Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Tad on the Grumpy Side

This last week I really was struggling with grumpiness. Not sure why, but my, everyday it was hard to not be negative. I kept exhausting myself with thinking, and list making, and reprimending myself, and snapping at people. I really didn't feel like blogging or talking to people either. And then I got mad at myself for being mad....and round and round I went.

M. brought home these flowers that were extremely pretty in the sunshine. One evening I just opened up our porch and set these there and kept stopping to look at them and smile.

Even though I had a weird week, we did do a lot of fun things. Saturday morning I went with a group to glean potatoes. 3 of my international friends and I rode together....we played car games and visited while the hour went by. We played "How many words" (pick a letter, and then go around the car each saying a word that starts with that letter until you can't think of any more), "Little known facts" (state 4 things about yourself, one being false, and have the others guess which one it is. When it came to be my turn, I accidentally stated 4 things...all of which were true.....no wonder they couldn't guess huh! We had a good laugh about that), and "I'm thinking of a thing"

See the big potatoe field!
We didn't realize how long it would take to drive to the field, so had to leave earlier than others to be back by the time we had originally set up. I should've stopped for gas on our way, but didn't want to get lost, so by the time we were ready to leave I was almost on empty. Then we took a wrong turn and my gas light started blinking. Thankfully, we didn't have to go far till we got to a little town with a gas station and bathroom where we could stop. The gas attendant even offered the field by his house to pick more potatoes....but we had enough by then. We got turned around after that and got home by 2:30. I crashed for a nap after I got the potatoes unloaded and slept for 2 hours.

What big potatoes you have!

Sunday morning I wasn't feeling so good, but managed to get up and get going. Sunday afternoon we had our family over for lunch (tater-tot hotdish) and then all headed over to my parent's to help re-shingle. Since my sister and brother-in-law were up, and a couple friends came over from church, Dad had lots of help. I'm not so good with heights, so I took pictures and walked the dog and did some errands.

Up on the rooftop

I also had a fun time with my sister laughing and telling stories. She also had stopped and picked up some Sunday papers which we cut up all the coupons in for her, me, and mom. I got lots of sunshine and laughs that day but ate too much chocolate! :)

crazy sister

After singspiration night at church, we went home and pretty much went straight to bed. We had hoped to play some games with the family since they were up, but were worn out. It turned out to be a good thing.

Monday morning I woke up sick. Poor Mathew. I got up and made breakfast and saw him off to work and then called in sick. I slept until 12:30, got up and ate some bread, and then zonked out again till 4pm. I must've really needed that sleep because I felt sooooo much better after that. It was so nice to be home too....after I got up, I got the laundry done (and folded!), the dishes washed, some bread made, and even re-arranged the living room. M. was so nice....he stopped and got some ginger-ale and crackers and soup and we cuddled up on the couch eating soup and watching a movie while the bread baked. We went to bed early then, and today we were up and ready to go. I hope he doesn't get sick though, cause he didn't get the rest I did.

Mom's delicious potatoe bread

New living room...nice and cozy for fall

Ula's Hayride

Friday I was blessed enough to be able to leave work early and go help Ula get ready for her hayride. It was quite fun.
She guided me through making a pan of hip-huggers.
She told stories and I made cookies. It was really fun spoiling our dinner by eating hot cookies together. (I didn't know she liked hot cookies)
I peeled potatoes for potato soup.
By 5:30 people started showing up. We had thought it might rain (and it was threatening still) but it held off until 9pm. I think Ula said 130 people came! That's the biggest hayride ever.
I tried taking pictures, but for some reason they all turned out ghosty.
It was a nice warm night too, so we didn't even need our winter jackets as in some years past.

Friday, September 26, 2008

James 1:19
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday Night Class - God, Our God.

Yup. We finished out our 13 week series on the Character of God last night. It was a lot of fun, and I certainly grew as a teacher during these 13 weeks. It was great teaching with Keren. It was fun having new kids. It was sad seeing those kids get busy with school. It was great doing my own personal Bible studies on the stories and verses we used.

Here is our last outline:

God, Our God.

  1. Bake cupcakes ahead of time so the smell fills the classroom.
  2. Play shadow game
  3. Sing action song
  4. Decorate cupcakes
  5. Make luminaries
  6. Play circle game
  7. End with prayer

Here is the way it actually worked out...

1. We put the cupcakes in the oven just in time before the kids arrived and before we sang upstairs. They baked nicely until class time. When the kids came down, they all asked (as we hoped they would) "What's that smell?" We tried guessing what it was....cupcakes....and asked them, "How do you know it's really there?" (They smelled it, but couldn't see it). We talked about how God is not someone we can see, but we know He's always there. We can "smell" Him through creation and through answered prayer.

2. We put our stickers on the calendar for bringing our Bibles. Even Mara's doll Sarah brought one.

3. We played a action game from the book Lively Bible Lessons for Preschoolers. (sung to the tune of Mullberry Bush, and fitting in other actions as we go....)

Jesus is with me when I run,

When I run, when I run.

Jesus is with me when I run;

He's with me all the time.

We ended with "when I sit," and all sat at the table and looked up Matthew 28:20 "I am with you always."

4. We decorated our cupcakes and talked about seeing and not seeing God...and how He's always near....and how He loves us individually, not just as a church group or family group....but as me.

5. We played a guessing game of shadows. We shined a flashlight behind an object behind a towel, and had the kids guess what it was, even if they couldn't see the object. (We can't see God but we know He's there)

6. We played one last game, to the tune of Farmer in the Dell (from the same book), by one person going around the circle of kids and singing, then tapping one on the head, and going around again, etc. until all the kids are out of the circle.

Jesus love me so.

Yes, Jesus loves me so.

He is with me day and night,

Whever I may go.

7. We ended with prayer. Here is the prayer chart we made a while ago.

At the end of class, after the kids went upstairs and shared the cupcakes, we realized we totally forgot the craft! Oh well. *sheepish grin*

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ula's House

Last night we went to visit Ula. We made a yummy soup and potatoe dish for supper, and ate lemon cake for dessert.

We also went out to clean her outhouse, getting ready for this Friday.

While we were cleaning, we heard a cat start meowing and meowing. It took us a while to find it, but when we finally looked up, it was on top the shed!
It was quite a talkative little guy, and by the time we got him down, he was purring and purring.
We both liked him alot, and he seemed to like us too! We fed him a little leftovers, but by the time we were ready to go home, he was gone. Hopefully he's okay.

While we were there, Ula gave me this nice list of things to do with kids:

  • Home made paint --- 1 t. water, 1 t. dishwashing soap, 1/2 t. coloring
  • Finger Paint - 2 T. salt, 2 1/2 cups cold water. Stir and add to 2 c. boiling water. Beat until smooth and thick...add coloring and stir.
  • Dolls from spools - Use amrkers to make faces. Glue on yarn for hair and fabric scraps for clothes.
  • Hide a timer and have kids look for it.
  • Have them close their eyes - then guess sounds, blow a whistle, drop a spoon, jingle spoons or coins, clap hands.
  • Find five things blue, yellow, red etc
  • Line up chairs for a "bus ride"
  • Mystery bag - guess what is in it
  • Table cloth - put on hand prints and scripture verses
  • For small children - tear pieces of colored paper to stick on a vase or card board for a picture
  • Learn to braid from a door knob
  • Wire coat hanger - tie strips of different strips of colored fabrics


I found this blog with a neat fall give-a-way. Maybe you would like to check it out?

I'm already enjoying fall....our leaves are starting to change and the air is crisp and nice. Now I just need to find some fall-ish ways to decorate, just for fun!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What we did Monday

Yesterday was my Dad's birthday, so after work, we headed over for supper at his house.
Mom made a really yummy meal of fried rice, shrimp, steak, and broccoli! And of course, the classic Dad cake....chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting.....and Sprinkles (I think that was for me)!!
After that, we gave him a gift of caramel corn and some family photos in a frame.
Then we played Settlers of Catan. And *ahem* of course we let Dad win. :)

What we did on Sunday

Justin Sullivan (c) Getty Images

Sunday we picked up a friend and went to church. A lot of visitors came that day. And a lot of regulars. It was pretty cool to hear all of them singing during service!
After service, we were invited over to my parents house to catch up with some old friends that were in town. We met our friend's new wife, Sarah. She is really really nice. Has a lovely laugh too. Hopefully they come to the hayride this Friday!

We ate a big lunch, Sarah's first time eating anything American!
The boys watched a football game. Then we all played a game of cards, called 10 High.

After we got home, M. took a nap. I motivated myself to go on a bike ride. My motivation was to ride over to Marketplace and get some free chocolate chips! (with coupon)

I was worn out when I got back, but it was really a nice fall day for a ride!

Now I'm craving some chocolate chip cookies.....

What we did Saturday

We have 6 students through the Internationl Family Friends program at BSU. This semester has been pretty busy for us all, so we planned a "fun day."

We invited them all over to our house for a full day, Saturday. They called us once they got up, and we went and picked them up. (Not all 6 could make it that day though, only 4)
We ate potatoe chips and clementines while playing Compatibility.
Then we cooked: Chick Pea Curry and Chicken Rendang and Papadams.
The curry didn't cook fast enough for us, but we ate it any way. (Though I must admit I got a little discouraged that it didn't turn out and so was quiet for a while)
Our neighbors had this very nice apple tree that I saw, so we tried to get a hold of them to ask if we could pick some apples. It took us 4 tries!
While we were waiting, we went to Walmart and had to drop 2 students off for work.
After we came back, we got some apples.
We cut them up and got them ready for applesauce. And we started making Caramel Popcorn.
M. went to the store and got vegetarian pizza and pop. Then we ate popcorn, pizza, and watched a really neat movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
Our day ended around 10:00pm. It was actually really fun.
We hope to go to Itasca State Park next.

Needed Birthday Cards

I was running out of cards for birthdays and anniversaries, so last week I made up some more.
Plus some Thanksgiving cards and baby cards....
And even looking ahead a bit. I still have more to do, but ran out of steam.

Red Quilting

This is my big find last Friday. A church here in town was having a garage sale, and I stopped by to check it out. I found two bags of red quilt material for $1.00!

One of my hopes is to collect enough red material to sew a quilt for our bed. I want to keep it simple, but haven't searched for any patterns yet. I hope it turns out nice!

Chocolate, Chocolate, and More Chocolate

You should see our dresser drawer (one of the coolest places in our house)....it's FULL of chocolate. Makes me drool every time I open it!

This month has been fun, stocking up on chocolate deals to bring back to M.'s family.

My best deal so far, is the one above. I combined it with some cough syrup and free nail polish....paying about $12 out of pocket, and saving $57!! (I bought 7 boxes of chocolate, normally $10 each, at $2 each...how nice)

Other things on my list to look out for are pre-packaged cookie mixes, cakes, muffins, and "Made-In-USA" products. Do you have any other ideas or tips for international gifts?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Wednesday Night Lessons - God is Faithful

Wednesday night we taught that God is Faithful.

It's beautiful fall weather up here, so we planned our lesson to incorporate that. Here is our lesson outline:

God is Faithful
  1. Attendance/Bible chart
  2. Go for a nature walk
  3. Tell story
  4. End with prayer
  • Almost every kid remembered to bring their Bible, so that was great. Although, we didn't really use them that night.

  • I handed each kid a "treasure bag" (empty ziploc), and then said we were heading off on a treasure walk. We walked all the way down to the lake, and I encouraged them to find nature things that reminded them of certain seasons (spring, fall, winter, summer)

  • We stopped at the court house's outdoor stage, and told them the story of Abraham's long wait to have a child. 20 years from when God promised to when Isaac was actually born! We talked about how God is the same, faithful, no matter what season it is or how much time passes.

  • At the lake, we stopped and ate a picnic. Keren had made up neat little brown bag snacks, an apple and a candy bar, that we thoroughly enjoyed!

  • We came back from our walk and sat on the front church steps, shared what we had in our bags, and closed with prayer.

We only have one more Wednesday left! Wow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

About Organization

I've just finished reading this book....and it was really great! I'm kind of an organizing junkie anyway (though I don't always apply what I learn), but this book was full of fun and useful tips. I checked it out at our library. You should check it out at yours!
Here are just some of the things I copied out of the book:
  • Put rubber car mats over your wind shield in the winter and they won't frost over.
  • To get more juice from a lemon, microwave it for 30 seconds. You'll get twice the juice and loose no nutritional value.
  • Write your check for the total bill amount, before coupons, and then put that cash toward a savings goal you have.
  • If you want de-boned chicken breasts, put in the whole chicken breasts and parboil them for 10 to 12 minutes, and the meat will peel right off the bone.
  • A toddler can set the table. Make a placemat out of paper and draw the shapes of the fork, plate, spoon, and glass. The child gets to put each item in its proper place.
  • Set 90 day goals in these categories:
  1. Physical goals (ex. 50 sit ups by such and such date)
  2. Spiritual goals (read a chapter from the Bible every day)
  3. Community support goals (hand out red cross fliers)
  4. Mental goals (memorize the 50 state capitals)
  5. Social goals (invite so and so over for supper)
  6. Professional goals (study one new course)
  7. Financial goals (save so much toward this thing by so and so date)
  8. Marriage/family goals (do a family fun outing once a month)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Teaching Tips

I ran across this website with 40+ Preschool Activity ideas.

Here are some I like:
  • Sing Mr. Noah Built an Ark instead of Old McDonald Had a Farm.
  • Sing If You're Happy and You Know It, but let the kids come up with motions for it.
  • Play Duck, Duck, Goose but use David, David, Goliath instead
  • Play Ring Around the Rosy with these words, God's love is amazing, Children thank and praise Him, Love Him, Serve Him, We all bow down.
  • Choose a short Bible verse and play London Bridge with these words, Who can say the Bible Verse, Bible verse, Bible verse? Who can say the Bible verse? It is Abbey!

Jackpine Retreat

Every year we pack up our gear and head north for a weekend get-a-way.

I'm sure it's not the most luxury trip you've ever heard of....or even the most restful! But it's fun. And we look forward to it every fall.

This year we braved rain and mist, but it wasn't as cold as it can be (below zero!).

The campground is hosted by a small congregation in Warroard, MN. We sleep in tents and eat around campfires and use outhouses. We play volley ball and roast marshmallows and listen to Bible studies. We sing songs and play games and cuddle up in warm sleeping bags. (Just for the record, I made sure to enjoy lots of toasted marshmallows!)
This year's theme was Running the Race. We were reminded of how important Preparation is before beginning anything.

We were encouraged to Participate. To actually go out and DO IT, not just prepare ourselves and then never start.

We were reminded of how Perseverance is important. Even when tough stuff comes, to keep heading for the goal.

And finally, we were reminded of the Prize, our goal....Heaven....God's arms open wide.

M. and I got home yesterday afternoon with wet tents and gear, and a wet afternoon outside. So, here is what our house looks like right now (add dirty dishes, loads of laundry, and drying sleeping bags to the other parts of our house and you get the picture):

In a hilarious and embarissing sort of way, I also receieved a call this morning that the state inspector was here with our landlord and was going to check out our apartment today! There's not much I can do about it now!

Friday, September 12, 2008


I was reading yesterday that it is healthy for everyone to have 10-20 minutes of good, belly-aching laughter a day. It expands the lungs and helps your heart.

Yesterday I guess I already started applying what I learned. The only problem was my timing.

M. and I were in the middle of a serious discussion last night. He was telling me something of a very important nature, something of weight and substance....and I laughed.

I'm not sure what struck me as funny....I agreed totally on what we were talking about, but something set me off, and I started to laugh. I caught myself quick, and tried straightening my face.

"Sorry Mathew, that wasn't the appropiate response."

And then I laughed at that too!

Thankfully, I have a very understanding husband who likes laughter and those who laugh. So, he just played along and made me giggle about everything else.

I'm hoping today will be just as fun. I'm on the lookout for things to laugh about, and ways to not take myself quite so seriously. :)

Here's hoping that you have a laughter filled day too!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday Night Lesson- God is Good

Last night we learned that God is Good (not evil).

God is Good (not evil)

  • Welcome chart (stickers on calendar for bringing Bible)
  • Story - Elijah and the Prophets of Baal
  • Craft
  • Snack & Game
  • Prayer time

1) Welcome chart. All the kids did a good job of remembering their Bibles. We talked again about why we bring them, and I told them they could check and see if the adults always bring their Bibles. I said they could check with me on Sundays, and if I forgot, I have to do 10 jumping-jacks. :)

(story with kid's help)

2) Story. We pulled out our flannelgraph board and pictures. It's been a long time since we've used it, but the kids like it when we do. Especially the younger ones. They really are fascinated that the pictures stick to the board and love to help out. I told them the story of Evil King Ahab and Wicked Queen Jezebel and how they worshiped an evil god Baal (who wanted the people to kill their children for sacrifices). We saw how Elijah came and asked the people to choose which god to serve, Baal or God. He said the real God would answer prayer, and so they had a contest on a mountain top. He said the real God was good, not evil.

3) Craft. For the craft, we made candle holders with jam jars and finger paints. We talked about the fire that God sent. We also talked about ways that God shows He is good to us.

4) Snack. For this activity, I read the verse in Psalm 34:8 "Taste and see that the Lord is good." We set out 6 bags of things to taste...one of which was good. (Sour tamarind paste, garam masala powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and sugar) We tasted them to find which one was God. As we did the activity, I talked about God is good. No, we don't eat Him, but just like the good food fills us up and makes us happy, God fills our life and brings us joy. And we reviewed ways we know God is good.... The Bible tells us so, other people tell us so, we can see ways He is good like sending rain, and God Himself says He is good. We ate a candy snack after that.

5) Prayer. We still have our prayer chart on the wall. We went over prayer requests, and listed a few more. Then we sat in a circle and prayed together to close.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Purposeful Communication

I've been reading Mary DeMuth's book on authentic parenting. It's not an easy read, but it does have good thoughts to ponder.

Today I read about purposeful communication. Of course, she's talking about with kids, but really, these are such good ideas you could use it with many different people.

I've included an excerpt from the book below. If you don't have kids (or even if you do), try replacing "my children" with my spouse, parent, or friends.

Resolved. How have I resolved to connect with my children this year? Have I changed the way I approach my children since last year? Why or why not?

Determined. How have I been determined to really know my children's hearts in the last two weeks?

Deliberate. What deliberate steps have I taken to reveal my heart to my children?

Intentional. How have I been intentional with each of my children? How have I tailored my words to each child this week?

Committed. Have I committed myself to knowing my children? How?

Decided. What have I decided about each child that prevents me from connecting with him or her? What barriers have I erected? What obstacles have my children put between us?

Resolute. How have I resolved this year to pursue the soul of each child? What prevents me from doing that?

Persistent. When my children don't engage with me, am I persistent? Am I bothered by interruptions of my children?

Tenacious. Are you a tenacious reciever and sender in the communication game? If a child blows you off, do you gather yourself and try again? How easily do you quit?


"Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Matthew 11:28-29
Have you committed your plans to God this week?

This verse is a good reminder to me to take time to commit everything to Him and seek out His will and His rest.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Freezing Food Stuff

Now this is impressive....

This is my new goal....to get my freezer to look like this! (Does your freezer already look like this?! I'm impressed!)

To read the article accompanying this picture, click here.


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