Tuesday, June 26, 2012

An Updated Summer Reading List

I posted about my summer reading list a few weeks ago here.  I have been reading a lot lately and thought I would post an update about what I have read.  I have a lot more to read since I have been adding a lot of free books to my reader too so this list will be updated again I am positive.

Chronicles of the Kings Series by Lynn Austin
-Gods and Kings
-Song of Redemption
-The Strength of His Hand
-Faith of My Fathers
-Among the Gods

The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer - currently READING 

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks - currently READING

Made to Crave by Lisa Terkeurst

The Money Saving Mom's Budget by Crystal Paine

Refiner's Fire Series by Lynn Austin - READ - excellent fiction series set in the Civil War
-Candle in the Darkness
-Fire by Night
-A Light to My Path

 Sophie Trace Trilogy by Kathy Herman - READ - excellent fiction mystery series
-The Real Enemy
-The Last Word
-The Right Call

Midnight (A Novel)  by Steven Wise - READ - a little slow to get into, but a great overall read

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Craft Bucket List

I've seen some pretty cool Bucket Lists and Summer Bucket Lists floating around the blogging world recently and was trying to figure out what I would put on my lists. I started coming up with a Summer Bucket List, but quickly realized that it included a lot A LOT of crafts. So instead of coming up with the summer list, I decided to create a Craft Bucket List and give myself at least until the end of the year to complete it (I would love to complete all of the things on it by the end of summer, but let's be realistic - I don't have that kind of attention span..LOL). Here is my... Craft Bucket List
  • Make a dress for Baby Bear
  • Make a skirt for me
  • Scrapbook 50 Layouts
  • Make Marshmallow Fondant
  • Make a craft with chalkboard paint
  • Finish the (forever and a day long) Thomas Kinkaid Cross Stitch I have been working on
  • Decoupage my T.V. Trays
  • Decorate letters for Buddy's Room
  • Make decorations for my craft room
  • Make at least 5 of my Pinterest Pins
This is just the start of my Craft Bucket List.  I am sure I will be adding to it and taking away from it, but before it gets too long, I better get this posted and get crafting!  Do you have a craft list a mile long?  What is on it?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Buddy Bear's Birthday Cake

It is birthday time again already and I am just not ready for it, emotionally.  It seems just yesterday that we were patiently awaiting the arrival of Buddy Bear.  Now he is quickly approaching double digits, but not this year.  Enough sappy, on to Buddy Bear's cake.  It is tradition in our house for me to make the birthday cakes for the kids.  I have made every cake except for Buddy Bear's cake last year.  I ran out of time and had no less than 17 things going on and I had a friend make the cake for me, but it just didn't feel right having someone make the cake for me.  So this year it was back to making the cake myself.  Buddy asked for a Mickey Mouse themed cake and that got the wheels turning.  Just before he asked for a Mickey cake I had been scrap booking the pictures of our Disney trip so the idea for his cake came pretty quickly.  I don't know if you have ever seen a Disney parade, but there is nothing like it.  They are AWESOME.  So I decided I would make a parade of cake floats.  It all started with baking my cakes in bread pans along with making mini cupcakes.  I also made marshmallow fondant to cover the cakes for the first time.  Here are the before and after pictures...
Crumb Coating
The cakes started off looking like Lego's
Ratatouille and Mickey and the Gang
Dalmatians and Toy Story
Mickey and the Gang
101 Dalmatians
Toy Story

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

You Have to Earn It

You have to earn it seems to be the theme in our house lately. Buddy Bear is at a really good age for learning and understanding that everyone in our household has to work to make sure that certain jobs get done. So we have been teaching him that you have to work in order to earn things. In the case of chores, he works to earn his weekly allowance. In the case of video games, he has to read or do some sort of "school" work to earn playing time. This summer we have been doing a little bit of review work for school just to keep our skills sharp and also for the tutoring I do with the boys I watch during the summer. (Don't worry they have to earn their video game time too.) Buddy Bear is pretty excited to earn money for doing chores and it is nice to have someone helping me out with little things. The chores he does saves me a few minutes here and there, but the minutes do add up. Also there is no more fighting and asking him to do the same thing over and over, now he knows he has the choice of doing his chores, but if he chooses not to do them he doesn't get paid at the end of the week. Buddy Bear is pretty good about saving money so he does the chores without complaining. Along with earning money for his chores, we have been teaching Buddy Bear to use the envelope system. He has 3 envelopes - one for tithes, one for saving, and one for spending. He has to put 10% of his earnings in tithes and at least 10% into savings, the rest he gets as spending money. He can choose to put some of his spending money into savings or tithes, but that is up to him. Hopefully by teaching him to manage his money now at this age, it will set a pattern for him for later in life of managing his money properly. In the case of the video games, the boys have learned that if they want to play on the Wii, they are going to have to do some reading, spelling, or math. We enrolled in the summer reading program at our library and that helps encourage them to read, but really they know that if they want to play the Wii they will have to earn it. I give them one minute of Wii time for each minute of "school" time they do. So if they decide they don't feel like reading or participating in "school" activities they understand that they are also choosing to not be able to play the Wii that day. This has worked really well for me so far and everyone is okay with the arrangement. I like the fact that this also limits their video game time so they can't play it all day, not that they ever would be allowed to play it all day anyway. The whole "You have to earn it" theme started because it is important to us to teach our kids that everyone in the family has to help out to make the family run. We all have jobs to do each day and we want to be sure we are teaching our kids that these jobs don't just magically get done (oh, how I wish there was a super, duper housework fairy), but that someone has to do each job so that it is completed. We are also teaching our kids that when we work together to help each other out we end up with more family time where we can play together, go exploring together, or work together on something fun. I guess it is all about balancing it all out. Everyone wants to have fun, but we have to make sure we don't ignore the work just for the fun.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Do you ever feel like your head is just so cluttered that it is going to explode? Your brain is on complete overload and there are a bazillion and one thoughts floating through so fast that you just can't comprehend them all. That is how I have been feeling lately. My brain is on overload. The thoughts are fluttering through my head so fast that I just don't know which one to deal with first. So I come here and write them down. Writing the thoughts down helps me process them, categorize them, and file them in the appropriate category. Some of my thoughts lately have to do with projects I need to work on or finish up (so that way I can start new projects). Other thoughts have been about things I need to get done around the house. Why is it that our homes go so quickly from being clean to a total disaster area in about 5 minutes when it took an entire day to clean it all? I guess that it is a sign that my home is well loved and that people are having fun in it, but sometimes the quick turn around time from clean to disaster zone just overwhelms me. Anyway... Many of the other thoughts fluttering through my brain are related to situations that don't involve me directly, but rather indirectly. Great coded sentence, eh? Anyway the situations are things that I am an outsider looking in on and I have opinions about them, but there is really, truly nothing I can do, should do, or say about the situation. Guess they are kind of situations where I know what I would do if it were happening to me type of things (or at least I like to think I would know what to do if it were my situation). These situations and thoughts about them sit in my brain while I wait to see what will happen and what the people directly involved in them will choose to do. I guess that all the thoughts running through my head feel like a list that just keeps constantly scrolling over and over until I deal with each item on the list (or lie awake in the middle of the night processing each item on the list). Ultimately, it is up to me what I choose to do with each item on my thought list/scroll. I have to decide what to do with it - is it something I need to complete, is it an idea that I need/want to develop, is it someone else's issue that I don't need to be involved in, etc. I can choose what I want to do with the thought list and how I want to approach it. I can do something about each item or I can ignore them and just let the thoughts continue to build until I get completely overwhelmed. Let me tell you, me overwhelmed is just not pretty or who I want to be. Me overwhelmed makes me irritable, crabby, unhappy, unpleasant, and just not a nice person. I would rather deal with the items on the fluttering thought list but I know that by myself I am not a match for the list. It will definitely win at overwhelming me. So lately before I start tackling the thought list and helping it work its way from my head to real paper so that I know what to work on without forgetting something, I start praying. I know that by myself, I will never get everything done that I need to get done and I will never not be able to not worry about my loved ones and friends, but with God ALL things are possible and He will take my fears and worries away while strengthening me and giving me the energy I need to tackle the list I can do something about. I find myself praying much of the day when I am working on tasks, ideas, and projects. I pray for the people in my life and the situations they are in. I pray for wisdom and guidance for when to open my mouth and when to just keep it shut. I pray for God to lead me through my day and for Him to help me be a light to the world around me. All the praying helps me keep my head focused on God, rather than the run away train of random, fleeting thoughts. It helps me keep it all in perspective and know that while the list of thoughts threatends to overwhelm me and overtake me, God is in control and for me that is a beautiful thing.
 "I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me." Phillippians 4:13 
 "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34