Friday, November 27, 2009

What My Kids Are Getting For Christmas

In honor of all of you who are out there shopping today, I'm posting what I'm going to buy for my kids while I'm sitting right here on my couch. (hear a contented sigh here) I've never been a big shopper, and the ease of shopping online has me hooked! I won't publish what the adult members of my family are getting (they might see!) but the kids will never know if I let you in on their secrets. Here are the basics:
The oldest is getting her own set up for making herself beautiful. It's time! She's ready for her own hair dryer, lighted mirror, and junior makeup set. (She's going to LOVE it!) I'll probably go here for the mirror, here for the makeup and maybe here for the hair dryer.
The boy is going to be in hog heaven with this marshmallow shooter from Hearth Song. Yes, it really shoots miniature marshmallows! The video of a mom shooting marshmallows at her kids' mouth on this page is priceless! It will be fun to pack this present in a huge box with four or five big bags of mini marshmallows. I'm sure we'll all have fun with that at Christmas, though I may be finding moldy marshmallows all over the house for a while. The boy will also be getting 4 very boyish costumes that I bought after Halloween. He can be a Ninja Turtle, G.I. Joe, a fireman, or a Transformer.
The youngest girly will be getting a Noah's Ark block game that I bought a month ago on sale at Hearth Song (yes, I love their toys!) and a Tinker Bell costume, also bought on sale a month ago. She'll probably get a few more odds and ends as well. I think she's going to be happy just playing with the boxes and paper!
Happy shopping, everyone!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I am so thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ and all the riches of His Kingdom that He offers me!
I am also thankful to and for so many things! Wouldn't it be great this Thanksgiving to be able to send Thank You cards to each and every person you're thankful for? I can't really help you with everyone, but I can help you with sending a "Thank You" to someone in the armed services. Well, it's not really me helping--it's Xerox! They have set up a site called "Let's Say Thanks" where you can pick out a card that they will print and send to U.S. military personnel stationed overseas. It only takes a second and you can send as many as you want! Get the whole family in on this today, and have a Happy Thanksgiving thanking God and others for your blessings!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

rbt Bags are a GREAT Gift!

Looking for a unique, practical, fun gift for someone on your list? Check out rbt Bags! The creator of these fun bags and accessories is a member of my community and a friend. Every one of her products is made of patterned oil cloth that is both very stylish and very functional. I LOVE (everything really, but in particular) the journals covered with oil cloth and the snappy clutches that will hold phone, keys, and wallet.Because I love her products so much, this tan floral pocket tote will be one of my December giveaways! Come to Of Such is the Kingdom on December 7th and 14th to enter these giveaways!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cute Turkey

Check out this cute craft that the boy did in his Mother's Day Out program last week! It is an oreo and a half, 3 candy corn (and a small piece for the head/beak), a whopper for the body, and some chocolate icing to hold it all together. As you can see, I barely had time to take a picture before it was snatched up and eaten! Very fun.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Veggie Tales Family Fun Night

This past "Family Fun Night" featured the Veggie Tales! (I just couldn't stomach anything like fish sticks again!) We had LOTS of vegetables decorated with eyes and mouths including broccoli with pea eyes and ranch dressing mouth, cauliflower with olive eyes and ketchup mouth, carrots and celery with ranch dressing eyes and mouths, and a slice of zucchini with cheese eyes and mouth. We also had peas, corn, and sweet potato!
Not having meat was quite an
adventure for my manly husband, but
he made it through! I was stuffed after all those vegetables. For dessert we ate the
"Bad Apple" (cooked apple sprinkled liberally with sugar and cinnamon). Then we all watched Larry Boy and the Bad Apple. Simple but very fun!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Songs for Saplings

"You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." Duet. 6:7
I've been encouraged by many older and wiser mommas to buy some scripture-turned-music for my kids to listen to as we "walk by the way." I've looked at Steve Green's Hide 'Em in Your Heart and several others and been impressed but for some reason, never bought any.
Recently a friend gave me some music by Dana Dirksen who is a member of the friend's sister's church. I took the cd like I often do when people tell me of something great that someone they know has done--cautiously. I expected a praise band kind of feel, something my kids would like but I wouldn't really enjoy. But I was wrong. I really like Dana's music! Songs for Saplings is the name of her band (it's pretty difficult to even find her name on the website) and they have done amazing things with both scripture and the Westminster Shorter Catechism.
I'm excited about how fast my kids are learning both scripture and doctrine through this wonderful music, and I want to share that excitement, so I will be giving the three cd set (Questions with Answers) for my first blog giveaway on December 7th! Praise God for music and for His Word!
linked to Things I Love Thursdays at Diaper Diaries.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Winning a Giveaway!

I know we've all entered blog giveaways, but I never really consider winning one of them. But it happens! I won this Snow White set from Extraordinary Mommy a few weeks back. It came in the mail this week, and I'm so excited to give it to my oldest for her birthday! I had considered giving it to the baby, who was Snow White for Halloween, but after seeing it and realizing how much imaginative play could go into the Snow White doll singing, dancing, and playing with her dwarves, I realized that the oldest would definitely love it! And since her birthday is next week, it makes a PERFECT gift. Not to mention the fact that the movie will make our drive home from Thanksgiving visiting fun and exciting.
Stay tuned for Of Such is the Kingdom's first giveaways on December 7th and December 14th!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fish Family Fun Night

Last week our family established what I hope will be a lasting tradition: themed family fun nights. We began with a very simple "Fish Night."
The setup was extremely quick and easy. I covered our dining table with paper and drew a fish for each member of the family. (I looked at the puzzle box for guidance.) Before dinner we each colored one of the fish (as well as our hands, mouths, and faces--this seems to be our marker routine!).
For dinner we had fish sticks, gold fish, "sea weed" (better known as green beans) and "fish
eggs" (better known as deviled eggs).
After dinner we all put together a fish puzzle. I would say this was simple as well, but with 4
different ideas of how a puzzle should work and 1 tired screaming baby, the difficulty level was definitely up! We all enjoyed it though, and I feel like a memory was made and a precedent established.
For more fish fun (what
we would have done with slightly older children and/or more time):
*visit a local aquarium
*play "Go Fish"
*read "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" by Dr. Seuss or "The Pout Pout Fish" by
write about what she learned about fishDeborah Diesen
*look at "Fish" (DK Eyewitness Book) by Steve Parker
*have the oldest journal about fish
*go fishing in the local pond
*watch National Geographic videos about fish

Friday, November 13, 2009

Invisible Mothers

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Pick me up around 5:30, please.' No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.. The invisible Mom.

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England ... Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe ... I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees..'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn, no cupcake you've baked is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot see if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

This is (an edited version of) a forward that was sent to me by another wonderful mother. Thanks Corrie and thanks to this Charlotte who are definitely inspiring me to build for the Lord!

Moms willing to be invisible are definitely a finer thing! (Thanks, Mom!) Linked to "Finer Things Friday."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grapefruit Seed Crush

I have been using Beeyoutiful's spirulina for years, but the last time I ordered from them, I added a new product. I have a feeling I'll be ordering this one long-term as well.
Grapefruit Seed Crush (GSC) is an AMAZING product. I'll give a short overview here, but for the full story, head over to Beeyoutiful yourself!
For starters, GSC is a natural antibiotic safe for everyone--nursing and pregnant mommas and infants included. It is very strong in its undiluted form, so must be diluted for almost every purpose. It can be used for the common cold, for sore throats, any kind of GI discomfort, for mouth infections, and for yeast infections.
GSC can be used for dandruff, for poison ivy, and for any kind of athlete's foot or other fungus problems.
GSC is a also a natural disinfectant. Use it to clean bathrooms, to make home made baby wipes, or to remove pesticides or parasites from water or food. GSC also has uses for plants and animals.
Get the picture? This stuff is amazing. It's one of those products that, if I ran out of everything else, I would still definitely want to have this on hand!
Linked with Things I Love Thursdays over at Diaper Diaries.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Oh So Chic

Beyond words! This oh-so-chic hat was created by putting two layered (large) squares of thin paper on my oldest's head and pressing around her head. I put a large piece of tape around the crown of her head to hold the paper there. I cut out the brim of the hat in a large circle. Then we put ribbon around the tape and created and glued on a tissue paper flower. She also decorated the wide brim of her hat with markers on my suggestion. The pose, though, was completely her idea!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Today's Snack: Puffed Rice Bars

I actually followed a recipe exactly today (and enjoyed it!). This recipe is courtesy of Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious:
6 cups puffed brown rice
1/4 cup milled flax seed
1 tablespoon margarine
10 oz. marshmallows
Canola Oil cooking spray
Spray a 9 1/2 x 11 inch pan with the cooking spray. Melt 1 tablespoon margarine in a large pot. Pour in marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Add puffed brown rice and milled flax seed. Spread into 9 1/2 x 11 pan. Cool, cut, and enjoy!
These were very yummy, and since I haven't made real rice crispy treats in forever, my kids will never know the difference. I enjoyed them for taste and for nutrition. My husband hasn't tried them yet, so he'll probably be the real test!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Mirror

Last Monday I wrote about a sermon where I heard how everything that comes out of my mouth (and into my head, for that matter) comes straight from my heart. This Sunday's sermon was just as convicting!
The story for this sermon was of blind Bartimaeus (Mt. 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; and Luke 18:35-43)--a story that I have always loved. Bartimaeus is the lowest of society, blind, unable to benefit anyone. Jesus stops and stoops to this poor, blind man! And then he asks Bartimaeus the million dollar question, "What do you want me to do for you?" Wow! Imagine having the man who owns and controls EVERYTHING ask you that question. Unlike Jesus's disciples a few verses earlier (in Mark) who answered that they wanted power and fame, Bartimaeus answers that he wants healing. That is very convicting! What would I ask for if presented that question by Jesus?
But the most convicting part of the sermon was when the pastor focused in on the "multitude" of the story. They were irritated and compassion-less toward Bartimaeus. The pastor warned that we are often the most irritated toward those who reflect our own spiritual state. Bartimaeus was blind, helpless, dirty, poor... and the multitude couldn't handle looking into that mirror. I would love to say, "What a horrible multitude!" and move right on, but I can't. That multitude is ME. It's ME with my kids a lot of times. They are needy, helpless, grumpy, confused, arrogant, and selfish, and sometimes I just can't handle the mirror that they hold up to my own spiritual state. I am all of those things too, I just hide it a lot better. Lord, help me to see my own spiritual state, and please, let that help create a heart of compassion toward these blind beggars that I am called to serve every day!

Friday, November 6, 2009

"Doughnuts and Chips" for Snack!

Today we had "doughnuts and chips" for snack. The doughnuts were cored and sliced apples spread with peanut butter, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and decorated with raisins. And the chips? They were banana chips! My 4yo loved it; he called them doughnuts and gobbled them right up. The 6yo was a little more skeptical. She gave me the grumpy face when I handed out hers, but she ate them too (minus the raisins). This snack was sweet and yummy, but it totally avoided the Halloween candy basket!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sequatchie Cove Farm

Today our little homeschool group visited a nearby farm (Sequatchie Cove Farm) and really enjoyed walking around, seeing the animals and learning a little bit about a farm. Well, I don't know how much the girls learned about the farm, but I learned!
This farm covers 300 beautiful acres and produces beef cows, milk cows, eggs, native plants, pork, berries, vegetables, and more. Sequatchie Cove Farm cheese will be available soon! (BTW, today I learned that true parmesan cheese is only produced in several places around Parma, Italy, and it has been used as currency and loan collateral--even being robbed out of secure bank vaults by cheese robbers!)
We saw lots of animals, ate lettuce right out of the garden, picked and ate a few leftover muscadines, saw the newly built dairy, and waded on the edges of the farm swimming hole. It was a very successful trip!
I really do love the great outdoors and Sequatchie Cove is a beautiful place to experience it!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Photo Art

It's always fun when you click to look back at your pictures on your camera and you find some like these:

And here are the incriminating ones! Ah ha! It was the two boys who did it! Well, maybe the kids should get some camera time every once in a while. It's fun to see things from their perspective!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Heart Words

"Out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks." Luke 6:45b NKJV
"Whatever is in your heart determines what you say." Luke 6:45b NLT
Our pastor pointed out yesterday morning that this statement leaves us with no ability to blame our outward circumstances for our behaviour--it's all right there in our hearts.
That hit a little close to home.
Then he (had the gall) to say that this statement also means that when I yell crazily at my kids for misbehavior something is revealed, not about their behavior, but about my own heart.
Double ugh!
He could have put my name before that statement.
I find it very easy to blame and complain about my circumstances so that I don't have to look too closely at my own heart--especially in my parenting. The great news is that after convicting us with the words of Scripture, our pastor reminded us of the Word, who covers those same sins with his grace-filled blood.
So, this week my prayer is that all the faults I see in myself would lead me to see my deeper sin, which would then lead me to repent and revel in the grace of the Savior.
And it wouldn't hurt if I could yell a little less at the kids as well. : )