spirit,

I really need you today!  I need you to transform me and make me a glass half full kind of gal!  As I try to exhibit patience with him (the first step in this love dare) I need You to exhibit patience with me!  Fill me with your power and equip me for this work that I feel so weak to accomplish!  And thank you in advance because I know that You will do whatever I ask in accordance with your will, and judging by all you have done to get this book into my hands, I think this task is very much in accordance with your will.  And please help me to view this challenge as more than just that- a task to be completed for one day- but rather turn it into a life change.  

One of those God Things...

It has been a long crazy year- full of ups and downs.  On Friday I was recounting some of those stressors, especially those plaguing me the most right now, to a dear and lovely friend.  She is one of those women who you just can't help but love being around.  She exudes joy.  She is filled with truth and humility, and is truly wise beyond her years!  Five minutes in her presence and you can tell you are in the company of someone who daily sits at the feet of Jesus.  She is a very good listener and is sure to give me honest, but ever so kind, advice just when I need it.

So, anyhow, as I was spilling to her about how our current stressors are plaguing our marriage (nothing irreparable, but just one of those stressed out rocky times- ya know?!) she asked if I had heard of The Love Dare.  Of course, I have seen the movie Fireproof and have even flipped through the book before at our local Christian bookstore, but never really felt like I wanted to do it, not right then anyway.  It did strike me oddly however that just days before she made mention of it, the book had come to mind but I had dismissed it since we are so broke right now and there is no way I could afford it- my convenient out.

Later Friday night, in the midst of a particularly tense evening in our home, I gave the book another genuine thought.  Would it be helpful?  Could I do it?  Could I buy it once we got paid?  But in my frustration (and bad attitude) I decided that not only could I not currently afford the book, I just flat out didn't want to do it.  I just didn't feel like it!  Why should I go out of my way to pamper someone who seems bound and determined to erk me lately (as I am sure he thinks about me as well!)?  Nope, not for me!  Not right now!  I just didn't think I was up for it.

Then came Saturday.  My brother-in-law and sister-in-law came over with our niece and nephew to visit and bring Roman and me our belated birthday gifts since we hadn't yet been able to find time to get together.  Guess what lurked at the bottom of that cheerful birthday gift bag?  Yup- The Love Dare!

I think my reaction was something along the lines of "You've got to be kidding me!"

And looking heavenward, "ALRIGHT!  I get the message!"

I explained to my sister-in-law that I had just been discussing the book with a friend the day before.  She then told me that when she went shopping for my gift it just kept jumping out at her.  She had thumbed through it and even thought that she didn't even really want to buy it for me since it could seem offensive.  She had put the book under her arm and proceeded to peruse the rest of the store finding lots of other, more "fun," fiction options to get me, but finally followed the prodding and bought The Love Dare.

I assured her that I was not offended, at all!  In fact, I was glad to have a sister-in-law, and friend the day before, who were willing to listen to the Lord's gentle voice and follow it.  How blessed am I to have not one but two people in my life who were willing to, even unknowingly, be used by the Lord?  Moreover, who am I to deserve the Lord's attention in this way?  To think of all He had to do and how many people He had to use to get this message clearly across to me leaves me awe-stuck and completely humbled.  He cares so much more for even little me- more than I acknowledge or give Him credit for.

So, needless to say, I will be starting The Love Dare against my will this week.  Of course, I will be letting you all know how it is going and of course would appreciate your prayer!  :-)

And Jesus- thank You for loving me as much as You do- more than I can comprehend or understand!  Help make Your will my will and continue to do whatever it takes for me to hear Your voice through my thick skull!  Thank You for never giving up on me!

A Review is Coming!

I am so excited to announce that soon I will be hosting a review- one that has really got me jazzed!  It is for a company that boasts a plethora of online shopping options.  I mean, you can buy everything from a sleeper sofa to cookware from these guys! 

Have you guessed who I'm talking about yet?  Yup- CSN stores!  If you haven't heard about them you have to check them out!  They have over 200 online stores, (including and just to name a couple!) selling everything from educational toys to furniture, and everything in between!

I am currently pouring through their stores trying to make the huge decision of what to get!  I have a few ideas but there is just sooooo much to choose from!  What would you review from them if you could?

Monday, May 24, 2010

I finally made one!!

Well, I have been oogling over all these different flower tutorials for so long that I finally found made the time to make one!  

I followed this tutorial from Rhonna Designs and used brocade and organza fabrics.  The center is a variety of beads I sewed in and eventually super glued just to make sure they would stay right where I put them because the center beads were stacked on top of the outer layer.

I ended up giving this one to my mom for Mother's Day (a little late) and am working on a pink one for myself.  I can't wait to finish it and start spicing up my wardrobe- it's in dire need!

So, what do you think?


The Girl Creative

"Homeschooling for the Rest of Us" Review

Publisher Summary:  Homeschooling parents often face immense pressure and unrealistic expectations. Chances are you are feeling this pressure--and this book is for you!

In its pages you'll find support, encouragement and affirming stories and practical ideas from dozens of everyday families--families like you who successfully deal with cluttered schedules, academic struggles, sibling squabbles, and other real-life issues. Instead of learning a one-size-fits-all approach, discover how to evaluate your own family's strengths and weaknesses and set your own goals for success.

My Opinion:  I thought that this was a very good, practical book.  In fact, I have already recommended it to a number of IRL friends- especially those who are wrestling with the decision to homeschool or how to make it work in their family.   Sonya Haskins does a nice job of addressing the realities of homeschooling and what it can look like for your family- completely unique!

Along with her emphasis on finding the right fit for you, however, she also gives some simple, guiding principles to help you find your niche.  Chapters cover everything from allowing your homeschool to focus on developing positive relationships within your family, to routines and schedules, to extra-curriculars, to dealing with relatives, and even dealing with a messy home!  I appreciated Mrs. Haskin's honesty and boiled-down approach to getting rolling with homeschooling.  The book was very readable and only 172 pages- which I also appreciated!

You can purchase Homeschooling for the Rest of Us right here.

This book was provided by Bethany House publishers for honest review.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fave Finds this week!

So, I seem to go through cycles of either being really good at keeping up on blogging or really good at keeping up on other people's blogs.  Can you tell which mode I am currently in?!  Um yeah- need to work on that!  I have been so bogged down by life lately that it just seems easier to follow everyone else's than post about my own.

I do have plans to remedy this situation, one of which involves following the advice from We Are That Family (her name is escaping me- so sorry!) in her Works For Me Wednesday Post this week- she bulk blogs.  We are not just talking any old bulk blogging though, she actually seems to get away to put posts in her queue (side note- isn't that the mostly silly-spelled word: queue?  What were they thinking?)!  Hmmmm... I hear Starbucks and blogging calling my name!  I may need to go into negotiations with the hubs!

Want to see some of the other beautiful and wonderful things I have recently found?  Ok- here goes!

This meal planner from 733!  Isn't it just beautiful?!  It make me want to meal plan!

Or this shirt from The Pleated Poppy!  I want need to make this!  She also does the coolest posts every week of what she has worn for the last week (What I Wore Wednesday)- she has the chic-est wardrobe!  (Envy and drool!)

Or how about these bea-u-ti-ful flowers from Diamonds, Fur and Laundry?!  Can you see a pattern developing recently with the flowers?!

Or check out this mama's labels at Just Divine Style!  Check out her laundry room?!  Who would have ever thunk to pretty up your laundry room like that?!  Well, apparently she did and I want need to copy her!  I could always use a little more beauty in my life!

This mama at Whippy Cake has the most beautiful (there's that word again!) hair accessories and hair idea for women (not just little girls!)!

Then on the learning side of things, here is a great post with links to a bunch of Summer Reading Programs for the kiddos.

And last, but not least (and my favorite!), Carisa from 1+1+1=1 has recently released her brand new core home-preschool curriculum that is entirely based on scripture called Raising Rockstars Preschool!  I am so excited about this and have been busily preparing her printables as she releases the new ones each week!  Normally I would blog about this on R-Man's blog (The World According to R-Man) and I will definitely be going more in depth about it over there, but I am so excited to be using this new curriculum starting next fall that I just had to share it with all of you!

So, what do you think?  Have you made any fabulous finds lately?  I would love to hear!  If you head over and check out any of the links above it would also be great if you let them know I was the one who sent you!

More to come soon... just as soon as I can work out that bulk blogging thing!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Finding Joy

Joy.  It's a tough one for me.  It isn't something that comes naturally- I really have to work at it.  I think I tend to be a "glass half empty" kind of gal.  I wear my heart (and often my mind) on my sleeve.  Not much is hidden.  When people ask "How are you?" I hate saying the standard, American, upbeat, "Fine!" if I really don't feel it.

So, when I came across this post a few days ago on Ann Voskamp's blog A Holy Experience- I was thrilled and moved (or, shall we say, overjoyed?)!  It is her 10 Point Manifesto for Joyful Mothering!  Always one to love a good plan, I really sunk my teeth into this!

And don't you just love that word- Manifesto?  It reminds me of an old Boy Meets World episode when Eric has a dream of what all of their futures will look like after college and he keeps referring to "Me Manifesto!"

Not ringing any bells for ya?

Alright, I digress.

Truly though, I have just begun to uncover all the goodness that this post has to offer.  I haven't even begun to follow her links which will surely give it that much more depth!  The simplicity of it humbles me though.  Prayer.  Beauty.  Gratefulness.  Consistency.  Laughter.  Focusing on the Lord.  I need all of these things!  In abundance!

In one of her points she says "Only amateurs hurry."  Wow- she got me!  That one thing alone has the ability to steal all kinds of joy from my mothering!

I want to be better at joy.  I need to be!  I need to create a "culture of joy" in my home for all of our sakes!  Yes, I do believe that I will be adopting Ann's points to read every morning- I quite like me new Manifesto!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Simply Lovely Mother's Day!

What a sweet day with my sweet boys!  After a bit of a rocky start (R-Man doesn't seem to want to celebrate any day other than his birthday!), the day turned out to just be really nice.  We went over and visited my parents for a short while and then went for a drive- one of our favorite past-times!  We love looking at new properties for sale and dreaming of moving out to the country.  A particular piece we have had our eye on for a while is still on the market.  Now if it can just stay that way for, oh, I don't know, a couple more years maybe?!  Haha- I guess it is all up to the Lord anyway!

After our drive we went out to a really nice dinner at a small local gourmet bistro.  The boys sat so nicely through the whole thing- R-Man played with a little truck while Lion Cub flirted with the women at the table behind us!  We then headed for ice-cream (Baskin Robbins- my FAVORITE!!) which we took home to scarf down during the special one-hour Mother's Day episode of 19 Kids and Counting (also my FAVORITE!).

All in all, it was a lovely day!

Monday, May 10, 2010

What's for Dinner?


My husband just finished a big job that we will make decent money from, but until that check comes we are having to live BEYOND cheap!!  To add to the food budget stress there are a number of families that need help with meals in the next couple of weeks (new babies, etc...) and in order to help them out (which I really do want to do) I just have to get a little extra creative!  So, here is what our menu for the week looks like:

White Chicken Chili from the freezer (double score- already made AND paid for!)

Hamburgers and this yummy pasta Asian Pasta Salad!  We will be sharing this meal with some friends too.

Hamburger and pasta salad repeat

Penne pasta with chicken sausage, spinach and mushrooms

Zuppa Toscana, which I plan to make and take half of to a friend who just had a baby- I may make a little more broth and add more potatoes to make it stretch a bit farther, but it makes a fairly big amount of soup so I think it will work fine.  I will also pick up fresh bread and salad on the way there!

These AMAZING salmon cakes with roasted Asparagus.  In addition to being ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS, you will be totally amazed by how many salmon cakes you can get out of just one can of fish!

Fry up the rest of the salmon cakes with a side of broccoli and bread!

So, what are you eating this week?  
Join the planning at!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

LIVE BLOGGING- Early Childhood Education w/ Susan Evans

Early Childhood Education
w/ Susan Evans

I have been meaning to write this post for more than a month now (since the homeschool conference I attended), and even though it is late I wanted to make sure to not let it slip by!

At the Inland Northwest Homeschool Conference I went to Susan Evans' workshop on Early Childhood Education.  My oh my, was it filled good with good ideas!  And is she ever filled with energy!  You can tell why her children must just LOVE to learn!  She is a former middle school drama teacher and she is filled with all the flair and spunk of one!

Susan is very into making learning alive!  She emphasizes the use of voices when reading and puppets to drive home ideas.  Some of her ideas were very simple, such as making sure to add measuring cups & spoons to water or sand play areas.  She feels it is important to make learning accessible to children, such as mounting a Magna Doodle to the wall at kid height to allow for spontaneous fine motor development.  She credits that very thing with her children's early abilities to write clearly.

One idea that I never would have thought of, but have been trying with Lion Cub, is simply going through a set of basic alphabet flash cards and making the letter sounds of each (not the name).  She said that this simple practice of exposing the letter sounds to them at such an early age helped her children to read very early, without much effort.  I am not a huge fan of flash cards, but I figure as long as it is interesting to him and not a burden I might as well give it a shot!

I really can't possibly cover all of her amazing ideas in this little post, but I sincerely encourage you to visit her website, Hand on Learning, for a whole host of ideas for not only early childhood education but well into the elementary years as well! The site itself isn't much to look at, but don't let it fool you- it is FULL of good information if you just look around!

I also want to extend a huge thanks to Susan for a great workshop and look forward to learning more from her in the future!

Monday, May 3, 2010


When I saw the MckLinky Blog Hop theme for tonight was Nicknames, I couldn't not participate!  Growing up, my family was the ultimate in nickname giving!  We even have nicknames for our nicknames!  No one is exempt- even our pets had nicknames!  So, here is the run-down!

I like to think it all started with me!  Since I started walking at 9 months old my Dad quickly dubbed me Zoomer, which over time morphed into Zoonie, which he still calls me to this day!  it also has variations of Zoonie-Maroonie and just plain Zoon!

My Mom also has a whole slew of nicknames for me, including: Judy Lucy, Missy Beana, Peana Peana, and Ga' Friend!

Apparently when my brother was born I couldn't pronounce "Brother," so I took to calling him "Broth," (pronounced "Bruth") and have called him that ever since.  In fact, it is so integral to his identity that since my boys were born he has been known as "Uncle Broth!"  He typically refers to me as "MacKenz."

My parents call each other "Wonji" (from Dances with Wolves) and "Oni" (this one I can't remember the origin for).  We also used to have a cat named Chezwick who somehow ended up being called "Putty" for the latter half of his life!

My husband and I always call each other by at least a shortened version of names, if not something else entirely (such as "babe").

Our boys, of course, have nicknames too.  R-Man has a few different nicknames, the most common of which is "Bud," but lately he has preferred to be called "Iron Man," or most recently, "Chuck Bartowski!"  Lion Cub is most often called "Brutis" and "Bubba."

So, basically, if you are called your real name in our family you know you are in big trouble or something is terribly wrong!  Yes, we are a family of alter-egos!

To find out what other goofy names people have for each other and add your own, hop on over and visit the Monday Night MckLinky Blog Hop on Riggs Family Blog!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Getting inspired!

Would you believe if I told you that we are sick, AGAIN!?  Well, we are!  I can't believe it, but we are.  This time, I am not letting it stop me though!  I can't keep putting things off because we are sick- life must go on!

So, with that I am trying to get back into the full swing of blogging this week, have a full week of homeschool and get a bunch of extra stuff done to boot!  One of my big things is just getting my booty out of bed earlier in the morning. I'm gonna do it.  Really.  No, I'm serious!

A couple of the extra things I want to do this week are some projects I have recently been inspired by, or start them at least!  Check out these awesome fabric roses from Create and Delegate:

I really want to embellish a shirt with a few of these!  Wouldn't that be cute?!

Or this adorable quilt from Moda Bake Shop:

Or this fun quilting project from Obsessively Stitching that walks you through the whole quilting process from start to finish:

I also recently found an awesome local fabric shop too, which I plan to be spending some serious time in soon!  Check them out online- The Top Stitch.

So that is a little of what I have planned- but hopefully you will be hearing from me much more this week!