January 27, 2013

Blistex and Roundabouts

Today was truly a girls day out. Mom and I were shopping around town for some boots on clearance. Yes, I'm the girl who looks for specific colored boots when the stores are clearing the shelves for flip flops. I had already found jeans that fit my short legs, and I left the store smiling! (That never happens)  After preforming an even exchange for a cute blazer, we were headed back to our city. 

Wisconsin winters are unkind for many reasons. It's sad that dry lips are a side effect of the harsh temperatures. I unzipped my coat and started to dig for my Blistex as we talked. I have had this jacket for 6 years, and I just realized how convenient this little pocket is! It should be a law that every winter jacket has one. 

Aha! It took a few seconds to find it, but sweet relief was now in my hands! I swear I heard a choir of angels sing...

When I looked up, I saw the famous roundabout sign. This might be the only thing worse than having chapped lips. We kept seeing one after the other! It felt like they would never end! I'm talking double lanes of circular confusion. We finally made it safely through FOUR roundabouts and merged on the freeway. Phew! A straight and open road. Now I could share some lip balm with the woman who birthed me.

"Ang, I wouldn't advise doing thing while driving, but I'm a good driver."' -Mom

January 24, 2013

Significantly Less Metal in My Mouth!

Here are the torture tools lined up on January 11th! I was slowly lowered back in the chair, worried and ready to get this over with. You'd think after 2.5 years I would be anxious to get my braces removed, but I was really nervous. My brother had to get a filling after his were taken off. I guess this is a good time to mention that I have an irrational fear about getting my teeth drilled. I could hardly sleep the night before the big day.

*fires the starter's pistol* They're off! It really wasn't as bad as I thought. The worst part was having the cement removed from every tooth. I had to close my eyes and reluctantly keep my mouth open. After two hours I had a couple x-rays taken, retainers bonded to the back of my teeth, and one tooth repaired with a resin seal. It was pretty cool seeing my lower brackets still in one piece.

After taking pictures of my teeth, I sat there drooling with a mouthful of blue goop. (used to take molds of your teeth) The ladies were having a hard time finding a tray that fit my mouth just right. As I waited for impression #4 to harden, my orthodontist informed me that my wisdom teeth should be taken out soon. *ahem* That's another thing I'm scared stiff about!

When it was time to go to bed that night I felt really weird. I forgot how to sleep without constant pressure on my teeth. I pretty much cried for an hour straight. I was like a mother longing for her baby to be born, and then wanting to put it back inside of her! lol That happens all the time, right? I'm pretty sure it's not possible for a braces patient to have Postpartum depression. ;) 

In my deprived state of mine I actually said, "Mom, I miss my braces." I laugh at that statement now. Trust me, I don't miss them enough to have them put back on!

A week later I picked up my Hawley and Essix retainers! It has taken a while for me to feel comfortable sleeping in these bad boys. Most mornings I still want to gag if I say a large amount of words at once. That's always fun. I'm wondering what will happen when my name changes someday. Hmmm...

Farewell braces, it was fun while it lasted!

January 19, 2013

Jesus on the Shelf

Today I decided to stop by one of our thrift stores to see what I could find. I had a few minutes, and a project on my mind. When I found out that all books were 50% off I ran walked quickly over the that section of the store.

I saw this book sitting by itself. I scooped it up thinking, "Hey! I know exactly what this is!" It was The Jesus Storybook Bible Deluxe Edition written by Sally Lloyd-Jones. I have heard great reviews about this book!

I decided to flip through the pages to give them a health and wellness checkup. They weren't ripped anywhere, the dedication page wasn't used, and the bookmark was still creased in new condition. I knew that it was coming home with me.

I had the pleasure of serving with Chris and Sara Chavez this summer. God has given Mr. Chris the gift of sharing God's word to all ages. I enjoyed listening to Him teach at our VBS. This book reminds me of that week.

I have to mention that the doodle-like illustrations wonderful. Each chapter has great potential to hold the attention of its readers. Which isn't always an easy thing to do these days!

The book retails for $16.49 - I payed $2.05

Little things make me happy. ;)

I cannot wait to share it with the little people in my life.

January 17, 2013

One Word: Reflect

I must say that I love going for walks! There are times you just have to clear your mind, you know? I would love to have someone to hike with. If any of my friends would like to come along, I'm down with that! But for now, It's just me and the Lord hanging out in the woods.

On this particular day, I was trying to stick around a mother with a stroller. That's not creepy at all! Unknown buddy systems are cool! Eventually, she started to jog, and I watched as my bubble of protection faded over the hill.

I stared at the water for quite a while. Seriously, it looked even better in person. It's a good feeling when you remember to bring your camera along!

With the start of 2013, we all have looked back on the previous year. It's good to reflect. It gives us reason to praise God for what he has done. Reflection also gives us recognition that He has the power to change the not so good areas in our lives. Don't be too proud to admit this. We all have things we can work on.

However, I would love to see another kind of reflection in my life this year. Last night I was introduced to One Word 356. The idea is to take one word, any word, and make that your focus for the year.

I already knew what my word would be. There was no use in trying to fight it.

to show the image of; mirror.
to make apparent; express or manifest.

When I glanced at the reflection in the water I immediately knew of the beauty displayed in the sky behind me. That's the thing about God's creation. It always points back to it's beautiful creator.

We are included in that last statement. He created us too! How great would it be if we all made the choice to reflect His beauty in our everyday lives? I want it to be obvious that I am a follower of Christ.

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:18

When we look into the mirror of God's Word, we need to have a heart that is ready. Oh boy, that is convicting. As you read that last section of Scripture, or sat in that church service were you ready for Him to change you to be like his Son? A lot of times we can fall into the trap of being apathetic. We put a big check mark over our time spent with God. Often thinking, "There. It's done, what's next?" Let me be the first to tell you that is a dangerous place to be. We might be showing obedience outwardly, but submission and obedience go hand in hand.

Are you following Jesus because it's what you're supposed to do, or are you following Him because you love Him? Submission is a matter of the heart. When you enjoy Christ, it will promote action in your life!

Now, don't expect me to be able to reach this goal on my own. I cannot reflect the Lord without His help!
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. Take away Jesus, and I'm only reflecting myself.

I admire David's prayer regarding his spiritual appearance found in Psalm 17:15. He says, "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness."

There are many people that we can pattern our lives after, but none compare to reflecting Christ.

January 7, 2013

Winter Activities for Kids

I love that this game can be customized so easily. You can make it simple like the cup on the bottom left, or make it more advanced for older kids!

 Penguin Time Cards
Match the two cards with the same time on them! Most kids are great at reading the digital clocks around the house, but analog clocks can be a little tricky. Unfortunately, I only had Whole Hour clocks saved on my computer.  If this is too easy, we can always turn it into a matching game.

 Tweezing Poms 
This game is obviously geared towards younger kids. They use the tongs to move pom poms from the bowl to the tray. I've seen it on a lot of blogs! Skills practiced: sorting and fine motor skills.

Name in Lights
I wrote a bunch of family names on some paper (each one is double sided). This game helps practice spelling and upper and lower case recognition. You could also spell out words that are related to Christmas. The colored beads remind me of Christmas lights. I even added some fun shaped beads that can be used to dot letters.

Who didn't get these letters mixed up as a kid? Playing the game essentially like Slap Jack, working through your deck of b’s and d’s. Be prepared to slap the b or the d, depending on which letter was chosen for that game. (I stamped the letter on each end of the card so that you can see it from both sides of the table.)

I found some felt pine trees in our flannel board stash. Poor little trees...they were getting pretty lonely in our basement! I decided to let them see the light of day again. After drawing some lines on a piece of card stock, the trees are ready to be planted in rows of 3. Which tree farmer will win?

Popsicle Stick Puzzles
I found a couple winter friends in an old magazine that was headed for the recycle bin. If the puzzles are a hit, I will definitely be making some more!

Snowman Hide and Seek
The kids loved finding pumpkins hidden all over the house in October! I'm back with another version of the same game - perfect for the middle of winter! The snowmen where originally gift tags from Hobby Lobby. I numbered them from 1-10. The kids like lining them up to see who is missing.

Joyfully Weary: Winter Size Sort (pdf available here)
This is an easy way to practice sorting objects by size. I added some card stock from my scrapbook paper collection for stability.

Sorting Poms
Here's another game that sorts objects by size - it's pretty self-explanatory. I'll give them the tongs for this one too.

Winter Memory Match
I made this matching game from a sheet of free stickers that I received in the mail. Not all of the cards are pictured here, but you get the idea!

This was another fun way to use our red and white poms! I think I found this printable via Pinterest, but I can't seem to find it pinned on my least I favorited it!

Polar Bear Clean up
Inspired by this cute Gingerbread game, I printed 3 polar bears and added my own numbers. I slipped them into protective sleeves to save time. The blue chips were borrowed from our Bingo set. Kids will pretend that they are washing away the dirt from their bear with each roll of the dice. They will shout "Clean!" after crossing each number off their card. The player that finishes first is declared the winner.

Christmas Egg Race
I needed a new purpose for these wooden spoons. Who says Egg Races are only held in March? I plan on adding some weight to each egg, and letting the kids go through a "course" inside the house. We will see how this goes! Some of the spoons have shorter handles, but their bases are relativity the same size. In addition to practicing balance, the kids can experiment to see if the size spoon affects anything.

January 4, 2013

I Survived December!

I've been meaning to sit down and write a post. Really, I've had a few topics planned out since Christmas. I know I don't need to be making excuses. It's my blog! I can do what I want here! Right? But I am a little disappointed at the lack of posts under December's archive. I think it's safe to say that I didn't end 2012 with a bang.

Surviving December could refer to the world not ending on the 21st, but I am actually thrilled to be back after a month of sickness. I had a cold that abruptly turned into the flu without warning me at all. This week I am battling a lovely sinus infection. Hm, maybe that was a poor choice of words...It's been anything but lovely!

I forced myself to go to the doctor on Monday. I only went out of a longing to get better. Who has two thumbs and almost made it a whole year without having to go there? This girl! At the clinic I was greeted by a nutcracker wearing scrubs. He guarded the front desk, making things a little more cheery. I forgot that Amoxicillin makes me want to sleep for days, and I've had a rainbow of colors coming out of my nose. ;) Groooosss, I know!

Let's change the topic quick!

Are you ready to kick off this new year?

Well, you better hurry up because it's not waiting for you! I always feel nervous hearing the countdown. I'm like, "Waaait pause the ball! I want a few more minutes with this year!"  We had some cheesy potatoes, ham, and Welch's sparkling grape juice, and now I'm ready. Don't worry!

My notebook sits here waiting to be filled with awesome ideas, I have a stack of books waiting to be read (let me know if you want a post about them), and we each have a goal or resolution that we will achieve in 2013!

I'm typing away tonight, and I keep looking over at the clock. If I had a set bedtime before Christmas break, it is now nonexistent. Staying up late probably isn't the best thing to do when you're sick. I guess that means this is goodbye for now!

As always, thanks for listening! You're special!

Keep an eye out for the new posts that I mentioned.
I promise to finish writing them soon!

January 1, 2013

Reasons to Smile: December 2012

Finding joy in the little things!
  • Cozy nights by the Christmas tree
  • Looking out my bedroom window after the blizzard 
  • Beautiful winter branches
  • Flying our birthday flag in the freezing cold 
  • Guinness guarded on Christmas morning - what a spanky little boy!
  • Requesting individual candles on my birthday cake each year
  • Discovering this classic family picture - I love it!
  • Squirrels covered in the snow