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Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy #Halloween!!!

Happy Halloween Bloggers!!

Any Pokemon fans out there? I bought this online because 1. I cannot sew. 2. One big fat no thank you on the whole Halloween shopping frenzy! 3. $19 well spent!He loves it, and it's adorable! One piece, gloves, and a plastic mask. Done!



















Are you curious about my oldest? This is his first official "too cool to dress up" year. Boooooo!
But, he wants that candy still!

As of a few days ago I am officially addicted to Pinterest! I found these on there, and had to make! I LOVE it when I already have the supplies, so it was a must do!
All you need is:
tissue paper
Mod Podge
paint
paintbrushes
old spaghetti jars
*tip: soak your jars in hot soapy water to remove labels.


















Cut your tissue paper into strips.
Paint your jar with bottom coat of Mod Podge.
Layer the the tissue paper onto jar.
Apply a top coat of Mod Podge over tissue paper.
Let dry and then paint scary faces!




I let my little guy paint them however he wanted!

They ended up being various monsters rather than pumpkins.
It's so easy to get caught up in things being perfectly the way I had envisioned them. I have to remember let go, and have fun! It's always so much better!

Cute, right?

How about Halloween treat? EASY to make!
Pumpkin Dip:
1 jar pumpkin
1 box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 tub of cool whip
1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
mix, serve with gingersnaps.




YUM!!

And last but not least, your "spooky cat" pumpkin that my baby had to have! Big kudos to hubs for pulling this off without a carving kit!


















Have a safe and wonderful Halloween!!

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

#VeggieTales DVD-The Little Drummer Boy Review and #Giveaway!

I'm back with another awesome Veggie Tales DVD giveaway! Have you seen the latest release, The Little Drummer Boy? It's adorable!

I am all about doing anything that will direct my kids in the true meaning of the Christmas season, and this DVD is sure to please! We loved it! As a christian mother of two, Veggie Tales never lets me down. Each story and DVD brings a Bible lesson to life in a way that kids remember and love. It's important to me to bring God's word into our home, and anytime we can invite Him through the activities we do, it blesses our home. 

In this Veggie-version of the holiday classic, Junior Asparagus stars as The Little Drummer Boy, a lonely child who finds the true meaning of Christmas when he stumbles upon the birth of baby Jesus. A story of generosity, hope and love, this timeless tale will warm the hearts of children everywhere!


Bonus Features:
  • Audio Commentary
  • “The Little Drummer Boy” Music Video
  • Sing-Along Songs—“The 8 Polish Foods of Christmas” and “Can’t Smile Without Ewe”
  • Behind the Music of “The Little Drummer Boy”
  • Visit a Drum Factory with Junior
  • Family Activity—Make Your Own Drum
  • Interactive Book Preview—Christmas Is Finally Here
Thanks to Big Idea Entertainment one of my readers with win a copy of their own! This is perfect for a Christmas gift!! 

Mandatory Entries:
*Leave a comment and tell me what you love about Veggie Tales!

Additional Entries:
*Follow Stories from the Shoebox with GCF
*Like my Facebook page
*Follow me on Twitter
*Tweet about the giveaway and leave me your twitter link. (Click on the tweet button at the top of this post or use this: "I want to #win this #veggietales DVD with @adriennesfts @veggietales #thelittledrummerboy 
http://tinyurl.com/3jwedqk!")
*Post about this on FB and leave me a link to your post.
*Follow @veggietales on Twitter.


***Tweets and FB posts can be done once daily to increase your chances. Be sure to come back and comment for every tweet or FB post!!


Contest ends November 5, 2011 at 9pm Eastern time. The winner will be selected using random.org


*I was given a complimentary copy of the DVD, The The Little Drummer Boy, in exchange for my honest review of the product. All opinions are 100% mine. 

The Original Christmas Classics DVD Box Set-Review and #Giveaway!


When I was contacted to do a review of this DVD set I was thrilled! These classics are our family favorites during the holidays! We watch these movies over and over, and usually all the way through spring of the following year. We love all things Christmas! 

This cute and family-friendly box set contains four of the most beloved holiday TV specials of all time, including the Rankin/Bass classics “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” and “Frosty Returns.” Watching these iconic TV specials are part of the American holiday tradition, just like baking cookies or trimming the Christmas tree! The holiday season just wouldn’t be the same without them…

We watched Rudolph as soon as the review set came in the mail! So grab your hot cocoa and enter to win a set of your own! This is an excellent gift idea, or keep it for yourself, like we did!! :)

Mandatory Entries:
*Leave a comment and tell me which classic is your favorite and why you want to win this box set.

Additional Entries:
*Follow Stories from the Shoebox with GCF
*Like my Facebook page
*Follow me on Twitter
*Tweet about this giveaway and leave me your twitter link.
*Post about this on FB and leave me a link to your post.



***Tweets and FB posts can be done once daily to increase your chances. Be sure to come back and comment for every tweet or FB post!!

Contest ends November 5, 2011 at 9pm Eastern time. The winner will be selected using random.org



The Original Christmas Classics box set will be available wherever Blu-rays are sold for $44.99 SRP. I was given a complementary set in exchange for my honest review. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Simple Indian Headdress Craft

This is a simple and fun!

All you need is:
1 Brown paper grocery bag
scissors
pencil
Paint
paintbrushes
stapler
tape
white or light colored paper

We're learning all about Indians right now in History. Making a headdress is a fantastic way to bring history to life. My little guys loves hands on learning! There are so many possibilities outside of the textbook!


Gather your paint.



I love to reuse produce trays for paint trays. Works great!

Cut the bottom out of your grocery bag to make one long sheet of paper, then cut strips for the headband in desired thickness.

Decorate the the headband however you like. No strict guidelines on this activity! We looked at pictures online and in our textbook of real headdresses to get inspiration.





Then we used white paper to trace patterns of feathers with pencil, then painted them in.

We just made lots of different feathers in lots of different colors. I thought paint was better for this than crayon or marker.

They might not be the most historically accurate headdresses out there, but they were fun to make!

Let your painted feathers dry and cut them out.


Fit the headband to fit your child's head.
Staple and cover staples with tape for safety.
Glue the dry feathers into the inside of the headband, and walah!

We learned that each feather represents a mark of bravery or accomplishment in battle or hunting. They had to be earned. Like Boy Scouts or Awana badges.
Interesting, no?


Hang on to these and wear them at the dinner table for Thanksgiving!






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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Afraid

She stood there frozen. Staring down at the two pink lines in disbelief.
This thing has to be broken. The box says 3 minutes. That was 3 seconds!
*****
After taking another home pregnancy test to find 2 more lines staring back at her, she took the phone off the hook, went into her bedroom, and shut the door.

She was pregnant.

The thoughts raced through her mind so fast she couldn't keep up with them. She started running through the dates in her mind, images of the frenzied months past flashed before her eyes. In that moment she had never felt so alone.

*****
She had finally gotten away from him.

They hadn't spoken in weeks. When he came home from rehab she was different. She no longer cared where he was, what he was doing, or what their future held. She knew in her heart there was no future. She was detached.

He came home with a fresh motivation to make things right, but it was too late. Her faith in his empty promises had run out, and she had nothing left to give. She was empty, and he could tell. He started questioning her about her every move. He wanted to know every detail of her activities while he was gone, and she was in no mood to share them. She didn't even feel like she was obligated to. She spent the last two years wondering where he was, or who he was with. She owed him nothing!

It was the worst feeling of conflict she had ever had. Even though she knew she owed him nothing, part of her felt guilty. Because she knew what she wasn't telling him. She knew that her heart wasn't with him anymore, and she knew why.

*****

As she lay in bed staring at the ceiling she couldn't get the image of the pregnancy test out of her mind.

Her pager was going crazy with phone numbers followed by "911" codes. It had been three days since she took that second test. Three days since she'd talked to anyone, and three days since she had spoken to him. After spending every.single.day of the last month together she knew he must have been worried about her when she didn't return his messages. But she just couldn't yet.

She just couldn't speak to him. She just couldn't hear his voice.

She was afraid. More afraid that she had ever been. Afraid of becoming a mother. Afraid of facing what was ahead for her.

She was afraid because she had spent the last month finally being held by someone who loved her back, and most of all, she was afraid that he wouldn't be the father of the baby that was growing inside her.



This post is linked up with Shell at Things I Can't Say. Her weekly Pour Your Heart meme often gives me a chance to write the things I can't say. From time to time I write about a girl I used to know. You can read more in chronological order below.


Previous posts:
1. Exhale
2. Rehab
3. Lost

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Contagious Joy!

Carefree and not a worry in the world. Someone please tell me how I can keep him that way...

You can't see it in the picture very well, but his smile is brighter than the sunshine! We took the boys for a walk on the beach on Sunday. The weather was gorgeous!

We blew bubbles and my oldest tried to fly a kite. The wind ended up being too crazy for that, but the bubbles worked out beautifully.

I love watching my little guy play. It brings me so much joy! He has such a contagious spirit you simply cannot escape. He just lives life and enjoys every second!

Every night at bedtime he says, "Mom, did you have a good day today? I did!"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

When I have to fight for him

Many of you know my oldest son struggles with OCD. Last summer was THE toughest and most unexpected battles God has ever brought me through. Since then my son has made tremendous progress! He's doing so many of the things he wasn't able to do. The list of things he's been able to overcome is a mile long. Medication and therapy have helped him so much!

But there are still battles everyday. It's been about 5 months since we began treatment for him, and I'm so happy that I have my son back. He's nowhere near that frightening place he was in back in June. Praise God!

He still listens to OCD everyday. He lets it tell him what to do and when to do it, and I have to step in. Although he's made so much progress, I can see he's reached a plateau. He's managed to improve enough to get through life and "appear" as if all is good, but I see how much he's still controlled by it.

We still have to keep fighting. It's a never ending battle to beat OCD, and sometimes I have to fight for him.

It's my least favorite job right now as a mom. I have to be tough. I have to do things that, at the time, he thinks are mean or hurt him. I have to force him to work through everyday tasks. I can't allow him to plan his day around fear. I have to teach him to live fully!

Sometimes when he doesn't want to cooperate and fear takes over it's scary, and I feel awful in the moment. His meltdowns are at a 12 on a scale of 1-10. But, it's in those hard moments I realize how much work he still has to do, and how much fight he still has to give. I realize how hard a simple task is for him to overcome, and that's when I will fight for him.

Once he's calmed and rational again he knows I'm helping him. It's just hard for him, for me, and for the whole family sometimes.

The only way to beat this thing is to show OCD you can do it! To ignore the lie and fight through whatever it's telling you can't do.

Although it's tough, I'm thankful that he's young, and at home! We can teach him now. God-willing he will learn, grow, heal, and live the fullest life he could ever imagine!

"For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power!"~2 Timothy 1:16

For more information on exposure therapy you can take a peek at A&E's documentary series, Obsessed. Watching some of these episodes has actually helped my son see how bad it can get, how he actually has quite a bit in common with a few of the cases, and how he needs to fight!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fresh Fruit

Yesterday I was putting some things together for our Bible time. I love it when God uses a lesson I plan for the boys to speak to my heart.

As part of our curriculum, we are slowly working our way through The Young Peacemaker. I really want to teach the boys how to resolve conflict God's way. As they get older they bicker with each, argue, and some days-drive me crazy by not being nice to each other.

We're learning that conflict starts in the heart!


Conflict arises when we don't get what we want. Ouch!

It's really making me take a look in the mirror and address some of my own issues with resolving conflict. I see how conflict affects not only my relationships, but also my parenting.

I made these posters and hung them on our fridge yesterday. We're talking a lot about the root of our desires and the fruit those desires produce. It's pretty tough conviction when you realize how much of your own desires are selfish in nature. Thankfully, His grace is enough!

I'm praying that God will do a great exchange in our hearts.

Everyone needs to add a little fresh fruit to their diet! No?

"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it..."~James 4:1-2

"But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."~Galatians 5:22-23

"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."~Psalm 37:4

I'm linking up with Hip Homeschool Moms today, and hope to see what others are up to in the homeschool world. :)

Hip Homeschool Hop Button

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cherished Moments and Reflections

I want to cherish every moment of this snippet of time I have with my boys. I get to be home with them everyday. Some times I think I take the for granted. They are getting so big, and time is slipping away. This thing called motherhood is so tricky! Some days I want to scream and run away, and other days I just want to freeze time and spend forever with them.

Do you ever go to bed at the end of the day and realize all you did was push your children to the side? You flashback to missed opportunities and wasted time. Those are the days I just want a do-over.

Unfortunately, we don't get do-overs. Now is the time to be the mom I want my boys to remember when they are grown. Now is the time to be the mom they need. I'm learning to pull them close when I really want to shove them out of the kitchen, or listen when I really want to tune them out, or watch a little closer when I'm distracted.

Do you ever feel like the kind of mom you want to be is far from the mom your kids get? I've felt that way lately. It's not an awful mom-guilt feeling, but more of a fresh and loving conviction. (There is no condemnation in Christ!-Romans 8:1)

It's simply an awareness of what I want. For me and for them. I want them to have a soft place to land, a place of unconditional love, and trust. I want them grow up knowing they can come to me with anything. That kind of security doesn't just happen. I think it has to grow over time. I think it has to be earned through our parenting and love.



Life moves so fast. We have to force ourselves to slow down and embrace the chaos of this journey. Such precious memories and lessons are found in the midst of that chaos.


In this age of technology, social networking, and multi-tasking, it's so easy to miss out on the tasks that matter.

We can connect to anyone at anytime. We have laptops, cell phones that do it all, multiple computers, TVs, iPads, and so on. How many of those connections matter?

We want instant gratification in every area, but we forget the things that matter take time. Molding my boys into adulthood takes a lifetime. They aren't just going to "poof" into the men I pray they will be. They need guidance, love, and time.


It's a slow progression. One that could go either way. Will I see the progression of lost time in their lives, or the progression of time invested?

I hope and pray with my whole heart that I remember to invest in them everyday. I pray they will grow up feeling like they were a priority in my heart.


There are plenty of things I desire for myself that have nothing to do with them. Yes, I have to take time for me. I need to refresh and rejuvenate to be the best mom I can be, but other things have to wait. The day that God blessed me with them He asked me to put those things aside in order to pull my boys a little closer.

I can't do it all. But, the one thing I must do is raise my boys.



Monday, October 10, 2011

Marriage: It's complicated.


Hubs and I recently celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. It's been a blessed week.

There's something special about simply celebrating us. Our past, present, and future.

It's a time we can look back at the 13 years we've spent together. Where we were, where we are, and most importantly-where we want to go.




It's a tender time. The good kind of tender. I stop and realize just how wonderful he is. He stops to kiss me a little more. He stops to hold me a little longer, and I know he appreciates me.

I've done a lot of reflecting this past week.

We've had many valleys and many mountaintops. But, one thing remains. Love.

Through all the twists and turns of our complicated past, busy present, and dreams for the future, we still love each other with our whole hearts.

I can't imagine spending this life without him. I can't imagine parenting these boys without him, and I certainly can't picture my future without him.

I am still helplessly in love with my man. And I like that.

Marriage can be so hard. It's exhausting at times. There's been many nights when I just wanted to give up. Times I wanted to believe the lie that we wouldn't make it. There have been times I've just wanted to punch the living daylights out of him! But, then somehow months later, I can breathe. I can see we've grown. Grown in our marriage, and I think we've grown as individuals.

We still have so far to go. But, we'll go through this complicated thing called life together.

Be encouraged. His mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
If today is hard, tomorrow may be harder, but somehow, one day, it gets better.

It gets wonderful.

Then you realize you've made it through another journey. You've made it through another chapter-together.







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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

School Days and a Special Anniversary!

First things first!

Today is the day I get to celebrate marrying my best friend. Eight years ago today we got married on the beach, and it was the best day ever.

I'm still madly in love with this man after spending 13 years together.
That's a special math treat for you. Yeah, yeah. Nobody's perfect. *wink wink*

God is so good! Our life is evidence of his grace and power, and He continues to work!













Now on to sharing a few fun things we've been up to with school.

Science...
A little experiment yesterday brought the boys together. I love that sometimes they can get along.













Learning about density. This was actually pretty cool. See how the cork, ice cube, grape, and rock(which is hard to see at the very bottom.) float at different levels depending on the density of each object and the liquid? 

 















FUN!

Reptiles...

These gopher tortoises live
all over our area. We have
several right around the yard. They're so cute!

I decided to do a reptile unit with my youngest, and we're studying a little about them.








This is a cute storybook we made a couple of weeks ago.

The outside...
























Inside you find the story...













We're also doing some investigating...


Our Tortoise Tracker!
I've made a bar graph to track when we see the tortoises the most and least.
Morning, afternoon, evening, or night?




Here's an example of what I hope it will look something like.

Since I've made the graph they have been in hiding or something. We actually have one lonely tortoise on our little graph. Argh!

But you get the idea. :)








Some multi-sensory math.



Sometimes my little guy needs to be kept busy.
That's a huge understatement.




The other day we practiced our math drills like this.

With play-doh!

He loved it!

To save time, I rolled out the "snakes" and he built the numbers.










What are you all up to?






Hip Homeschool Hop Button

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Monday, October 3, 2011

The B word

Balance.

The last few weeks have been a little overwhelming for me. I hate that word. It makes me feel and sound so "out of control".

In a world where we're supposed to have it all together, being "overwhelmed" just sounds so negative. But, there's no better word to describe how I was feeling a couple of weeks ago. PMS certainly did not help matters, either.

But, there's an upside. Feeling out of control always makes me take a step back, look at my priorities, and readjust where needed.

Finding balance can be so hard. I do not have advice or a magic solution, I just have a list of things that makes me feel better. Perhaps these things will help you find balance, too?

1. God has to come first.
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." ~Matthew 6:33
It never fails. When I put other things aside and take the time to spend in my Bible study, prayer, or devotions first, everything seems to fall into place throughout the day. Sometimes I just have to leave the dirty dishes in the sink, forget about the laundry, turn of the computer, and sit down. I have to put everything else aside and get into God's word. It's the only way to start the day. I wish I could remember this everyday!

This also holds true for school. When I spend time in God's word with the boys FIRST, everything else we're pressured to get done miraculously flows throughout the day. I can get so caught up with the core subjects and lessons, that I put Bible time on the back burner.

That's so backwards! We have an amazing blessing to include God's word in our school day. I must take full advantage. It's always better!

2. Daily exercise.
It's been almost 9 weeks since school started, and my exercise routine has definitely suffered. I struggle to fit that in with the demands of homeschool, housework, and real life as opposed to summer life. But, I've got to do it. I'm gonna put on my tennis shoes and work-out, grubby clothes, and keep them on until I get on the elliptical.

3. Eating right.
Add color to your diet. Eat small portions throughout the day. Cut back on energy sucking options like carbs and sugar.

4. Preparedness
Preparation for the day ahead of time makes a world of difference. Take a calendar out. See what's on your plate for the week, and make a bin or basket somewhere around the home. Throw the items, paperwork, package to be mailed out, prescriptions to be filled, or whatever you need this week. It's like an active to do list. One place where all of your "stuff" needs to be when you need it. Perhaps keep your car keys, sunglasses, and pesky items you can never find in this bin. One of the hardest things for me is forgetfulness! I loose my keys, forget library books when I run out. Keeping it all in one weekly place helps.

This also works for our homeschool routine. I have bins for each of the boys that include the items they will need for the week for science experiments, supplies, papers, etc. Then I don't have to take time during the day to go a "find" things.

5. Take time for me.
Whatever this is for you, DO IT! We all need a break. My Saturday morning yoga is my escape. I love to read. I do this too. On the back porch, or maybe even on the couch when everyone else is watching TV. Just do something small that you enjoy.

6. Let go of things I CANNOT control!
I can drive myself crazy trying to change or control something that is only within God's control. I don't need to hover over my kids to get them to do what they need to. I don't need to worry, I just need to be in His presence, meet with Him everyday, and give it all to Him.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 4:6-7

What are things you do to find balance in the business of life?

Someone I love once told me that being BUSY stands for:
Being
Under
Satan's
Yoke

Sometimes I think our enemy loves when we're busy and out of balance. We are weak, just the way he likes us. We have to stay equip!