Friday, September 30, 2011


Remember when I mentioned 31 days of ... (fill in the blank) and mentioned that I'd want to write about beauty if I were going to write about one topic for 31 days?

Well, here it is! I'm not promising 31 actual days - but I am planning to spend most of October writing thoughts about beauty. So far, God has been bountifully providing ideas for me to write about - so maybe it will end up being 31 days!

To kick off the month - would you join me in a week of Making Your Home a Haven next week? This fits perfectly with the reminder I posted Monday!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Courageous Books Giveaway!

We've been looking forward to Courageous coming out this weekend! And, have plans with another couple to go see it on Saturday!

I received several books on the movie that were just recently released and I'd love to offer two of them up for giveaway here.

Courageous Living - here is the summary found on Amazon:

"In the new film COURAGEOUS (from the makers of Fireproof), four police officers are confident and focused when it comes to facing danger on the job. But leading their families at home in a God-honoring way? That takes courage.

Because it is important to take a faithful, fearless stand in so many areas of life, pastor and COURAGEOUS executive producer Michael Catt offers Courageous Living as a closer look at biblical themes and characters that inspired the greatly anticipated movie.

Catt brings fresh insight to "stories of people in the Bible who displayed great courage when it would have been easier to play it safe... (who) challenge me to keep moving forward. They demand that I examine my priorities and deal with anything that brings fear to my heart."

Readers will catch a new wind of bravery in the bold accounts of Abraham ("The Courage to Get Going"), Nehemiah ("The Courage to Face Criticism"), and Ruth ("The Courage to Face an Uncertain Future"). There are also growth opportunities in the stirring stories of Moses, Elijah, Joshua, Daniel, Gideon, Nehemiah, Stephen, and Paul and Timothy."

The Resolution for Women is described on Amazon as:

"Written in partnership with Sherwood Pictures' upcoming film, COURAGEOUS, in The Resolution for Women, popular speaker and author Priscilla Shirer challenges all women to be intentional about embracing and thriving in God’s beautiful and eternal calling on their lives.

Like the men in the movie who resolve to fully accept their responsibilities before God, Shirer explains how today's women can and should live out their own resolution. It is "a defining banner that hangs over your life, written in the ink of your own choices." A woman's banner should be an accurate reflection of who she desires to be-someone completely Christ-centered who blesses and changes things in her world for the better.

The Resolution for Women inspires women with intentional, spirit-filled living from three unique angles. Section one, entitled, "This Is Who I Am," helps a woman define herself as "authentically me, purposefully feminine, surprisingly satisfied, and faithfully His." Section two, "This Is What I Have," invites her to value "my best, my blessing, my honor, and my heart." And Section three, "This Is What Matters To Me," focuses on joyfully honoring God as a wife, mother, and family member while resolving to live with the grace that leaves a godly legacy. The Resolution for Women is designed to inspire a revolution."

There is also a Resolution for Men available.

If you'd like a chance to win one of the books pictured above, please just leave a comment on this post and I'll choose a winner by Random Number Generator.

Comments will be accepted until Friday night, September 30 at 10pm EST.
Giveaway is open to US Residents only.

I received copies of all three books for review.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Survival Mode

You know what I mean, right?

When life seems more than I can keep up with

and when I'm struggling to write

or create

or even maintain order.

When work multiplies faster than I can complete it and joy seems to have run dry.

Sister, friend, daughter, mom, wife, homeschooling mama ~ I know you can relate. I know you've been there or are there with me now.

I can offer you all the right answers on how to remedy these feelings. But, those feelings are still very real and I'm just keeping it real here as well.

So, today instead of answers - I'm offering understanding. Admitting I feel this way too. And, I'm going to leave it at that for today - if you're in this place, would you leave a comment. And if you leave a comment would you come back and lift up those names left here in prayer.

Praying that God would meet us in this place. Knowing that apart from Him, we will never feel differently. Pray that God would bless this sweet one (you who are here now) and meet her in her struggle. Pray that He would infuse with courage where we are discouraged and overwhelmed. That we would have our hearts and eyes fixed on Him and that Survival Mode would become Thriving Mode!

PS: Reading this and this may bless too!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

This & That

When life is a hustle and bustle and I feel very distant from quiet and all my efforts turn up feelings and reality such as this (ahem):

... I've been revisiting quiet. Meanwhile, here are a bunch of random updates and thoughts:

Here are a few pictures from apple painting - looks quiet even though it was not!!

I made Maple Oat Scones for the First Day of Fall ...

... I took my littles to a neat Butterfly Homeschool Hour at a nearby museum -
wow did I learn a lot!

David and I finally watched Soul Surfer thanks to a free Blockbuster code, David's mom and I took the girls to see Dolphin Tale - a rare treat! It was great - did any of you see it?

It had obviously been a very long time since I cleaned out the drawer under the oven. :)

We've spent a lot of time away from home recently and I'm reminded why it is better for us to be home.

I usually get my Fall decorations out over Labor Day and I haven't gotten a single thing out yet. Almost a month lost of enjoying my Fall goodies ... have you gotten your Fall things out?

I've prepped my Organized Christmas notebook and am itching to get started - just found out we are privileged to host Christmas this year and am SO excited!

Ok, I guess that is enough random for now - have a great day!

Monday, September 26, 2011

I needed this reminder ...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Freezer Cooking for One

I am mostly putting this here for my reference - so I can remember what I did and how it worked for the next time! But, David recently asked me to help a family member with meals for the freezer. And, here is what we came up with together.

I found some great divided containers at the grocery store that worked well for smoked sausage and veggies. Two bags of fresh veggies steamed in the microwave and two packages of sausage cooked on the griddle divided up to be enough for six meals.

One batch of Pasta Fagioli soup made eight containers. And, I made Southwest Chicken Salad. One package of fresh chicken breasts and a can of black beans made six portions that I froze in ziploc bags.

I sliced, buttered and sprinkled with garlic one loaf of french bread. And, made individual chicken pot pies. By making this recipe, I was able to make eight mini pies and then one big one for our family.

Hopefully this will help remind me and maybe even help someone else who has the opportunity to serve another this way! I thought it was very affordable too as I spent about $60 total which included the containers I bought this time and food for dinners for one month!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Avonlea for Little Ladies

You may remember my Autumn in Avonlea parties that I've had in the past?! Each Fall this seems to be something to look forward to and enjoy planning! This year, my friend Melissa and I decided it might be fun to do something with our little ladies and one little gentleman.

She was in charge of Mama-food and I was in charge of Little-food! She made a delicious lunch of quiche, pumpkin bisque, tea punch and cheese muffins! I made little shaped cheese and crackers, mini shaped peanut butter and honey sandwiches, grapes, sparkling grape juice and pretty desserts.

It was an unexpectedly busy weekend - so I had to think of ways to simplify. Normally for a party like this, I have planned and prepared and made things for weeks. This was really pulled off very last minute. We've had it planned, but I just haven't had time to do as much as I would've like ahead.

The little shaped foods were super easy to do with sliced cheese and a loaf of bread. I visited our favorite grocery store bakery for the pretty desserts.

Table decorations were very simple too. I hollowed out a few apples for holding flowers and tea lights and that was it!

After lunch, we started watching the movie - Anne of Green Gables. We did not watch the whole thing straight through. Melissa and I had decided in advance that there were certain parts we were not ready for our little eyes to see, so we did skip a few parts and plus we knew they would not be able to enjoy it for THREE hours!

We broke up our time watching with trying on this cute Anne-hat that she had! And, I found these cute Anne coloring books for each of the girls.

Our afternoon was a success! And, all the children had fun! Samuel did not join us for the entire time - but was in and out. Now, I can't wait to show them Anne of Avonlea! It feels fun to have introduced my girls to Anne!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Daddy Day

Our church recently planned a Father - Daughter outing! They invited Dads to sign up with their daughters for a boat riding, beach playing, sand enjoying, shell collecting, picnic fun day! We live just a few miles from the ocean but rarely go - plus what a treat to get to go with Daddy!

Our girls have really wanted to experience a boat ride!

They saw lots of dolphins!

What a beautiful day!

Enjoying beautiful scenery!

Time to collect shells!

Swimming & Sand!

I love the unique colors of this crab and shell!

Much braver than her Mama! This is a horseshoe crab that the girls told me was a spider crab - it is more closely related to spiders and scorpions. Ok, I'm creeped out now.

Sweet time for girls with Daddy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cozy Morning

These mornings often seem to spring up on my suddenly without a lot of planning or thought. And, this was no different. I woke up and began my normal morning routine. But when sitting down for my Quiet Time - I had a nudge to make this morning special. And, noticing it was below 70 degrees when I woke up - oh, I had to get out there and enjoy it! The ideas came together quickly and we had a great morning together!

Everything tastes better when mixed with love!
I love how the kitchen looks in the early morning - and being up early and making something tasty while it is peaceful is such a joy!

Before we began our morning, Rachel wanted me to take a picture of her "bo-fay" :)

I made this yummy pumpkin oatmeal! I love fall food!

We loaded up our wagon and began the walk to our neighborhood "lake."

I had just clicked to take Emily's photo as she was pointing ...
"{Gasp} Look, Mama!"

Here's what she was pointing at!

Sweet Rachel wanted to push her brother in the stroller, though he is more than capable of walking! She is such a little mama!

This sight always makes me think of Heaven!

We ate our warm breakfast and drank hot tea! We read books! We saw turtles and ducks and birds and a helicopter and airplanes.

We made flags as part of our history that week and painted!

We were there about two hours! What a wonderful morning spent outside together!