Saturday, June 30, 2012


I started a post about Christian women publishing their thoughts on the popular books going around right now and certain male-centered movies that just came out. I thought I was calling it what it was - a bunch of self-righteous mommies who were judging others when we are really called to love.

And then I had my husband proof read it.

And he said it sounded like I was "judging the judgers".... so I deleted it.

Here's what I want to say. Ladies, we are called to love. We were created to be nurturing, caring, loving, compassionate, gentle and forgiving. We are called to see the example in those gone before us and set the example for those who will come after us. We should be having each other over for lunch, holding another's crying, colicky baby, praying with our friends who are fighting with their husbands and praying over our children that they will grow to know and love God. We should be thankful, content and happy. We should be willing to serve others. We should be teaching our children and each other about giving, serving, loving Jesus and all that it involves.

I have many, many flaws. I also have some wonderful friends that I know, without a doubt, the Lord placed in my life to show me grace and provide me with much needed accountability. And I am thankful. I hope that each of you have someone like that in your life.

"Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other's faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony." Col. 3:12-14

Friday, June 29, 2012

And the Worst Blogger of the Year Award goes to...

So blogging isn't my strong suit:) I am trying to finish the "house tour" that I promised a few of my friends before this blog turns into a different venue - more on that later! This is the guest bedroom. My favorite part about it has to be the magnetic frames you see on the right wall; they are drawings from the boys and I can easily change them out. I love their artwork but they bring home soooo much! This is a great way to display it all without it taking over my fridge.

This next picture is of the "game room" that is at the top of the stairs. It has been perfect for the Wii, DVD/VHS player for the kid's videos (they don't watch unmonitored television), my treadmill and other odds and ends such as the train table...

The master bedroom. I am still working on it. My Pinterest idea didn't turn out how I had hoped so it will be changing again soon:/

My little makeshift desk that I love and John hates. I don't know what it is but it just feels like my little corner of the office is complete with that old black vanity turned desk:) (and my pink plaid computer of course)

The office... no point in going into detail. An office is an office is an office. Ours just happens to come with a printer that won't work. Grrrrrr!

And the boy's/guest bath: I finally got away from the yellow rubber ducks and I heart these elephants/ jungle-ish theme. I didn't take a picture but the frame on the right has a drawing of coconut trees and monkeys by JT. It was perfect and I had to put it in there.

And that concludes my boring existence for now;) I still need to post the formal dining room and the living room I guess but my phone is almost dead so it will have to wait...

***what? you couldn't tell these were iPhone pictures???

Friday, March 30, 2012

Settling In

It seems like I have told many of my friends over the past month that I would blog about the new place once we were settled in... sorry I've been such a sorry blogger:/
I'm really going to try my best to do better:)

Since I only gave a sneak peak of the boy's room I though we could start there. Yes, I kept the same comforters and room decor from their old rooms and threw it all together. I know it might seem tacky but they really like their stuff so, you know, it stayed. The hardware for valance rods were also already in place so I bought the rods for 97 cents and hung those up as well. Score!

Finley thinks I'm awesome because of the cars and gas station on his closet door. I am but I don't like to brag;)

***I am very aware how tacky all of those books are!!! Any suggestions for book ends or something cool you've seen on Pinterest? Also, the fan is tacky as well but we use it to drown out noise at night so it's not going anywhere - I guess I could hide it better though...

The space between the boys beds and the space between their closets is where I want to put scripture. Maybe I should have a contest for ideas and have a prize for the winner???

Moving on:

This kitchen is so much fun to me. It has a gas range and oven - LOVE. It also has a ton of cabinet and drawer space so that has been nice as well. I like the little eat-in area the most... it just feels so cozy when we sit down to eat together:)

Ever heard of thatch? It's that veiny, spidery weed looking stuff by my foot right there. It suffocates the lawn and grass can't/won't grow.

It. is. everywhere. I called around about power-raking and no one seemed to be able to help me so I went to Lowe's. I bought a big ole rake. And I hand-raked the entire front yard. Yep. It took forever, I have super sore muscles and it took about 15 garbage bags to get it all out of the way. I also may have lost five pounds from pure sweat but I'm not complaining. I have never been soooo dirty. I think Finley's bus driver thought I was nuts but she stuck with the old "honey, you are making a MESS!" To which I thought what? am I five years old? don't talk to me about my mess sister because I have to do something because I DON'T HAVE ANY FRIENDS YET!!! Umm, yes, apparently I am five or think like a five year old. Sorry. I very sweetly left it at "yes ma'am, I am. A big old mess..."

Here is what it looked like before I bagged everything. Good grief I am bored. But I'm super excited about what it will begin to look like over the next few weeks with a little TLC...

That's all for now I guess. Tomorrow we are going to put the vegetable sprouts into the bigger pots and pray for bees! And do something about the grass. Pray for me as John hasn't seen my big ole mess yet...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

We've Moved

I know that most of my readers know that we have moved, but in case you didn't know.... we've moved! We moved into our rental house on March 1st and I'm down to one last room of boxes. We actually call the extra bedroom the basement because those are the boxes that are left to unpack in there - the kids get tickled because the "basement" is upstairs:) We still need to put pictures on the walls and add some finishing touches but for the most part everything is in its place for now.

We had been praying about a job for John that would require less travel and that would bring us closer to family. God's timing is perfect. John didn't even apply for this job, a friend recommended him and, well, here we are; we are hours away from family instead of days and John is home every. single. night. It is wonderful.

Because the master bedroom is on the first floor in this house, we decided to let the boys decide if they still wanted their own rooms or if they wanted to share the big room upstairs. They chose to share and the room really is perfect. It has two windows, two closets, and plenty of space to play. We are using one of the other rooms as an office and the other (the basement room) will become the guest bedroom. I've actually spent a lot of time in the boy's room because I want them to adjust well so I have put pictures on their walls (I used those hang-ups instead of nails; I have anxiety about putting holes in the wall;))and some paint-safe decals as well. I also want to make a canvas or two with scripture on them for their room but I can't seem to choose which ones.... any suggestions? Here is a sneak peak of the boy's room:

We decided to plant some vegetables this year and teach the boys how to care for a small garden. We picked out the seeds and let the boys arrange the soil, plant the seeds and begin to water them. JT decided we should make signs so we will know what is growing where; he made them all by himself and is very proud of them. We are obviously proud of him.

The seeds took about a week to start sprouting and the boys were oh sooooo excited!!! Now they check them every day, sometimes twice a day. I'm not going to lie... I check them just as much.

These are a few of the signs JT made: tmatow (tomato), red unyin (red onion) and zookene (zucchini). He's practicing his handwriting and phonics so I'm not complaining!

In the next few days we will transplant these into really large pots so that they will all have room to grow. I'm hoping to see at least a handful of vegetables this year as we have been weaving scripture into this project. Our motivation started with Isaiah 58:11 "The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring." I want the boys to see a vibrant picture of the Lord's provision in our lives through this small garden.

As for the transition, I think everyone is doing as expected. John is really throwing himself into this job, as I knew he would, and seems to be enjoying it more everyday. It is very different from his old job but I know, as he has proven time and time again, that he will thrive here and exceed their expectations.

JT really acted out the second week or so. I expected a little of this but he really outdid himself:) He had a few meltdowns before school, after school, about homework, about bedtime, about insert anything here and he probably had a meltdown over it... The first week we showed him a lot of grace and tried to talk with him about the changes. The second week we took away the Wii and all of the games. The past week was wonderful. I hope we are on the tail end...

Finley broke his foot the Sunday after we moved in:/ He was actually doing pretty well until he witnessed JT act like a crazy kid and the past week or so he has taken the liberty to act the same way. We responded the same as well. Grace, talking, losing the Wii for a day... Sometimes I think he just wants to test us to make sure that we will treat him the same. Done.

As for me? I've been struggling with feelings of being alone and feeling inadequate. I can't really explain it. I've been really trying to focus on what God's word has to say about being a wife and mother at this point in my life. I have been getting up around 5:45am with John every morning to make everyone's breakfast and have coffee with John; this has really been a great time to pray over my family - I can pray for their day, their conversations, their choices and their hearts - but it also makes for a very long day. I know that this is temporary and that these feelings will pass but I wanted to get them out there so I can look back and be thankful when the time comes.

"He has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

In honor of Valentine's Day, I'm re-posting a previous post about the man I've given my heart to. I love you John Templin!

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Today I am thankful for this man. My husband, companion, partner in crime in this thing we call parenthood. He is a good man, a hard-working man, an amazing father and the love of my life.

The only man you want to give your life to is the one who makes you hunger for Christ, believe in grace, experience the other-world love of God.

Ann Vonskamp

Friday, December 9, 2011

Crockpot Challenge: Days 22 & 23 (and more Jesse tree ornaments)

Sorry. These posts are late. I've been sick. I'm still sick actually. So there's that.

Today's first recipe is courtesy of my new friend Shelby! She just moved here from Texas, so you know, we are sorta "insta-friends" because we're southern...

Cheesy Chicken and Rice

You will need:
4-6 chicken breasts
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp Nature's Season
2 cups cooked rice
2 cans mixed veggies
1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Place chicken breasts, soup, milk and seasoning in crock pot. Cook on high for 4 hours. Remove chicken and add rice, veggies and cheese to soup mix. Cook and stir on high until cheese is melted and rice and veggies are warm.

I thought this was pretty good. Again, I haven't been feeling well so nothing tastes fantastic to me right now. So you should definitely make this and decide for yourself.

This is the only picture I took because I'm sick...

These three ornaments are a dove, a tent and a ram. The dove is from the story of Noah: Genesis 6:11-22 & 8:6-12. The tent is from the story in Genesis 12:1-7 & 13:2-18.

The next recipe is a Three Bean and Barley Soup. You will need:
1 Tbsp EVOO
large onion - diced
stalk of celery - diced
large carrot - diced
2 cups of water
4 cups of chicken broth
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/3 cup dried black beans
1/3 cup dried great northern beans
1/3 cup dried kidney beans
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
3/4 tsp. salt

Mix all in a crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. I cooked it on low. I baked some Grands Flaky Biscuits to eat with this soup and my family liked it. Again, I'm SICK and can't taste anything. Very annoying. Very. Annoying.

I know, these pictures are substandard. I've been a slacker. I'll try harder from now on:) Maybe;)

The 7th, 8th and 9th ornaments are a ladder, a candle and the coat of many colors. The scripture for the ladder is Genesis 27:41 - 28:22. Day 8, the candle, Isaiah 9:2-7. And the coat of many colors from Genesis 37: 1-36.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Crockpot Challenge: Day 21 and The Jesse Tree!

Today's recipe is one I've made on occasion when we had NO GROCERIES in the house. It is very easy but pretty tasty if you like that sort of thing.. What sort of thing? Beef Tips and Rice!

You will need:

1 pound of stew meat
1 jar/ can of gravy

No this isn't the healthiest meal, but it sure is comfort food at its finest. And I don't cook it every week. More like every two or three months. So we're good. Right?

Place the stew meat and gravy in the pot and cook on low for 8 hours or so. The meat is so tender and it is so filling. I serve it over rice and with a salad and a piece of french bread. Except sometimes without the salad. Comfort food, remember?

Have you ever heard of a Jesse Tree? It is a really neat idea if you want to weave Christ into the holiday season. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God and was born into this world, perfect and blameless, to die for our sins so that we may have eternal life with Him. John and I really want to place more emphasis on Christ's birth than the gift-focused idea that is today's society. Don't get me wrong. We participate in the idea of Santa and do a lot of baking and naughty vs. nice conversation as much as the next family. We just want our kids to understand why we celebrate and that everything else is secondary.

On that note, I just heard about the idea of a Jesse Tree very recently (yesterday?) and decided it would be a really fun way to bring Christ into our daily routine leading up to Christmas Day. The problem was that it is a lot of work to try and translate it into something that small children will understand. So, if you are interested, I have taken the grunt-work out of it for you.

But you have to promise to look past my terrible artsy skills. You see, the problem is, I don't have any. So, that's a bit of a problem. But my heart is in the right place and I don't think my almost-five-year-old and seven year old will mind. So I hope you don't either.

Since advent actually started on November 27th and goes for 28 days until Christmas, we were a little behind so we actually will do a few each day until we are caught up..

This is the first ornament that we will place on our tree. It symbolizes "God's Family Tree". This actually worked out well that we just did JT's family tree assignment last week so the boys understood. Sort of. The scripture is 1 Samuel 16:1-13. It discusses how the Lord chose Jesse's youngest, most scrawny and unlikely "king material" son. And so our story begins...

Day 2: I chose the sun to symbolize creation. The scripture is Genesis 1: 24-28. This scripture ends with the Lord's command to Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. This is where the journey starts.

Day 3: I chose the snake/serpent for this ornament because it symbolizes the fall of man and our need for a Savior, Jesus, to be born and rescue us. We read "The Terrible Lie" (Genesis 3:1-24) again from our Storybook Bible to remind the boys how doubt was placed in man's heart and how sad it made God. But God had a plan to bring us together again.

If you don't have a children's bible, I highly recommend this one. It integrates Jesus into every story and the importance of his birth. It's beautiful.

We sat down on the couch, letting the boys touch the ornaments and ask questions. Then we read the scriptures and talked about what they meant. Before they hung them on the tree we went over their meaning one more time. I pray that the Lord will speak to their tiny hearts through these small acts.