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Diy Thanksgiving Plate

turkeyplate

I’m so excited to share this super simple, festive plate for Thanksgiving. I teach art at our small, Christian school and my oldest class only has four girls in it, so I can do fun projects like this with them. So tho do these plates all you need are the following:

*white dinner plates (I got mine for fifty cents each at a secondhand store)

*sharpies

*clear contact paper

*turkey silhouette

I started off by googling a turkey silhouette then drew it freehand on the back of the clear contact paper and cut it out. I then peeled the paper off the back and centered it in the middle of each plate. Then I encouraged the girls to make a pattern around the turkeyturkey with sharpies ( I suggested the dots, but one of my students opted to do stripes instead), then they each wrote a message on the outside border of the plate. Once their patterns were done, we pulled the contact paper off, leaving the turkey silhouette in the middle.IMG_20141117_133910986 IMG_20141117_133954268

Pretty simple, right?  It only took them fifteen-twenty minutes each to finish this project. Then, today, I plan to bake them in the oven at 350f for a half hour. With these sharpie plates, I recommend only using them for decorative purposes because the sharpie will fade and wipe off over time.

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Display on a plate holder or put some wrapped candies in it and enjoy!

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Pumpkin Pie Latte

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Happy fall, Y’all!

Don’t you just adore the falling leaves crunching underfoot, the crisp air stirring up rich aromas of freshly carved pumpkins and smoky chimneys? There is something supremely poetic and romantic about the Fall. It’s a time for snuggling under warm, thick blankets and reading a good book on a rainy day or swinging on the front porch with hot apple cider on a warm, sunny afternoon listening to children giggling as they stomp home from school. AAAAAAH! It’s the epitome of coziness!

The Fall is the perfect time for hot drinks! So I came up with this really simple, yet divinely delicious recipe to enjoy on this fine Autumn morning while I read my Bible with two faithful pups curled at my feet.

Confession time: I’m not a huge fan of coffee or pumpkin pie! But, together, they make a heavenly combination. Confession #2: This is also a throw together recipe. I rarely follow any recipes to a T because I like to “create” with whimsy rather than follow recipes that squash the creative juices. That’s how I roll. So, bear with me. I will tell you what I put in this and give you an idea of how much I added of each ingredient, but I’m leaving it up to you to really make your own concoction to entice your own taste buds. So, here goes:

-Freshly brewed coffee (I filled my mug up about half full)

-canned pumpkin (I added about a tablespoon)

-Sweetened Condensed Milk (for me a teaspoon)

-Milk (I used skim and filled the rest of my mug with it)

-Cinnamon (just a dash in the coffee and some sprinkled on top of….)

-Whipped cream (optional but highly recommended. You taste buds, if not your waist, will thank you)

Mix all together, with whipped cream on top, and relish with pleasure while reading a gripping novel, taking a lovely stroll down a leaf strewn lane, snuggling with a companion, or enjoying the glory of God’s creation.

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Guest Post: The Story of Kade

Courtney:

This is with a heavy heart that I share this, but it’s my sister’s story, my nephew’s story, my story. In her own, brave words she gives a great testimony of life and loss and I couldn’t be prouder.

Originally posted on sweet mama k:

Today I am sharing the words of a new friend, Shannon.  I met her through MOPS shortly after we moved here last year.  We were having a Mom’s Night out, eating at Panera, and doing some shopping when she told me she was pregnant.  I knew she already had two little girls and I was very excited to hear there was a third one coming (although at the time it was a secret that it was a going to be a boy).

I will let Shannon tell you the rest of the story in her own words but I will warn you that Baby Kade only lived for a short time on earth.  His story, however, is very powerful and very important.  Shannon bravely shared her story with us at MOPS and it touched us all, and especially me, very deeply.  I asked her to share her story here because…

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You’re in Danger of Becoming You’re Mother (and that ain’t bad)

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I tripped over the dog for the hundredth time as my youngest daughter, ever curious, asking me when dinner was, what we were having and making her opinion on the subject no secret.  She stomped a foot.  She grunted. She whined.  She did NOT want chili for dinner.  She wanted macaroni and cheese.

In our home we have a strict, “I’m-not-running-a-restaurant” rule.  If you don’t like it, then you go hungry.  I don’t know if this rule has ever really been enforced because my kids would rather swallow raw asparagus than miss a meal.  I had a headache, so noise, especially loud, high-pitched noises explode inside my head.  I have told the girls many times that it feels like someone is taking a frying pan to the back of my head each time someone is loud. Depending on the day, even normal talking can make my head feel like someone is drilling it with a jackhammer to it.  This was one of those days.  As I tripped over the dog again in my attempt to retrieve something from the refrigerator, it happened. I did what every mom vows never to do. I yelled, but worse than that, I yelled a little something like this, “You’re driving me crazy! You can eat what everyone else is eating! If you don’t like it, you don’t eat! I have listened to you complain all day…..” and it only went downhill from there.

We’ve all heard it. We’ve all said it.  We’ve all sworn that we won’t do things like our parents do them. When we have kids, we make a solemn oath that we won’t follow in their steps or make the same mistakes they did.

Ah, children are so naïve, aren’t they?

And then it happens.  It creeps up on you.  It sneaks into your home like a nasty little varmint that you keep trying to get rid of, but it keeps coming back. You try to stop it, but it keeps coming anyway.  It finds a way in. You think you can be that one person to not experience it.  You read books on how to prevent it or how to protect against it.  You try to safeguard your home, your husband, your children, yourself but it can’t be helped! Just when you think you are safe is the time you are most vulnerable to it.  Out of nowhere it comes: you say something that sounds just like your mother!

Dun…dun…dunnnnn (that was my best impression of dramatic music).

Yeah. I do it. I’m not gonna lie to ya’ll and say that I never yell (ha!). I won’t try to tell you that I don’t lecture and my kids have totally learned to tune me out (what a joke!).  I won’t even pretend that I don’t sometimes act a little more childish than my own children (please girl!). I do all of the above and much more that we won’t discuss at this moment so I can still keep some dignity and possibly a few friends.

I mean, why fight it, right?  We are going to sound and act like our parents at some point, and I know when/if my children have children of their own someday they are going to pray they don’t make the same mistakes we do, and vow they won’t, then they will probably end up giving a similar speech to their children like the aforementioned sad performance.

Here’s the thing, though, that I am failing to mention: I had (have) this great mom.  Did she yell? Yep.  Did we deserve it sometimes? Yep. Did she lose her temper? Uh-huh. Was she often surrounded by whiny, complaining, ungrateful kids as kids can be? You betcha. Did that poor woman give us so much and get little in return? Absolutely.

So I’m hear to tell you the good news! It is time to cut yourself and your mom some serious slack! Everyone knows the curse of every mom is to be frazzled, exhausted, and seriously underappreciated. Do you love your kids? Uh-YEAH! Do they drive you a bit nutty sometimes? Um-YEAH!

I think one thing I do that is really like my mom is that I beat the tar out of myself every, single day for the mistakes I make.  I am wracked by this paralyzing guilt and fear that my kids are going to resent the heck out of me.  I worry endlessly that someday they will do exactly what I am talking about: pray they look nothing like me as an adult. Parenting is nothing if not humbling. But, here’s the thing: everyone makes mistakes. Everyone messes up. Everyone says things they shouldn’t say and everyone takes the ones they love the very most in the world for granted. Everyday.

But if as Christians we are dragging that guilt around with us, we are cheapening the grace of God and what Christ did for us.  We are preaching to ourselves and our children that His grace isn’t sufficient, when the Bible makes it abundantly clear that it is. .

As a child of God, I am under the grace of God every day. I don’t need to beat myself or my mom up for the mistakes I make. We are all sinful by nature and fight that everyday, whether we are believers in Christ for salvation or not.  We all have regrets. We all have things we wish we could take back. So let’s rectify our mistakes, beg for forgiveness, do whatever we can to make things right with those we love and move on.  Don’t drag those mistakes with you.

So, what is the point of this little monologue, you say? By jove, I’m so glad you asked!

I want to list some of the ways I am and strive to be like my mom.

1. I dance with my kids. When we were kids, and even in high school, my mom would put on Eric Clapton for us and we would “floor dance”. Yep. My family is pretty special. We make up our own dances. We would lie on our backs and flail our arms and legs and sing loudly to “Layla” and “Malted Milk” and laugh until our stomachs hurt.  I have made dancing a serious part of our daily routine. We dance. Always. When I am ready to scream, I put some music on. Sometimes it’s Clapton. My recent drug of choice is Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, and the Rat Pack. That’s some good stuff! When the girls get to choose, it’s something Disney. :) But, either way, we twirl, we jump, we make fools of ourselves and best of all, we laugh. My kids haven’t been able to appreciate the true art of floor dancing with me yet, but I’m working on ‘em.

2. We make memories and traditions together. To this day my mom says she dreads the impending holidays because they are such a stressful time for her, but growing up, I was clueless! She always made them so special and homey. At Christmas, especially, we baked cookies, made ornaments, went out to look at Christmas lights. We strung popcorn for the tree and watched Christmas movies. We would leave cookies and milk for Santa and in the morning there would be a nice thank you note from him. We would go black Friday shopping at 5 in the morning! I still love that! She taught me young to fall in love with Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life” (now I am a diehard fan! Has anyone else seen “Harvey”, which I also watched with my mom). I light evergreen candles at Christmas because it reminds me of being at home with my family. She would even let us stay home sometimes to just make memories together. At Easter time, she and my dad would hide baskets for us with clues hidden all over the house.  I could go on and on and on, but I love the traditions she passed on or started with us that I now do with my kids. Sometimes, when trying to pull these things together, I want to scream! I understand the stressful part of it for sure, but I keep thinking that I am making memories for them that I know they will look back on fondly as I do.

3. I kiss boo-boos. Some of you are probably thinking, “Uh-huh. Yay for you. What mom doesn’t do that?”. Still, I want to highlight this special gift mom’s have to make things right. Even now, when my world is falling apart around me, I really just want my mom to make it all better for me. My girls both have an amazing flair for the dramatic. Sometimes I think because I try to downplay things, it only exaggerates this trait of theirs more.  When Evie gets hurt she will scream (top of her lungs, bursting dogs’ eardrums scream) at me to, “Come over here right now!! Now, Mommy!!” If I know it is minor, even if I see blood, I will try to walk to her calmly and try to access the damage before I panic (outwardly, at least) to balance her out. But, my other child tends to show off every “boo-boo” she has at least twenty times a day.  She is by nature an attention seeker, so if someone else is sick or hurt, she feels the need to top it. She, too, has a headache or a scratch or feels queasy. I have come to appreciate and find the humor in this at times, but other times I find myself wedged into the back of the closet trying to hide when I hear her coming with a fake cry and an imaginary boo-boo that needs attention. Nora is stubborn and proud and in her language, when she comes to me, with an exaggerated limp because she brushed against the wall, I know it means that she needs love and attention. I sometimes am not incredibly sympathetic, and wish I truly was much more like my own mom in this way and have found myself trying to practice what she would do.  In times like that she would look at me and say, “Oh, honey. I’m sorry. Rub it.” It was so wise and magical! She didn’t give me fanfare or over exaggerate a minor bump, but she gave me the attention and sympathy I needed. As I got older, she listened when I had trouble with friends or kids who were mean at school.  She talked me through some really low points in my life and offered encouragement.

4. I surprise them sometimes. My mom was so great at every once in awhile having something special for us when we came home from school. I will never forget a special, Velcro watch she surprised me with one day with interchangeable faces. She would load us and our boxer dog, Maxie, in the car, and we would all get ice cream at Dairy Queen. I loved the days I would come home from school and she would have fresh baked cookies waiting on the table for us. Sometimes, we would order Chinese food and get a movie and watch it as a family. We wouldn’t do these things very often, so when we did, they were super special.

5. I strive to be an encourager. My mom wasn’t perfect. She could be critical sometimes, I think as all women it is super easy to do, but more often she was encouraging. She would point out the things that she was proud of me for or encourage me to pursue.  She would sing my praises in front of me to other people. It made me want to be who she made me sound like I was.  I have been trying with my girls (if I wasn’t such a slow learner!!) to “correct” them instead of criticize and be an encouragement and not a negative voice in their head. Lately, I have been trying to make a point to sit down and say something to Nora like, “Hey, God made you a leader. I know you want to lead this situation, and someday maybe you will have authority to lead people, but right now you have to learn to submit before you can be a good leader. Right now you need to learn how to be someone that people will want to follow,” rather than, “You are so bossy! You never listen and are so controlling!” I have seen a huge difference in her attitude when it’s constructive and encouraging rather than just critical. I still make mistakes, but by the grace of God hopefully the encouraging will outweigh the discouraging!

6. We pray with our kids. My mom is the one who led me to Christ and taught me about my need for salvation. She answered my questions and taught me how to pray. We are trying so hard to make prayer a priority in our home, to make it like breathing. Again, TRYING is the operative word, here. There have been times where I will grab one of the girls angrily in a hug and say, “I am so mad at all you, all I can do is pray with you,” and by the end of the prayer, I’m usually pretty humbled. I want to teach them that prayer truly is the answer pretty much all the time. We made a ” I Thessalonians” chair in our home that is designated as a place for any of us to go and cool off. I will post more on it later. But I want to encourage them, as my mom did, to pray, to seek forgiveness and guidance, moment by moment.

This is the short list!! I wish I was like my mom in so many other ways. How are you like your mom?

So maybe I’m in danger of sounding like my mother. Thank you. I will take that as a compliment. <3

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DIY Recipe Book

recipebooks

I cook much like my mom.  She was always an awesome cook. She had the magical way of opening her cupboards, seeing what she had, and throwing together something delicious with nothing more than a can of vegetables, a hot dog and a potato. It was amazing. I somehow inherited her knack for cooking this way. The downside to this, is many times we have sat down and oohed and awed over something divinely delicious (more when my mom is cooking than me) and have no idea how it turned out. I have asked her for recipes  before but she can’t really duplicate it more than saying, “You know…it’s a little bit of this, a dash of that….”

I don’t know how impressed my kids are really with my cooking, but I hope someday they will want to duplicate something I make  because it tastes like home and comfort to them. My girls are always eager to help in the kitchen (which, as any mom or dad knows isn’t always the most helpful thing) but instead of shooing them out, I decided to start giving them “cooking lessons”. We strap on our aprons, put on our imagination caps, sometimes we talk with an accent, and pretend that the girls are in my cooking class at some fine culinary institute and I teach them. I let them help me measure things out and stir things up.  It doesn’t really ever go as smoothly as all that and we are being candid here, but more often than not it’s fun and a good way to connect with them and teach them something valuable at the same time. 

During this little experiment, it has also helped me to realize the value of measurements. I usually just throw a dash of this and a spot of that into the pot, but when they are helping, I rely on measurements so they aren’t dumping six cups of baking soda into something when only a half a teaspoon is necessary. Hence this idea came to me!

When I was a little girl, my grandmother gave me this recipe book for kids and I still treasure it as one of my favorite gifts ever. I still use it for the yummy coffee cake recipe in it.  I figured my girls, too, might appreciate one of their own but with family recipes in it that are of my own variation or ones that my mother or grandmother or aunt would concoct.

So, we went to the Dollar Tree and got these little journals that I used for this father’s day project.

The girls asked me to draw pictures of them on the front as chefs, which I did with Sharpies then let them color them in and decorate as they preferred. 

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Then, we wrote our first recipe in the book, homemade spaghetti sauce. They drew a picture of spaghetti on the opposite page. And we cooked.

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I’m all about starting new traditions with my kids! Hopefully this will be one that sticks. What are some fond traditions you have with your mom?

 

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Poolside Purity & Bikini Battles

Courtney:

Just the other day I listened to my friends have the bikini debate. Truthfully sometimes I dread going to the beach because I know it will be infested with bikini clad beauties who will snag my husband’s attention and make me feel less than in my modest one piece. As a mom of two little girls who at six already want to fit in with their friends and wear what they call a”split” bathing suit (aka bikini) it’s so difficult to teach them modesty in an ever increasingly immodest society. I want to be clear that I don’t want to be legalistic about this and don’t mind tankinis and don’t want to sound like I am condemning anyone who wears a bikini.I just want to address this issue of a sex crazed society. That is why I choose to share this article because it challenges why we feel the need to contribute to this issue and not be a refreshing contrast to it in the way we choose to dress ourselves. (Watch the video attached because it is very enlightening).This is an unavoidable issue in today’s culture of size zero, scantily clad, come hither models. It’s in your face all the time. I recently watched my girls try to pose with pouty lips, narrowed eyes and hand on hips for a picture as if they were posing for a Victoria’s secret catalog mimicking a picture they saw on the magazine rack in passing at Walmart. This article challenged me and gave me hope in raising my girls to see them as God created them: in His image to be used for His glory and defined as beautiful by His standards and not the world’s. Even as their mom I catch myself defining beauty as the world does, trying to keep up with unattainable and shallow standards. Man looks at outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart. I needed that reminder!

Originally posted on That Preacher Guy:

Here we go again. It’s summer time, which means at any given time, in any number of churches nationwide, pastors, youth pastors and leaders are giving their kids (read: their female students) the “one-piece” talk.

A few years back at our church, some students actually petitioned our pastor to include Tankinis. It was a big win for preteens everywhere. I imagine they sat by the pool that summer in their tankinis and drank virgin daiquiris to celebrate.

We have all been there for that dreaded talk. It’s painful for everyone involved and it smacks of legalism. As one student recently said to me, “It just feels like another instance of the old people at church telling people to behave because you’re at church.” It’s absurd, I know. In case you are unfamiliar with the one-piece talk, it goes something like this:

Ok, ladies, it’s summertime, and we’re going to have a…

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3 Hour Teacher’s Rag Quilt

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Schooooooooooooool’s out for summer!!

How did THAT happen??!!!

Where did the time go???

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was taking these first day of school pictures of our girls and in what seemed like a matter of moments we went…..

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In the meantime, I chopped off about a foot of my hair and the girls grew nearly three inches! I’m also pretty sure in the last nine months these two little angels also gave their teacher an innumerable amount of gray hairs. I am so super duper thankful for their A-MA-ZING teacher! I was often answering texts from her, having chats in the classroom, and often commiserating with her about what a handful our girls are. A blessing, mind you, but a handful none-the-less. So, I wanted to do something special for her. The last few months have been a whirlwind and the end of the year really snuck up on me, so by the time this idea occurred to me, I knew I didn’t have much time to pull it together (two days to be exact). I mention this so you know how easy peasy this was!

I wanted to have each of the kids trace their hands on fabric and write their names on it, then applique them on a quilt square and machine embroider over the names so they were more permanent ,which is exactly what I ended up doing. Sooooooo, without further ado, here is the pattern. It took me only 3 hours to make, beginning to end! I made this according to the class size which only had fourteen students in it. You may have to adjust the pattern according to the size of your classroom.

Supplies:

*1/4 yard each of six fabrics of your choosing (I got all of mine at  Walmart!)

*1.5 yards of flannel for backing

*fabric pen

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Choose fabrics that you want to use for handprints and using a fabric marker trace each student’s hand and have them print their name in their hand. I also cut out a heart for the bottom right hand corner of the quilt to put the teacher’s name in. Choose three fabrics for your smaller squares and cut them into 60  4.5 inch squares. Cut the remaining three fabrics into 15 8 inch squares. With the flannel, cut the same amount of squares (60 4.5″ and 15 8″).

Since this is a rag quilt, it is important to just fringe the edges of all of your squares with a small pair of scissors so just the outer 1/4 inch is snipped. To start appliqueing hands on the squares, I put the flannel piece on the back first and machine appliqued them, then used a free motion foot to embroider the names on. Pretty simple! Once that was all done, I sewed my little squares together in blocks of four, making sure (again, because it is a rag quilt) that I put a flannel piece on the back first (I DID NOT use any sort of batting because the flannel is a little heavier but still kept it pretty lightweight and good for cool summer evening snuggling). So, take two of your pieces (one front and the flannel backing) and put them together, wrong sides and then sew them to another sandwich like this so that your seams are on the outer, front side. I, again, preferring the haphazard look, just sewed fabrics together at random, just making sure the same two weren’t side by side. Once I had all my blocks together (15 total) I then sewed them to my hand blocks, starting in rows horizontally first, then attaching the rows together.

It was pretty simple and sooooooo worth the effort! I snuck in when the kids were having lunch so their teacher didn’t know what I was doing so it was a total surprise to her. She cried and grabbed me in a big bear hug which made it all worth it!

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Here she is with the quilt and kids!

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 We have had so many talks this year we have become good friends!

I am truly going to miss her not being the girls’ teacher (though I’m not so sure she can say the same thing) :)