Wednesday, April 29, 2009

May Day Delivery

May Day all began when I lived in my yellow apartment (an entire post coming soon!) and I decided to deliver some flowers to my neighbors. It grew into me driving all over town to deliver tin cans of flowers!

I loved the excitement of planning my route and getting out in my pj's to deliver a smile to someone's door!

This year, I'll be in Colorado (where it all began!) and decided to deliver a few flowers. Here's my route:

* My parents front porch - hard to surprise them for multiple reasons - biggest one being I'll be staying at their house!
* Maggie's porch: long time family friend; I used to babysit their daughter who is now in college and we'd watch the Cosby Show together
* My yellow apartment; in the spirit of where the inspiration began and since the point is to surprise someone unaware (probably everyone else will figure out who delivered the flowers!) it will be fun to do a random give on this one!
* Oz & Katie's: also family friends - an older couple we went to church with; I've house-sat for them many times and if there is any woman that I'd point to as having a gentle and quiet spirit it would be Katie.
* The B Family: also a family I babysat for; lives in a charming house on a charming street; I loved babysitting for them and pretending like I had a family for a few hours every week; they hold a special place in my heart!
* Marcia's: A former co-worker; together we made it through some tough and stressful things; dubbed ourselves M&M; sweet friend

Will any of you be delivering May flowers this year? I'm also leaving my little ladies with a few cans to deliver to whomever they choose since we won't be together on May Day this year.

And, with that - I'll be away from posting for a while as I'm leaving tomorrow morning for a trip to Colorado! I'll be in a friends wedding and enjoy staying with my parents! Less than 48 hours after I return home, my Mom is coming here for Emily's ballet recital - thrown into all of that is my birthday, Mother's Day, some organizing we want to do and more! I'll look forward to catching up soon!


Here are the winners ~ congratulations ladies!

Chicken Soup: Like Mother, Like Daughter goes to Jessica!

Chicken Soup: Mom's and Sons goes to Amy (dawilkins6)

And, the winner of the Photo Fiddle gift certificate is: Rebecca T.

Ladies, if you would please send me an e-mail so I can get your prizes to you! Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

BFIAR: The last chapter

We are currently reading our last book as part of the Before Five in a Row fun we've been having this year!

I will admit that the past few books, we merely read and talked about at breakfast. I did not plan anything to go with and I think that these books were my least favorite. This made it harder to want to plan fun things and easier to just read them and be satisfied with that.

We've been busy and I've been needing to get things back in shape around the house, so this is just what served us at this time.

The last four books we read were:

I Am An Artist by Pat L. Collins
Angus Lost by Marjorie Flack
If Jesus Came To My House by Joan Gale Thomas
Jenny's Surprise Summer by Eugenie

I'm not pleased to say that we ended this way, because it feels like we had so much fun all year and then this was sort of a low ending. But, as I said above - it is what worked for us at this time. Since we are not "official" homeschoolers yet (Emily won't be Kindergarten age until Fall of 2010) I really just want to enjoy this time where we can be a bit more flexible and extend ourselves a little grace!

We have loved doing this series of books and I hope you'll get a chance to read some of them! I think my favorite one might have been My Big Green Pocketbook - but it is so hard to pick a favorite!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Just in time for Mother's Day!

I've received a few goodies recently that are just for passing on to some of you! So, let's begin the giveaway!

First up, two new Chicken Soup books! Like Mother, Like Daughter and Moms and Sons are both available now at Target - but I have a copy of each to pass on here!

And, you love to take pictures - but would you like to have them "fiddled?" Submit your photo and see what the Photo Fiddle folks come up with - choose your favorite and it will be made and shipped promptly - mine was all done within a few days! Great for Mother's Day gifts - I have a $50 gift certificate to give. When you click over, you can see some of the lovely ideas for Mother's Day.

Everyone will receive 15% off by using code heart15 on the shopping cart page under promotional code.

I submitted a spring bloom photo and here is my new canvas hanging in our bedroom:

So, since I have three items here - let's have everyone leave a comment including a way to contact you. Please share something you love about your mother just for fun and since it is Mother's Day we are celebrating after all! Entries will be accepted until Tuesday, April 28 at 8pm Eastern Time. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, April 29.

Thanks for joining in the fun!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Restoring Order: Linen Closets

How did you do at bringing some order back this week? I have found it motivating to have a project to work on, because I find myself completing that and a few more things as well which is great!

My project for this week was the linen closets ~ here are the embarrassing, yet realistic, before pictures of both our linen closets:

Hall Linen Closet:

And, our linen closet:

Good grief - awful ... and the most ridiculous part is how little time it really took to get these closets whipped back into shape!

Hall closet was done while littles were in tub right there - perfect way to be with them and have them contained while I worked on this one! I moved all the sheets to the very top shelf because I realized they had a prime location but I never use them. I always put the same sheets back on after washing them. I moved all unsafe items to higher shelves. Put some frequently used items in a small plastic box, etc... So far this is working out great!

Our linen closet was done during nap time and Emily helped me with this. I also moved all the sheets and bed linens up to the very top, threw out old medications, implemented some containers to corral like items. I discovered I have about a ten year supply of soap and had an abundance of some medicines that had been free at local drug stores.

I put all of the boxed medicines in one container and all the bottles into two containers hanging on the wall behind the curtain that acts as the door to this closet. Before I'd even had a chance to mention what I did to David and show him where certain things were - he mentioned that he liked the new organization in there and had found what he wanted without me even saying anything. I love that!!

Your turn! Share your before and after pictures here! Rebecca will be hosting next week - so check in on Monday for more inspiration!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Restoring Order: Input Requested

I received an e-mail with the following question:

While we are on the subject of decluttering, I need some input about a problem I have. I subscribe to a variety of online newsletters and in order to remember and/or use the ideas I print them. I have a huge backlog of paperwork some of which I am trying to put in notebooks but it takes so much time to sort, punch holes, place in the 3 ring binders, etc. Someone suggested to bookmark them but then I either cannot find what I want or forget about them all together. Do you have a suggestion as to how I can keep all this important info?

Most of my ideas are bookmarked on-line and I just look through them every once in a while. But, I confess that most often I try the idea right away and it doesn't need to be filed very long before I give it a go. I do have one small craft idea file, but when it gets full, I sort through it and make it fit again.

How about you? What ideas can you pass on?

Field Trip: Mary Jane's Farm

I am soooooo excited about this! Some of you may remember how much I've enjoyed reading and learning about Mary Jane and her charming, organic farm in Idaho. (Photo above from Mary Jane's website - can you imagine sleeping in this tent?)

Well, I just heard from my sister's friend, Lisa, who is going to get to go and stay there for a bit this summer! (I'm jealous!) Anyway, she's offered to find out what we want to know and give us the opportunity to go on a virtual field trip! She takes AMAZING pictures by the way, so this will be really neat.

Anything specific you'd like to know or learn?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Prayer Journaling

Prayer is something I've struggled to be consistent with. Often, I find that I'm overwhelmed at the volume of what there is to pray for and I don't know where to begin. I have found that the most successful way for me to pray is to write my prayers in a journal. I don't know why it works - but it does.

Because of that, I was especially interested when my friend, Jen, invited me to receive a copy of the Legacy Prayer Journals CD. I posted about this before Christmas and then again recently when I finished making our Prayer Journal. I also just finished making a journal for a friend as a wedding gift.

But, now that I have my journal made - I am still looking for ways to incorporate this into our daily lives. I wanted to hear from Jen on how she used this and what her vision for it was in creating it. So, I asked her to write a guest post on this topic to share so that we could all learn from her together.

Here are Jen's thoughts on the creation and implementing of the Legacy Prayer Journal in your own home:

How it all began:
The idea for Legacy Prayer Journals was born out of a desire to make our family prayer times more meaningful. I realized that my children didn't often have a face to go with each prayer request that my husband and I brought up. With my husband being a pastor, we have many families in our church that we are praying for and many missionaries to pray for but my children had a hard time remembering "who" all these people were let alone all the extended family members. I quickly remembered that I had saved the many Christmas card letters with picture of family and friends all in a photo album and I also had many prayer cards of missionaries with their pictures on them. I got a three ring binder, made some templates that I could hand write in our prayer requests and started scrapping the templates and picture into the binder. And so was born my first scrapbook prayer journal.

My children quickly became excited about our prayer times and were almost fighting over which picture they each wanted to pray for. My daughter would point to each picture and ask "what are we praying about for them?". Soon I added pages for our own family. A page for each of my children and a page for my husband and I, and then a page for our marriage. I put pictures on the opposite sides of all of these. Then it dawned on me, if I keep this journal for years to come, then I can see each picture of my child, how old they were and what they looked like at the time I was praying those things for them. How cool would that be for generations to come! They could see what we all looked like at those times in our lives.

It wasn't long before I was adding scripture pages, praise pages, and many more pages. From time to time, friends would see my journal on our coffee table and I'd excitedly show them what I had created. Friends were asking if I'd share my templates with them and some were suggesting I sell them. Now Legacy Prayer Journals is available in four different versions! For singles, for couples without children, for families, and one for empty nesters!

How to implement the journal into your family time:
Monica has asked me to share ways in which you can implement this journal into your family. Let me first say that there is not a right or wrong way to use your journal. Some ladies have used them for just their personal prayer times while others use them as during their family prayer time. Legacy Prayer Journals are not a "way of praying" but rather a tool to use in a way that works for you!

I have found that some dads struggle with knowing how to bring family worship time down to the level of young children and often rely on their wives to help provide age appropriate materials. A Legacy Prayer Journal is a great tool for dads to easily involve their children in family prayer. Dad can easily gather the family on the sofa and open up a page of scriptures to bring focus on prayer, and even lead the family in some familiar hymns or praise songs. Since there is room in the template to write out the words to the songs your family is familiar with you can write down favorites that your children are sure to know. Then he can lead the family through prayer on as many prayer request pages as he likes.

Here are some tips for using it with small children:
-I recommend that mom or together with dad take time to fill out the journal ahead of time but then add other prayer request once you are sitting down with your children to use it. This way, it is mostly filled out with the things you pray often for.

-I suggest not praying through the entire journal every day with small children. Instead, take one page a day and work your way through the journal. Spend one day praying for each family member and then move on to spending a day on extended family, a day on friends, a day on praying for your church, etc.

-When praying through the pictures with small children, I suggest having them pick one picture and then let them pray for that one person/family. Then stop and let the next child pick a picture and then pray for that family and so on. That way you are breaking up the prayer time with discussion about how you can pray for each family without the children trying to remember a long list in their head.

You can also make the journal very much your own by adding your family name on the top of the cover page to read "Smith Family Prayer Book" or paste a family picture at the top like Monica did on hers. Use your own embellishments and creativity to make it one of a kind, unique and special for your own family.

Truly Making it a Scrapbook:
Here's where I want to share more ideas with you about what you can add to your journal.

-This is a great scrapbook to keep special cards in, precious letters written from loved ones or good friends. When either my husband or I go away, we mail home postcards to our kids of where we are and these are always kept in our prayer journal.

-Press the precious flowers your little ones pick for you and put them in here.

-You can purchase clear plastic picture sleeves at most stores made for three ring binders and stick just about any small treasure in them. I've saved anniversary cards, letters from the widows we visit, flowers, tickets to fun family events we've gone to, and things like that in ours.

-I've also purchased a world map made for three ring binders (got it at Walmart) and put it next to our missionary section so that we can point on the map and show our kids exactly where each missionary lives that we are praying for.

Other pages in the templates....
There are many other pages that are fun to fill out as well, such as your favorite verses that year, quotes you find that you like, a page to jot down some of the prayer requests that your kids have (when mine were little sometimes they said the funniest prayer requests and it was fun to record them here), and stones of remembrance which is a page to write down the things God has taken your family through. Of course there is also an Answered Prayer page as well.

LPJs are now available for download purchase! We are excited to offer you this option. When you make a download purchase you save money on shipping of course but you also don't have to wait for the CD to arrive in the mail. With a click of your mouse you can begin making your prayer journal right away!

We also are excited to now offer personalization! For an additional $5 we will personalize your templates with your first name or family name on the front page!

Coming soon.......KJV templates. We are working to make a set of templates that have all the scripture references in KJV. (They currently come in the NASB)

Thank you for letting me share about my product that I'm passionate about. You can view Legacy Prayer Journals here.

Thanks, Jen! Also, I'm excited to say that Jen has graciously offered to give 20% off for one week to all who read here! Enter code "homespun20" during checkout!

Do any of you keep a prayer journal? I'd love to hear about yours and how it works for you and your family!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Family Night: A drive and a picnic!

Last year, I had planned a picnic to a particular spot many times and each time it rained! We tried again this past weekend and had beautiful weather! It is a short drive, but a beautiful one down what I call a "cute road" which means that trees are growing on both sides and make an arch over the road. It is an even cuter road if it is a dirt road or has a neat fence!

I packed a picnic dinner ~ and off we went! The bugs were out in full force, so we didn't sit still for very long, but it was a fun time anyway!

This is a really neat historic site of a church that was built pre-Civil War. It was burned a couple of times during that time in history - and now is a peaceful place to visit. It is meaningful to us because David proposed here!

The trees were stunning with sunlight filtering through:
And, the little ladies had fun trying to figure out how to pump water!
As I was packing our picnic, I was thinking about the practical vs. the charming. You all already know that I go for charming over practical - packing our meal in enamelware, canning jars and a roasting pan is harder to transport -but so much more charming when you get there!

I can definitely appreciate the value of practical too - but wonder, how do you decide where to draw the line between charming and practical? Do you tend towards one or the other? Just curious... :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Broccoli Salad

I've begun harvesting broccoli from my garden and this was the first batch! It wasn't really enough to serve at a meal for all of us, but I remembered a broccoli salad that I love and decided to just eat it myself for lunch!

Cut broccoli into bite size pieces. Add two pieces cooked and crumbled bacon, shredded cheese and dried cranberries. Stir in ranch dressing as desired. Mmmmmm ~ a delicious lunch!

Restoring Order: Linen Closets

Hope you all had a great weekend! I don't know about you - but my linen closets are disaster areas! Especially the one used by the little ladies.

I recently had to do a quick switch of a bunch of things in their closet because I walked into their room one night after they were supposed to be in bed and found Rachel with three bottles: rubbing alcohol, witch hazel and hydrogen peroxide. Thankfully, the incident was uneventful, but I had already thought things were out of her reach - SO, had to move things around quickly.

Because I'm not very tall - now I cannot reach anything I need in their closet, so need to figure out something in that closet. And, in our linen closet - the medicine shelf is just a shambles.

So, getting those two closets cleaned out and organized is my task for the week. What will you be working on?

I'll have Mr. Linky up on Friday for your posts!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Restoring Order: Fridge and Nightstand

Early in the week I was nothing but overwhelmed with the amount of order that needed restoring! Know what I mean?!

But, Wednesday afternoon - I got the table and kitchen counters cleared off while Emily mopped the floor (!) and things began to feel much better after that!

My little helpers and I cleaned out the fridge:

While it doesn't really look all that different, it is much more organized, shelves are clean and science experiments are no longer festering! (Ewwwww!) Things in here that make me happy: an old enamelware bowl filled with apples, a floating flower and a cute tea cup for baking soda! Emily keeps opening the fridge now just to see how clean it is and how our flower is doing!

The next project I decided to tackle for this week was my nightstand and the floor nearby. Oh. my. Yes, there really is a clock hidden under there! And, no, I did not make my bed yesterday. Thank you for still loving me. Ok, the before:

Ahhh - much better! And, yes - there is a clock under there!

Nothing earth shattering, but it definitely feels like a bit of order was restored this week! How about you?

Head on over to Rebecca's to link up your post or see other posts and come back here on Monday where I'll post a new challenge for next week! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I've marked down the remaining few items in my shop!

A TEA Party

It's Saturday night and I can't sleep. I'm thinking about our country and I'll spare the details of what I am thinking, but my heart is very heavy and I am proving how small my faith really is.

I realize that I invited some friends to join me in prayer next Wednesday as many TEA parties are held all over our nation. I am not aware of any such organized event in our area and decided to do something a little different and way out of my comfort zone. I invited them to come and pray together for our nation. To identify leaders at all levels that we can encourage for doing the right thing and challenge others to choose the right thing. And, I realize that I do not want to go. So, why did I invite them?

To quote my own e-mail,

"I admit that I am not really very interested in politics or in getting involved in political things. However, the more this idea (TEA parties) comes to my attention - the more I cannot ignore that I should not sit by and do nothing...

...Please hear my heart, I want this to be peaceful, God-honoring yet not sitting at home and hoping desperately that God would change the heart of our nation and bring revival for Him while I do nothing about it."

Tonight, I am wondering what He wants to teach me, how He wants to grow my faith and where I should go in His Word for insight or wisdom on how to pray.

As I submit to listening to where He wants me to begin - these are Scriptures that come to mind:

Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

Psalm 20:7-8, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God, They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm."

Isaiah 54:17, " weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me."

Matthew 6:9-13, "This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'"

Genesis 15:6, "Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness."

Matthew 18:19-20, "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

Nehemiah 2: 17-18, "Then I said to them, 'You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.' I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me. They replied, 'Let us start rebuilding.' So they began this good work."

Proverbs 29:18, "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." KJV

I Peter 3:8-16a, "Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For,

'Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from deceitful speech.
He must turn from evil and do good;
he must seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.'

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? but even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. 'Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.' But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience..."

Hebrews 10:23, "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful."

2 Chronicles 7:14- , "...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."

Thank You, Lord, for the peace that came through searching Your Word and typing it here.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
My friend Kelly and her children came and joined us and we had lunch, a good time of fellowship and prayed for our country. I hope that I will continue to uphold our nation and our leaders in prayer. I am so thankful that I know God is in control!

For me, the concern is not really over taxes. That feels like one of the last things on my list. I'm just heavy hearted about some of the decisions being made right now in our country and how that impacts future generations of Americans not to mention current-day Americans.

Lord, please guide our nation back to You! And, enable me to trust You with whatever comes and whether I agree or not. I am so glad that You are in control! And, I pray for our leaders - that they would come to know You and make decisions that would please and honor You. Thank You Lord, Amen.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter Week

We had a special week celebrating Easter! We pretty much followed this guideline, and I enjoyed hearing from a couple of you who did some of these things as well! Did you begin any new traditions this year? I hope you all had a wonderful week remembering Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection!

PS: Can you see the girls cute hair accessories? My friend Michele made them - hop over and check out her cute creations! Her prices are reasonable and she is great at custom orders!