Saturday, December 19, 2009

CHRISTmas Bell

I am God's child (John 1:12)
I am Christ's friend (John 15:15 )
I am united with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17)
I am bought with a price (1 Cor 6:19-20)
I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph. 1:1)
I am a personal witness of Christ. (Acts 1:8)
I am the salt & light of the earth (Matt 5:13-14)
I am a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27)
I am free forever from condemnation ( Rom.. 8: 1-2)
I am a citizen of Heaven. I am significant (Phil 3 :20)
I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31 -34)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Cor 5:17-21)
I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6)
I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom 8:35-39)
I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor 1:21-22 )
I am assured all things work together for good ΓΏ(Rom. 8:28 )
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16 )
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph.. 3: 12 )
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13 )
I am the branch of the true vine, a channel of His life (John 15: 1-5)
I am God's temple (1 Cor.. 3: 16). I am complete in Christ (Col. 2: 10)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).. I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am God's co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor 6:1). I am God's workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected. (Phil. 1: 5)
I have been redeemed and forgiven ( Col 1:14). I have been adopted as God's child (Eph 1:5)
I belong to God
Do you know
Who you are?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

2009 Hobe Sound Christmas Parade

At first glance, this first picture portrays a typical annual tradition.

It had been raining that morning, and we thought that surely the parade would be cancelled. People lined up, however, and it soon cleared up enough that we all thought the worst was over. Then it started in again about 30 minutes into the parade.

We stuck it out because Rebecca and Elijah were marching with their Tae Kwon Do school. Can you see Elijah here, drenched to the bone? (wearing black shoes and looking at the camera)

The rains came down.

Candy was ignored for the sole chore of trying to keep dry.

Unbelievably, it started coming down in sheets. Looks like a hurricane, huh? This Martin County Sheriff's posse bravely plodded on.

Afterwards, except for our heads we were all soaked to the bone and the kids were getting the chills.

We won't soon forget this years parade! After this one, next year's has nowhere to go but up! This was supposed to be the largest ever parade. In the end, all the bands cancelled but one. There was very little music playing, but plenty of good humor! What a way to kick off the Christmas Season!

"Present time, present time, open the present, see what's inside!" ~Blue's Clues

Due to a crazy schedule this month for all parties involved, we decided to have Christmas with my parents this past weekend. It was a great weekend to do this since we had a full plate of Christmas activities to make it feel more like Christmas! (two Christmas parades and an awesome program at Hobe Sound Bible Church...The Singing Christmas Tree.) So, Saturday the 5th found us gathered around the tree in the living room, ready to unwrap!

Mom loved her monogrammed canvas tote bag from L.L. Bean. She never finds anything with her name on it so she was one happy gal!

I found a great book with "then and now" Bible maps. It also included a CD rom so Dad can print out the maps for his Sunday School class.

Grammie made these aDORable bear shaped blankets for Nate and James. They LOVE them!

Zack and Elijah both received a box full of art supplies. Paper, assorted art pencils and cool design books.

Both boys love to draw, so these were a BIG hit!

Dad went shopping for the men in the family and bought Rob a very nice set of drill bits. I don't know much about tools, but apparently Dad picked out a good set!

Can you believe we made Rebecca wait last to open her gift from her Grandparents??? We are SO mean! Actually, we all enjoyed taking our time and savoring every minute. Anyway, Mom crocheted this huge snuggie for Bee. Her favorite past time is to cuddle up in a blanket with a good book. This is way better than a blanket... it's a blanket with sleeves! How cool is that?

What? There aren't any pictures of ME opening a gift? You are right! My parents didn't think I behaved well enough to get one. Lump of coal for me! Just kidding of course. Mom (good listener that she is) remembered me saying that I would love to have a Mennonite Cookbook so she had her local book store order one for me. LOVE IT! (and just for good measure, she threw in a box of Rubbermaid storage containers, to boot!) Since there aren't any pictures to PROOVE that they bought me a gift, you'll just have to take my word for it!

Sugar Cookie Fun!

I have found the perfect sugar cookie dough that rolls out, cuts out without sticking to the table and bakes perfectly without spreading across the pan to become conjoined twins with it's neighbor to be as elusive as the proverbial needle in the haystack. Until this year!!! Whatever possessed me to decide once again to have a go at the infamous sugar cookie, I'll never know! But while at wally-world, I picked up a tin of star shaped cookie cutters. On the back of the package was (of course) a recipe for the cookies. Much to my absolute joy, this recipe is fail-proof and doesn't taste like cardboard!!! Yahoo! Without further ado....

Traditional Sugar Cookies
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
Mix the dry, cream the wet, adding sour cream last. Add the dry to the wet and mix well. Chill for 1-2 hours. Bake at 350, for 8-10 minutes.

Making them with friends is much more fun! We joined our friend Misty and her girls Kathryn, Karissa, and Kaylee yesterday morning for some flour flying, dough snitching, red hot stealing good time.

Here you go! Try one for yourself!

I don't know who came up with this winning recipe, but as Misty said (at the failure of perfection of her Betty Crocker recipe) "Who needs Betty Crocker, anyway?"

Seemed like a good idea at the time...

Someone sent me this following email. I don't know the source, so I can't give credit where credit is due.

The homeowner says:
“Good news is that I truly out did myself this year with my Christmas decorations. The bad news is that I had to take him down after 2 days. I had more people come screaming up to my house than ever. Great stories … but two things made me take it down.

“First, the cops advised me that it would cause traffic accidents as they almost wrecked when they drove by.

“Second, a 55 year old lady grabbed the 75 pound ladder almost killed herself putting it against my house and didn't realize it was fake until she climbed to the top (she was not happy). By the way, she was one of many people who attempted to do that. My yard couldn't take it either. I have more than a few tire tracks where people literally drove up my yard.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Simple Gift Idea (Yummy, too!)

These have got to be the yummiest, easiest dessert I have ever made. Everyone in my house wanted MORE! Place unwrapped Rolo candy on top of pretzels on a greased cookie sheet. Place in oven at 300 degrees for 4 minutes.

Press a pecan half on top immediately.

After they are cooled, place in a jar or box or whatever you wish...

...and add a simple, elegant ribbon. (or whatever else you happen to have sitting around)

Crafty Candle Holders

Look what Nate and James made! (with help from Mom, of course!)

dried corn
dried beans
dried whatever-you-have-in-the-pantry
white glue
plastic wrap
small container to make the candle in

Directions: mix the appropriate amount of dried goods in a medium container and add plenty of white glue. Press the mixture down into the plastic wrap lined small container. Let set for a few minutes and smoosh a candle down into it. After a couple hours, remove carefully from the container, remove plastic wrap and candle so it can thoroughly dry. Let dry overnight.

They look great on our table! Thanks, Nate and James! Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Let's Say Thanks!

Let's Give Thanks!

This isn't a new story, but the website is still up and running and you can still pick out a colorful "Thank You" card, personalize it with a message, your name and hometown and know that it will be sent to a troop stationed overseas. I was happy to see that the winning card that Rebecca designed over three years ago is still there! I can't believe it's been that long. It was definitely a high point in her life to have been chosen as one of the winners! She was interview by several different papers and a children's magazine. This would be a great time of the year to remember our troops. In just a click of a mouse, you'll have a message on it's way! Here is a thank you note from an Airforce Staff Sergeant:

To the folks of Let's Say Thanks,
First off let me say a personal thank you. I was out of the office when the package arrived and it was placed on my chair. Just to see a package waiting for me made my day! I speak on behalf of other Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines that receiving a package stuffed with goodies is a great feeling - knowing that the folks back home are very appreciative and supporting of their defenders.
I myself have children ages 7 (girl) and 4 (boy) whom I miss so dearly! Seeing the artwork and the messages "praying and wishing for your safe return" that others write really brings a tear to my eye. It is very touching to know that the kids back home know why we are here defending our country and that they are very active in the supporting us.
Again, I would like to say thank you and keep doing what you are doing as many out here don't have family members to lean on.
- An Air Force Staff Sergeant

Let's Give Thanks, everybody!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Annual Family Photo

Just a few thoughts about my new header photo. I can't remember when I last used a professional photographer to capture our family. I don't like the traditional inside photo opps available from Walmart or JC Penny, etc. I like everybody ELSES photos, but not mine. I guess we are more laid back and informal and I like my photos to depict that. Think jeans and T-shirts. I actually dread our annual photo shoot because it seems like one person is always saying "I closed my eyes!" Or, "There's an ant on me!" Or "This hurts my butt." And that's just the 3 older kids. With the 2 youngest I get the silent treatment. And the scowls. And the "sun in my eyes" look. And the tongue. Lots of tongue. I did manage to get a few good shots, however, after lots of "cheese" and sweat. But I can't share those yet, until I get my cards in the mail! In the meantime, I'm SO GLAD IT'S OVER FOR ANOTHER YEAR! Or at least until Easter.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Falling Behind....Catching Up!

We don't carve pumpkins every year, but this year we found a good sale on them at Walmart and decided to have a party. Zack had Friday off, so we invited Kaylee and Nicky over to scoop and carve.

Rebecca dug in and went with a camouflage theme.

I love how Eli's turned out, but when it was lit not much light shone through.

I think Zack carved his the quickest. Should I be worried about that?

Waiting for the evening time to be lit.

In the meantime, taco salad dinner!

Ready for lights out!

Can you see me now?

Nate wanted the moons and stars. I love how it turned out.

Happy boy=happy pumpkin!

James looks like a bandit with his eyes blacked out like that! Don't ya like his cool spider he insisted on having?

Sitting pretty! The extra big pumpkin on the left was Nicky's. He won it at his school party.

That's it for another year!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy "Birth" Day, Zack!

I had a good laugh when I read this joke sent to me by a friend! But it reminded me that I have something to share! We have always talked to our children about their need for Jesus, and I remember helping Zack say the sinner's prayer at a young age. Of course, we wonder what about the time when they are past the age of innocence, do they need to say that prayer again, or if they just keep on keepin' on. I'm sure it's different with each child, of course. Dealing with Zack's autism adds a whole other dimension to this subject. I believe to a certain extent, God gives much more mercy and grace to Zack than to my other children. Zack operates within the abilities that his DISabilities afford him. His autism plays out in his behavior. Social situations are hard. The more sensory input he has, the less abilitiy he has to cope. Crowds, noise, visual stimulation, all pushes his coping mechanisms to the max. He reaches overload at the slightest provocation. So, as you can imagine, discipline is an major, ongoing thing in our home. I was recently introduced to The Young Peacemaker and we have been going through the book as a family. It's amazing the difference this book has made. It really is perfect for autistic/asperger's children. This Tuesday, I was asking Zack specifically about "getting" to Heaven and how he thought that was accomplished. He said, "Well, when I get there, God will give me my punishment for being bad and then let me into Heaven." My jaw nearly hit my chest! Where had we gone wrong, and how in the world did he get THAT so mixed up?!? I told him, "No, sweet boy! That's not how it works! When you take your last breath, it's over! You have made your choice and it's time to get your consequence, Heaven OR Hell and Hell IS the punishment!" You should have seen the look of shock that came over his face and he began to cry. Real tears streaming down his cheeks (by this time, I'm crying, too!) I asked him to tell me what he was thinking and he said he realized that he has been "very horrid to Nate and James." The realization that he deserved to go to Hell because of his sinful nature and that his idea of God accepting him into Heaven no matter how badly he behaved was WAY off, really shook him up. Of course, we prayed together and he confessed that he was a sinner in need of Jesus. I tell you, it shook ME up! To see someone realize for the first time that they NEED Jesus was something else to behold! I know that on some level we all experience this on a daily basis. It's called being humble. Realizing our position of desperate need for a Savior. It also made me think about how much MORE my children need us to talk to them about the things of God. How did we miss such a big one like that?

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7

I guess there's no such thing as too much when it comes to talking to our children about God!

We wrestle not against flesh and blood....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

School Fun

A couple weeks ago, I excitedly brought out the preschool items I had assembled for Nate and James and announced "Hey guys, you wanna get started on school work?" I heard a rather decided "nope!" followed by another "nope!" (Not sure who went first.) Great, I thought. I must be saying something wrong. The proverbial light bulb lit up over my head and I waited a few minutes before saying, "Hey guys, you wanna get started on school FUN?" Eyes lit up! Score another win for the art of persuasion! It took them a little while to warm up to the routine, but they are really into it now.

This is the book we are using to learn Bible stories, songs, rhymes, ABC's, 123's and art. (and more!) It takes us between 15-30 minutes a day, depending on what activities we have planned. They really like doing the art, so that can stretch the time a bit more. As long as they are interested, we keep going!

This is the Bible that the curriculum recommends using. It begins at the "Beginning", of course. A story a day with comprehension questions built right in. It's amazing how much their little minds absorb!

Here is a peek into the main activities for today. To go with the part of Noah's story of the rainbow: tear up bits of colored paper and glue on black paper. I was getting a kick out of how each of them went at it their own way. True to personality, James GLOBBED on the paper bits, in a hurry to get it done. Nate carefully placed each piece.

In the end they both finished at the same time! So much for hurrying!

Neat, careful rows!

Really getting "into" it! Love the bandaids. Previous injury, not inflicted by tearing up bits of paper.

The letter for this week is B. Guess what week we are on! Using masking tape, we taped out a capital "B" and they placed blocks on it.

~Hooray for school FUN~