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Showing posts from March, 2007
Spiritual Growth
My husband made a New Year’s resolution to more purposefully lead our marriage in spiritual matters. I’ve already been blessed by his efforts. We’ve been listening to Pastor Tommy Nelson’s sermons from Denton Bible Church in Texas. We’ve especially enjoyed his “History of the Church” and “Song of Solomon” series. This week we began his series on Romans.
If you and your spouse are looking for a way to seek God together, I highly recommend downloading these free podcasts and listening together. Tommy Nelson is easy to listen to, he’s funny, and his sermons are so applicable to life. Best of all, the sermons will give you something to discuss (other than the children!) when you get a few moments alone together.
Preschool Food Pyramids

For 5 years, my eldest son has listened to me casually reciting the food pyramid as I put together meals. He knows that we try to eat a protein, vegetable, dairy and fruit at every meal. (We usually get our grains at breakfast, with sandwiches and with snacks).

Since I’ve been juggling baby #3, my son has been helping more with the meals. I’m so proud that he understands healthy nutritional guidelines, and he knows to order his meals in a well-balanced setting.

That’s not to say that he doesn’t sometimes want candy 15 minutes before mealtime, but hey, we’re making progress!
CommunityEaster Egg Hunt

Saturday, April 7
10am – 12pm
There will be free food, pony rides, inflatables, and an Egg Hunt for 3 age groups

West End Community Church
235 White Bridge Road, Nashville, TN 37209
For more information, call 615.463.8497

If you come, I'd love to meet you!
Easter Eggs
We colored Easter Eggs with Gramma this morning. I never thought about all the concepts a child can learn from coloring eggs! Science: boiling eggs, bacterial precautions, chemical reactions, nutritional values
Art: wax art, shrinking wraps, layering colors, color wheel, cutting out the ‘egg holders’ on the cardboard boxes
History: why eggs (I haven’t studied this!), why color eggs?, when did the tradition start?
Math: cost of eggs and supplies, color density in relation to time in the dye, counting as you leave the eggs in the dye
Spelling: writing the child’s name, Happy Easter, Jesus Lives, or other phrases on the eggs
Reading: reading the directions on the boxI'm sure there are a million more connections. My favorite part is laughing and making memories together. Oh, and waiting for the inevitable spill! My 5 year old made the first spill, but the grown-ups knocked over another cup, while we were cleaning up his mess! More on cleaning tips later...
Free Trees

The Arbor Day Foundation will mail you 10 free trees with a 6-month membership, which costs $10. You type in your zipcode, and they give you a list of tree packages that are suitable for your climate. You can choose from flowering tree mixes, maples, oaks, evergreen mixes… I called the national office to ask about fast-growing trees that work well in my clay soils – the representatives were very helpful! Your 10 free trees are guaranteed to grow, or the Foundation will replace them free of charge. My trees came yesterday, so now I just need to figure out where to plant them!


Bloglines

Bloglines is my favorite *new* internet tool right now. No longer do I need to visit all my favorite blogs, to see if there are new articles. I just log onto my free bloglines account and my favorite blogs are all listed. If my ‘system’ of reading blogs is interrupted by kiddos, I can easily tell what I last read. New articles stay bolded, and I can easily save any articles that I want to read later. In addition to blogs, you can subscribe (free) to get the news, the weather, sports reports, or almost anything you want to read. Thank you Meredith, for introducing me to this great tool! It has saved me a lot of time and frustration!
Devotions for Kids

I just heard about a really cool devotional book for children. The One Year book of Fun &Active Devotions for Kids was written by Betsy Elliot and illustrated by Lilllian Crump. My friend Karen really likes the cartoon illustrations on every page. The activities are quick, simple and require few props. I can't wait to review it at Lifeway!
Making Puzzles

My 5-year old desperately wanted to help me cut apart the family pictures we picked up today. He was quite distraught when I said that only Mom and Dad cut these pictures, because we can't replace them. Finally I thought to let him cut something with his own *sharp* scissors.
We looked at a couple of coloring books for cutting material, then decided to make our own puzzles. I drew a puzzle design on top of his old colored pictures, then he cut along the lines. He mixed up the pieces, and reassembled them all. Finally, he put all the paper puzzles into plastic sandwich bags for re-use.
It was a great 30-minute activity station, and I hear that cutting with scissors is one of the best developmental tasks that a preschool bot can practice.
Happy Birthday Blog!

In honor of my 1ooth post, I will publish one of my favorite recipes. I love to make this gooey & rich chocolate bundt cake. I originally found it at allrecipes.com, and I'm forever grateful to the recipe submitter. It's one of my favorite mommy secrets!

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup Bundt pan.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly, invert and remove from pan. Top with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Helmet Stories
My youngest son had a very flat head as an infant. My pediatrician diagnosed the problem as plagiocephaly, and sent me to visit a specialist at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Experts are afraid the extreme flattening of the skull could lead to brain and vision problems, so the use special helmets to reshape the skull.
I was horrified to learn that my cute little 7 month old was going to need to wear a plastic helmet 22 hours/day for 4 months. I was further troubled whem I realized that Blue Cross Blue Shield covers zero of the costs, because the consider it to be a cosmetic intervention. My first blogging experience was a blog about Brendan’s helmet. If you have friends with plagiocephaly or you’ve just wondered about babies wearing helmets, you can read some of Brendan’s story here.
The Best Mommy Secret
I saw this picture on the "Trophy of God's Grace" blog this morning. I was so touched by the verse with the picture. The best mommy secret truly is prayer. Prayer when I'm angry, prayer when I'm frightened, prayer when I'm overwhelmed, prayer when I'm lonely, prayer when I don't know what to do. God is our constant friend and he wants to strengthen us in our trials. He wants to show us that when we are weak, we are truly stronger because His power flows through us.

Easy Italian Favorite
My mother-in-law makes great chicken lasagna. Every time she visits us from Arizona, my husband asks her to make it. I have finally started making it myself. It takes more time than my usual 15-minute suppers, but I always double the recipe to make up for the extra time. I was glad to pull out a frozen lasagna this weekend, for a surprise visit from my family in Knoxville.

4 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
3 jars ragu – chunky garden style
1 large package of shredded jack cheese
1 large package of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 large box lasagna noodles

Cook noodles approximately 6 minutes in boiling water.

Grease bottom and sides of large rectangular pyrex dish.

Heat the ragu in the microwave. Cover the bottom of the dish with some of the Ragu.

Layer some noodles, some mozzarella cheese, some jack cheese, some chicken and more ragu. Repeat to fill the dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Cover with shredded jack cheese and bake until melted. Let stand about …
Letters and Colors
A glimpse at what we've been learning this week. D is reading simple words using www.starfall.com. B is practicing sorting and colors with wooden blocks.
Volunteer Your Professional Talents Pt 4
More ideas to use your professional skills in a volunteer capacity. Today's focus is on "Creative Professions":

Music
Perform at a nursing home, lead worship for a youth group, teach music lessons to low-income children, volunteer in a school music class, or write a jingle for a non-profit agency.

Art
Design or paint a mural for a low-income school or community center. Plan artistic activities for children or senior citizens. Plan a crafts station for a Vacation Bible School. Start a job-training program teaching welfare recipients to make money from a craft trade.

Writing
Write newsletter or webpage articles for churches or non-profit agencies. Write curriculum for small group Bible studies. Write encouraging notes to shut-ins or missionaries. Write poetry to encourage the sick and frail.
Volunteer Your Professional Talents Pt 3
More ideas to use your professional skills in a volunteer capacity. Today's focus is on "Scientific Professions":

Engineering
Volunteer on a non-profit or school building committee. Help with home repairs for a senior citizen or someone with a disability. Design efficient processes at a facility.

Medicine
Teach groups about nutrition, prenatal care, exercise, childcare, and inexpensive home remedies for illnesses. Assist in low-income clinics. Serve in another country. Mentor a younger healthcare professional. Lead a Bible study for healthcare practitioners.

Technology
Help with job-readiness by teaching basic computer skills to victims of domestic violence or prisoners. Offer a workshop to non-profit agencies on word processing, building a web page, using Excel, or using Publisher. Teach children in an after-school care facility how to work and play on computers.
No More Ice Cream??!!

My sweet husband loves to make jokes about the size of our family. We only have three children (ages 5 and under), but he is very convinced that our family is complete. His latest blog explains why he's cutting me off of my ice cream addiction. (just kidding - I can't give ice cream up!)
Volunteer Your Professional Talents Part 2
More ideas to use your professional skills in a volunteer capacity. Today's focus is on "People Professions":
Education
Lead activities for a preschool class, teach parents how to teach children, plan Sunday School curriculum, make bulletin boards for after-school care, tutor a child, mentor another teacher, or help with GED study skills at a shelter.
Fundraising
Advise staff members on critical fundraising techniques and creative ideas to generating revenue. Help with a non-profit agency’s capital campaign, help with a church building campaign, or help groups raise money for mission trips and activities.
Marketing and Sales Marketing is often too expensive for non-profit organizations. Design a publicity piece or a promotional strategy. Help on a marketing or publicity committee. Share inexpensive marketing resources with a non-profit organizations.

Psychology Volunteer as a counselor for children, Easter Seals, a crisis pregnancy…
Volunteer your Professional Talents

You probably take for granted the knowledge and skills that make you successful in your field. You probably forget that you have unique skills and talents that could be very helpful to a community organization. I will highlight different sets of careers and corresponding volunteer ideas throughout the week. Take some time to think about how you might use your professional talents in the community.Today I will list ideas for some business fields:

Accounting
Non-profit organizations are usually grateful for financial advice in budgets, taxes and cash flow. Offer to be a resource, volunteer on a budget committee, or help in the office periodically.

General Business
Volunteer on a non-profit board, help with strategic planning, coach them on leadership styles and delegating work, ask if your company can make financial or in-kind donations for their programming needs, or help them with fundraising.

Financial planning
Teach financial planning to singles, new fam…
Breakfast Casserole

This is my standard dish for brunches, Bible study groups, showers and Sunday morning sleepovers. My sister made it this morning to surprise her husband on his birthday. I originally found the recipe at www.allrecipes.com.

Ingredients:
1 pound pork sausage
1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent roll dough
8 eggs, beaten
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Brown sausage in a skillet. Drain, crumble, and set aside.

Line the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking dish with crescent roll dough, and sprinkle with crumbled sausage.

In a large bowl, mix beaten eggs, mozzarella, Cheddar, and oregano. Pour over the sausage and crescent rolls.

Bake at 325 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Tools for Mercy Ministry

This has evolved into a week of book blogs, so I'll add one more entry. I asked my friends and colleagues what books had most powerfully impacted their views on mercy ministry and outreach. I haven't read all of them yet, but I'll provide linkd to the ones I've read. May God use this list to bless your life and ministry.

A Chance To Die: The Life And Legacy Of Amy Carmichael, by Elisabeth Elliot
A Framework for Understanding Poverty, by Ruby Payne
Being White: Finding our Place in a Multiethnic World, by Paul Harris & Doug Schaupp
Blue Like Jazz, by Donald Miller (multiple recommendations)
Compassion, by Henri Nouwen (multiple recommendations)
Divided by Faith, by Michael Emerson
Don’t sing songs to a heavy heart, by Kenneth c. Haugh.
Don't Waste your Life, by John Piper
Dynamics of Spiritual Life, by Lovelace
Evangelism: Doing Justice and Preaching Grace, by Havie M. Conn
George Muller of Bristol: His Life of Prayer and Faith, by Arthur T. Pierson
Use your Personality to Pick a Volunteer Project
God created you and your children with a thumbprint of very unique gifts and personalities. He designed you with a purpose, prepared to make the world a better place. Looking at your personality might help you find your niche for volunteering in the community. It will also help you find a good way to teach your children about the importance of serving in the community. Here are some examples:

Adventuresome
Help with outdoor activities for a Big Brothers Big Sisters or a 4-H Club. Organize an adventure for the church youth group or a Young Life club. Plan a treasure hunt for children.

Builder
Make a puppet theatre box for children, help with home repairs for senior citizens, or build a Habitat for Humanity house. Help a single mother with yardwork and home repairs.

Comforter
Visit patients in the hospital, nursing home, or Ronald McDonald House. Volunteer as a crisis pregnancy counselor or answer calls on a crisis hotline.

Creative
Decorate a ro…