Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Giving Thanks~Day 30

This has been an incredible journey of searching and acknowledging the things that I am grateful for. Now of course there are many more things that I did not mention during my 30 days of Thanksgiving, but I do thank God for them.

My last day I wanted to share something that is very dear to me. Last year I felt a tug from the Lord to start mentoring teenage girls. At first I thought it was the younger ones that are still new at the whole independent thing, but God had a different plan. He wanted me to be with the ones that were at the age of when I had my rebellion. I had some pretty tough years in high school and made some pretty poor decisions to say the least, so why God was calling me there, I was not exactly sure.

I dove in with faith knowing that He had a purpose even if I didn't see it at the moment. I help co lead about 7-8 girls weekly at something our church calls ABS. It is a weekly bible study where we get together and dive into God's word. Verse by verse. This year we are focusing on the book of Romans. I can't believe that we are almost half way through our year already. I have met some pretty amazing ladies that have captured a piece of my heart. I feel truly blessed to be apart of their lives in hopes to give them a perspective on God that may be a little radical. I know God designed me to outspoken and this gives me a way to speak into their lives about my struggles and hopefully guide them down a path that will honor the Lord.

Tonight we enjoyed a pajama night while watching Soul Surfer and eating popcorn and Twizzlers. A great time to fellowship with them and make great memories.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giving Thanks~ Day 29

Today was such a good day...much better than yesterday. School went better and we even had time for Art all together! Now I LOVE crafts, am I crafty? Not really. I can pretty much replicate something pretty good, but coming up with ideas all on my own? Again No!

This is a simple project to do with your kids. It is a salt dough recipe that you can make different things from. I used this dough when I was a kid so when I found a recipe for it, it made me excited to share this craft with my chitlings!

Salt Dough

2 Cups flour
1 Cup salt
1 Cup cold water
1 Tablespoon oil

Mix together. The dough should be the consistency of thick play-doh. If the dough is sticking to your hands you need to add more flour. Use your favorite cookie cutter or create something on your own. Let it harden or bake at 200 degrees. About 30-45 minutes. After they have cooled off you can paint with acrylic paints. You can even push a toothpick through the top to create a hole to make it an ornament. Have fun!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Giving Thanks~ Day 28

Today has been a bit of a struggle. I was trying to think about what I should be thankful for. Now I am thankful for so many things, but what can I write about, that makes the cut. When I began my blog, I had this desire to be honest about everything. I want to be transparent to my readers so that they may feel hope and inspiration. The last thing I want people to do is stumble because they look at my life and desire what I have. It is hard when you see someone who has it all together. Now I have talked about this before, but this is a huge issue in the "mom" world especially. We feel incompetent because the next person does things better.

Anyways this is not what I am thankful for today. Today I am rejoicing in truth! I love that the Word of God is truth and that it is used as the guide for my life. I sit comfortably in knowing that God has saved me from my sin and that just because I make a mistake it is not all over for me. He continues to work in my life to make me more like Him.

Truth is today I have been feeling like an epic failure. I was ready to send my kids back to school about five minutes into starting this morning. I made Charlie cry, then I made Little T cry, and I am listening to them fight downstairs right this very moment. There are some moments where I just don't understand why God called me to teach them. I am not very good at planning so when the morning arrives to do school and they open their lesson plan, I am just not quite sure what they are doing. (Note to self: Must fix that) Truth is, I just sometimes want to crawl back into bed in hopes that everything would just go about as if I were there. Sometimes I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders and I don't know what to do. {SIGH}

Truth is my daughter just told me that she feels blogging is more important than her.....ouch! Well I am going to end my writing for today. I do want to share another truth that was shared with me today that I would like to pass on. After reading this I might just only start getting 4 hours of sleep so that I may do all things that are a want and when my family is awake do the things that are wanted and needed.

This is from Jacinda over at Growing Home via Sonya at Becoming a Strong Woman of God~ Thanks for sharing!
Please read on my next post.

Growing Home: Leaving Home

Growing Home: Leaving Home

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giving Thanks~ Day 27

We are coming in for the home stretch of our 30 days of Giving Thanks! This month has certainly flown by, but  trying to soak in every moment. As you get older your moments go by faster.

Today I am grateful for coupons. Now yes I got really excited about the show Extreme Couponing and thought, "I better give that a try." However I am a little bit of a veteran to the whole coupon shopping. When Noah and I had Little T we lived in an apartment right across the street from a Ralphs. Now you don't or I should say, shouldn't shop there unless you use coupons because of how expensive it is. This was almost 11 years ago and back then they not only doubled coupons, but took expired coupons and maybe even competitor coupons. It was way easier to shop with coupons back before the reality shows came about! I easily would cut our grocery bill about $250 each trip.

I decided about a year ago after quitting my job, that I needed to do something to help our family financially. That is when I put coupons back into my vocabulary. I subscribed to two separate papers to be delivered only on Sundays. Now when you call to ask about price. Remind them that they can deliver at only $22 a year or less. If you don't, they will try and charge you about $170!! I have tried the binder and though it is easier to use at the stores, I was struggling to do all the work that I needed to prepare for it. I have really started doing most of my shopping at Costco and then I'll get a few things at Target. Occasionally I will head over to CVS, Rite Aid, or Walgreens depending on their deals for that week. I am certainly not a crazy coupon lady...just trying to save a few bucks!

Today I headed over to Walgreens and got some goodies that I wanted to share with you. Now this by far was not my greatest trip but I did get some pretty good deals.

Cereal is a pet peeve for me. I refuse to pay more than $2.00 a box. The lowest price I ever paid was .50 a box! Now that is a good deal. These boxes were $1.50 each

These babies cost me ONLY $1 EACH!

Now I love to stock up on hair and body products. I hate to run out of body wash or conditioner. That makes you scramble for something comparable while you are showing. Let's face it, I don't want to smell like a man because I had to use my husbands axe body wash! Second these things are super expensive, so when I can get them on sale, I will grab many. Plus it is always nice to have extra so that you can pass some along when someone is taking donations for a woman's shelter or something. I loved that I got to give our adopted family for Christmas nicer shampoo rather than the dollar store shampoo.

This was my entire purchase for today.
Total spent $53.41
Total saved $82.18

Please forgive the pictures. My camera broke and these are taken with my phone.

Giving Thanks~ Day 25

Most of my day was spent decorating for Christmas. Now if it were up to me, I would have done it right after Halloween. Now I think Thanksgiving is an important holiday that needs it's time to be celebrated alone without Christmas, but it takes so long to make your home just right for Christmas. Why spend only one month celebrating all that hard work?

We bought a fake tree a few years back. Mainly because of the fact that I like to decorate so early. Usually Christmas day my branches were falling off because of how dead the tree was. I swore I would never buy a fake tree, but here we are three years later and I love it. I don't have to worry about any messes, about fires, and if you are wondering about the smell, you can buy stuff to fix that.

So excited for Christmas!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Giving Thanks~ Day 25

I look forward to the Thanksgiving every year. One because I love to spend time with my family and two because Thanksgiving means Black Friday is the next day. Nowadays it is the same day. Stores this year began opening at 9pm! There are the shoppers that have been camped out at Best Buy for three days just to get a fabulous 42' Flat screen for $199 or there are the ones that just get a thrill out of going! I have been shopping the Black Friday sales for 12 years now. I simply enjoy getting a great deal on a fabulous gift for someone I love! I'll admit, I get excited when I can stay out past midnight and feel like a rebel. That doesn't happen as a momma!
This year was no exception. I went with my  friend Courtney.

 We had a fabulous time with each other. For the first time I went to the outlet mall near us. We hit up Gymboree and the Gap. We walked into Old Navy and then quickly walked out after seeing the line. Then we headed to Target and got some fabulous deals. We took our time and sat in line for about 15 minutes. Now that is not bad. Just enough time to share some quick stories, grab some really good looking cookies to snack on, then head to the register to checkout.

So I wanted to share a few of my fabulous finds...

 I had to get these. We get the kids Pajamas every year for Christmas and lately when we go to Target, Scooby Doo asks me to buy him one of those nutcracker guys. So when I saw these they made me smile. They are from gymboree and only cost me $6.35!  

These adorable shirt from Gap was only $3.29!

This was $39.99 and I got a $10.00 gift card. That allowed me to buy pajamas for Charlie that cost me nada!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Today comes with a humbleness attitude toward the Lord. I feel so blessed and yet so undeserving of everything I have. My family is amazing and shares love with me that is sometimes overwhelming. An amazing day filled with love, food, fellowship, games, and laughing.

Yet there are others that I am not close with and it hurts my heart especially with days like these. I am grateful for all the moments that I get to share with my loved ones and my hope is that it one day my life will be filled with all of them.

My heart is a little heavy on a day that should be filled with complete joy so I apologize. When I thought about what to share today, I could not get out of my head some heavy burdens in my life. Family is very important to me and when there are divisions I just want it to be better, fixed, and mended. Hopefully one day I can share with everyone the healed relationships that I longed for to be once again where they were.

Until then I am cherishing the relationships that make me grateful to be apart of this amazing family. My family, the one that God handpicked for me.

A few shots from today...

Playing soccer, ninja, and animal! No Holiday is complete without enjoying these games!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks~Day 23

We enjoyed another great night of fellowship with some dear friends! Today I am grateful for times like these that make me realize how blessed I am.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks~ Day 22

I am grateful for exercise. Now I have a love hate relationship with working out! I love it while I am doing it, but hate getting up to do it! I used to love the mornings of waking up, dropping of the chitlings at school, then heading home to work out with some friends. It is always easier to work out with others rather than by yourself.

A couple years back I got really into Jillian Michaels workout DVD's. My friends and I bought them all and we rotated homes to work out together. That kept me working out 3-4 a week and I felt great. I really do enjoy working out and feeling better about myself.

Well since I now home school that is all gone...sad face. I started homeschooling and stopped working out completely. I quickly realized that I needed to be more disciplined with my time so that I may take better care of myself. Last week I made a commitment to myself to get up a little earlier and head to the gym and walk on the treadmill for 1 hour as many days as I can. My goal has become 15 miles a week. Not much working out compared to what I used to do but I chose walking because A) I can walk at home...yes the gym is in my house and  B) because I could fill my brain with some great things. Some being church sermons, Francis Chan, or even some good Christian music.

Even though I may not get to work out with my girlfriends I do get to do it from home and there should never be any excuses to not take care of myself.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Giving Thanks~Day 21

Marriage is a wonderful thing, if you allow it to be. I have been married to Noah for almost nine years and it has been a joy. Don't has been work in many ways, however the choice of being joyful in my marriage has been a priority for me. Both Noah an I come from broken families, and it has affected us in different ways. Through our experiences as well as our faith, we have hung on to the word of God in hopes that He is right. Years ago it was a harder struggle for us in making our marriage work. It is because we have God wrapped so tightly around us now that keeps us focused each day on why we have decided to keep this relationship going, and actually enjoy it while we do.

The world tells us to trade in our spouses when it gets tough. God says " So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." I know there are times that it seems easier to give up and let go, but I encourage anyone that is in this place to hold on and trust in the Lord to heal what is broken. We alone can not fix things beyond repair, only God can.

We have made many boundaries for our marriage in order to protect it. We do not have friends of the opposite sex on facebook, only family. We choose not to drink, or watch any movies that have sex scenes in them. We don't go to any types of clubs or bars. We make decisions together regarding everything. Together we have set some rules for us in our marriage that have made me feel safe. Now some things may seem extreme, its small things that I am willing to let go of in order to honor God and my husband by protecting our marriage that I want to last. Most importantly we do things together as a family and have fun!

I love having a best friend at all times. Someone to share my deepest fears and most exciting hopes with. Together we are raising this family in hopes that they too will take marriage to a place of honor for our Lord.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Giving Thanks~ Day 20

 I love when we get to do something new and exciting. It doesn't happen much but when it does, it brings great memories for our family. Tonight we got to enjoy something really neat for our soccer loving family. We took the older two to the MLS CUP in Los Angeles. For those of you who are thinking what is an MLS cup, well it is the super bowl of soccer. Every team from the US competes during a season and the last two standing battle it out to be the winner! This year the finals were held in LA and the two finalist were the Houston Dynamo  and the LA Galaxy! Oh yeah! So neat to see our home team play in their own stadium and take the title of 2011 Soccer Champions!

The score was one to zero! It was such an amazing game to experience with my family! We also had the enjoyment of 10 other girls from our U12 division come. To add to all the excitement we were also blessed with free parking....hey! It never hurts to ask for a discount on anything. haha.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Giving thanks~ day 19

I Love getting to spend some time with my family! Not only do Noah and I love to be there watching our daughter play soccer each Saturday, but our family makes a huge effort to come and support her. My mom and Noah's dad and stepmom were all out there today in the freezing cold to watch our baby play her last game of the season.

We were truly blessed as coaches this year for having a tremendous amount of amazing parents. We weren't the only ones with supportive extended family. Almost every girl each week had at least one uncle, grandparent, or sibling there to watch them play! It just made our season that much better.

I am so proud of the girls on this team for playing their hearts out. We made it till the very end and placed second!
I could not have asked for a better soccer season. Feeling very blessed by it all!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Giving Thanks~ Day 18

Today I am grateful for the women that have come into my life that have been a true blessing to me. I have been so fortunate to spend some quality time with two women that inspire me and keep me accountable to the Lord. They have lifted my spirits and I hope that I was able to do the same. Wisdom is such an amazing gift that you can give to someone and that is exactly what I received from them. To top it off we spent time together at Starbucks, one of my favorite places. I am truly blessed!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Giving Thanks~ Day 17

Today I have been blessed far beyond what I deserve!

I have four women in my life that I would like to say Thank you to!

The first is my mother in law Terry! She takes time each every Monday to come and sit with my children while Noah and I head on over to our small group. She also comes here Thursdays to watch the kids so that I may continue my women's bible study. She comes to watch them, play with them, teach them, makes meals and sometimes even cleans up my home! I appreciate the time that she dedicates to being apart of her grand children's lives!

The second being my friend Jen. She is one of the most kind hearted, Jesus loving women I know. She happens to be  the teacher of my two youngest chitlings. (You may be thinking that I home school, yes but we are blessed to go to an online home school that comes with virtual teachers.) She is a  blessing to me by watching my children once a month so that I may again continue going to my women's bible study and to give my MIL a little bit of a break! She drives pretty far and stays fro about four hours to teach them. She is not required to do this, she just does it with love! I have enjoyed our friendship so much and I am so thankful to call her a friend!

The third is my sister in law Hannah. She too helps us watch the kids every Wednesday night so that Noah and I can go minister to the teenagers at our church. She plays with them and really enjoys being an auntie to them. I love how much she cares for them and is willing to watch them anytime we ask. She also blesses us with some Starbucks coffee...mmmm!

Last but not least is a wonderful woman that I met just a few short months ago, Chrystal. She is a lady who was placed at my bible study table this year. I have also had the privilege of spending time with her son, because he is one of the high schoolers that Noah and I minister to on Wednesdays. Having her at our table has been such a blessing. She is a momma of four and stays at home to care for them. She is an amazing baker who brings cookies to not only our bible study but I get a second dose on Wednesdays...can I say mmmm again! Last week I mentioned that I would love to have a cricut and I could organize and make wonderful things if I had one. Well today she showed up with one and GAVE it to me! What?!!!! I was so shocked and feeling so not deserving of this wonderful gift that she was giving me.Well I got home and realized that it was a newer version the cricut expression 2! She has made my day much brighter!

Isn't she pretty!!!

Words can't describe how blessed I feel for having so many wonderful women in my life! God is amazing for bringing them all to me and allowing them to make me a little better! Love you all!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Giving Thanks~ Day 16

This year I decided to coach my daughter's soccer team. Now let me give you some background to this. I never grew up playing soccer. Never. I had children and desired for them to be involved in some kind of activity. First tried dance because that is what I used to do, then gymnastics, then girl scouts, and then off to soccer we went. She fell in love at 6 years old. Now at 11 she plays for a u12 team and loves it. She is actually really good and I am not just saying that either ;) While playing we have made some amazing life long friends and have actually all taken up playing, Noah and I included.

I was asked by a friend to join a women's soccer team and hesitantly agreed. Again I have never played. When we started I was surprised to see 18-24 year olds out on the field to play against us. Well um I was the youngest on our team, at 28!!! We joyfully played and after losing EVERY game by at least 20 points, we actually finished the season playing a game that was 6-5. Now we still lost, but hey, we got a lot better Huh?!

So after three months of playing I thought hey I can coach. haha. Two weeks into it is when I got the calling to homeschool. Noah quickly took over being the coach for me. I still get to be apart of the team by being a great cheerleader!

Here is our team for this year. Noah asked the girls before our first game if they would like to pray and they said yes, now they ask to do it before every game! God is so amazing.

Soccer has become a family enjoyment. Every Saturday that is where you will find us. It has opened a lot of doors for us by sharing our faith and being able to fellowship with other believers. We want to fill Christ into everything we do, not just for Sundays and the occasional discussion...EVERYTHING!

I know that there has to be boundaries for us as well while being apart of a competitive sport. We play for an organization that is geared toward family, fun, and fair, but again, it is a competitive sport. Noah and I do our best to stay out of the political aspect of it. It is an enjoyment for our family and we hope to bring good news to others not only by our words but by our actions. Now with this said, I am in prayer for myself constantly because I am the most competitive person I know!

Our season is coming to an end this week and I am so proud of our girls who came in second place. We still have many more games to play with Little T making not only the tournament team but the All Stars as well. So proud of her!

Here is a small glimpse into our soccer world.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Giving Thanks~ Day 15

Halfway through the month of November already?! I can't believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

Today I am thankful for the mini Thanksgiving feast that the kids and I got to enjoy with new friends. I joined a homeschooling group through my church and attended my very first event with them today.

I got to spend some time with the host before the event started, only because I thought it started two hours earlier than it really did! I loved getting her knowledge on homeschooling. I felt blessed to have learned different ways and ideas of how it can work.

The kids got to learn about the first Thanksgiving and make some neat little crafts! We enjoyed turkey, mashed potatoes, ham and my favorite, cake pops for dessert! What a wonderful way to fellowship and learn more about giving thanks to God for all we have.


Monday, November 14, 2011


I am so excited to share my thankfulness for today. It is homeschooling. I came into this adventure kicking and screaming, literally. I remember the day so well, driving home with Noah and telling ranting at him about how I felt the Holy Spirit leading me into this and how I wasn't good enough and  how my life would forever change! He just smiled and said "I think that is a great idea!"  WHAAAAT! Was my only response. Shouldn't he be telling me things like no you need to keep them in school, or at least say something like..."That's crazy!"

Nope! Not my Noah. The most calm, cool, collected person I know. Always on the positive, always listening to God and obeying!

Well here we are two months into our homeschooling venture and I am so grateful. God has lead me into the most fulfilling and life changing experience that I have been blessed with. God has shown me quickly that I have a short amount of time to be with my children with whom He entrusted to me. Proverbs 22:6 says Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. How can I train my children sufficiently if I continued sharing them with the world.

I still struggle with many things like are they getting enough friend time and am I teaching them the best I can. I have a hard time just being couped up in the house as much as we are. My prayers are focused on the strength that I can only get from Jesus. I need Him to start my day, get through my day, and end my day...each and everyday. When I don't, I am attacked with those insecurities that I know can only come from the enemy.

With teaching them, I get to make our main focus on Jesus! Sharing about the Bible every morning while implementing Him into all we do makes that focus successful. For many years I frantically worried about how Noah and I were going to be able to pay for their college tuition, and spent many hours dreaming about what successful career they were going to choose for their lives. Now this may be on the complete opposite page from many of you but I am feeling lead to say it. The worries have turned into prayers and hopes for God to lead them into ministry. Any ministry that honors Jesus! College or no college. Society says that is what we are to reach for. Getting a high paying job will determine how successful you are, it determines your worth. I don't want my children's worth to be determined what their bank account looks like rather what are the things they do for Jesus and how well do they love others. I want my children to honor and love God more than I ever have. More than anyone I know. Do I want to encourage them to reach for things that bring them joy? Yes! My job is to guide them to that joy which is that of Jesus!

1 John 3:18-19 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence.

We spent some time this weekend changing some rooms around to bring more peace into our home. So here is a picture to share with you what the new school room looks like. I still have some decorating to do, but our front room definitely fits our needs much better.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Giving Thanks~ Day 13

Today I am grateful for books. I love reading great fiction novels however I have not been able to pick one up in many years. I always have a wonderful self help book that is waiting on my shelf to be read. I wanted to share some of my favorites.

The guide to life!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Giving Thanks~ Day 12

Who loves gifts?  OHHH! I DO, I DO!!! I not only love to get gifts but I love to give them. There is nothing like finding that perfect gift for someone that you love and watching their eyes as they open it! I am giddy just thinking about it now! With Christmas right around the corner, I am sure you have already started your Christmas shopping and are looking for those perfect gifts now. I wanted to share with you some ideas for this Holiday season as you will be traveling to homes of loved ones and I am sure you don't want to show up empty handed.

This is an idea to make that is very inexpensive and easy to put together. I made this for my friend that I went to visit last night. I bought the mug at the dollar tree. Have you looked there lately? It has some pretty neat things and they are only a dollar!! I placed two things of hot cocoa and two little Christmas tree ornaments with some marshmallows sprinkled about to add some fun! Wrap in some shrink wrap, man I love shrink wrap and make a beautiful bow to place on top. It took me about 10 minutes to make and only cost about $1.50 to make.


 Anything homemade makes for a great gift. I love getting bread, cookies, or even candy. You can buy cute little loaf pans at Michaels and make a batch of banana nut bread and fill about 3-4. Wrap them in foil with some ribbon and you have a thoughtful gift to present.

                                      Homemade sauce is another cute idea. Place it in a mason jar with some twine and a gift tag and viola! Gifts don't have to cost a fortune just some creativity which can be found on pinterest! How about you...any inexpensive and creative gifts that you give for Christmas?
Here are some ideas from pinterest.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Giving Thanks~ Day 11

I am thankful today and everyday for my friends. I love all the women that come into my life and make a difference for me. A few years ago my life became filled with some truly amazing Jesus loving women! They enrich my life and continue to be lights for me. Everyone needs a good girlfriend to call on whenever she needs to just talk. Girls are great at that. Husbands usually don't fill that need like a girlfriend will. I cherish the friendships that have come and gone. I am truly blessed.