Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Shout Out to My Newest "MUST Follow Blogs"

Remember when the Nebraska Bloggers Connect topic was "Top 5 Blogs to Follow"? Well, since then I've joined BlogLovin', learned a lot more about blogging through HotBliggityBlog and The Cutest Blog on the Block, and spent time researching a few parenting topics and came across a few blogs I now love.

Here are some more MUST Follow Blogs:

If you're an elementary teacher, or a teacher looking for great ideas to modify in your own classroom, Mrs. Bowder's Bunch is a must follow. She's funny, creative, and inspirational. I'm in love with this blog.

I'm a visual learner who, once seeing how something works, must do it myself in order for it to stick. This blog gives amazing visual templates on how to do anything "blog" and I find it very helpful. Plus her free stuff is absolutely adorable: The Cutest Blog on the Block.

Chronicles of a Babywise Mom is a fantastic website on motherhood and her experiences of implementing the "wise" book series (and how it worked for her). I find this blog extremely interesting and helpful, every new mom needs experienced moms in her life. This is one mom I would love to meet for a coffee date and would be totally satisfied if I came home with even a teeeeeeeny bit of her knowledge.

Blogging is a new and fun social networking world (for me). I love it. I know how much work goes into "blogging" so I couldn't resist giving a Shout Out to my newest favs and encourage my readers to look them up and read what they have to say. I'm absolutely amazed at all I've learned through blogging and the people who have so much to offer by writing about what they know. So here's to you, my blogger friends! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

10 Reasons to Love Mickey & Minnie Mouse

My grandpa gave me my first Mickey Mouse when I was a baby. Ever since then my Mickey and Minnie Mouse collection has grown and continues to grow as people learn of my small obsession with these cute ears. Now I find Mickey and Minnie even more EARresistible and here's some reasons why...
  1. The ears are EARresistible! Seriously. They look cute on car seat covers, shirts, purses, shoes, diaper bags, mobile's over a crib, strollers, knitted hats, teething rings, etc.etc.
  2. It's a great couple's Halloween costume. (Do you think Kyle would go for this?)
  3. Mickey and Minnie's voices were actually a husband and wife duo.
  4. Walt Disney was full of creative spunk who dedicated his life for the betterment of children's lives, and it all started with a mouse!
  5. Mickey has a friend named goofy (who is a dog) but has a dog dog named Pluto as his pet. L.O.L.
  6. They offer plenty of decorating potential, including (but not limited to) a cute nursery. And an adorable 1st birthday party (coming soon...).
  7. No matter where you go shopping, you'll find Mickey and Minnie Disney products (and no that isn't creepy!). You'll find them in Wal-mart, K-mart, Target, Dollar General. When you visit Disney Land or Disney World the signs have ears on them and the ice cream is in the shape of Mickey Mouse himself! I mean, cripes, he's everywhere! Woohoo!
  8. And this...
  9. And this...
  10. And this...

Do we have to limit it to 10?!

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Mommy & Her "Deere" [Baby Shower]

When I took over the task of throwing baby showers for all the new mommy's in our church I didn't realize the plethora of ideas that came with it. I'm all about party planning, but now, I can whip out a plan or two in just a few minutes thanks to Pinterest, Punchbowl, and the experience I've had thus far. This John Deere shower was no exception.

I always ask the mommy if she's going with a certain theme for the nursery. I haven't had one similar response. There's so many creative women out there! Cassidy's hubby is a farmer and obviously a John Deere fan, so she decorated little Aleeah's room with John Deere. So that's what I did for her shower as well. It all turned out so cute. 

Cassidy and her little "Deere" Aleeah

Colors: Pink, Green, and Yellow

When you walked through the door you saw...

I try to do something new and unique for the guest book. This time I wrote Aleeah a "Deere John Letter" except I wasn't trying to break her heart, here's what I wrote and the guests signed around it:
Deere Aleeah, How precious you are to so many. There's love aplenty. We wish you the best in all you do. We will pray for you in whatever you pursue. Remember to celebrate each day. Don't forget to pray. Give thanks for all your blessings. Let God take all your worries; nothings worth stressing. Delight in God's Word. If you live by it, your focus will not be blurred. In Jesus alone take refuge. His knowledge, His grace, His embrace is HUGE. Love, (all the guests signed it.)
Signed and Framed.

Guest Book table.
I made the little onsie's with puffy paint, here's a close up:
Daddy's "Deere"
"That's how I roll!"
Each table was set up with a table runner (that was John Deere wrapping paper) and vases of wild sunflowers. I made Kyle drive me to a random ditch to pick them and I didn't even make a dent there are so many. They're beautiful.
I love this picture.

Who knew wrapping paper would make such a fantastic table runner?!
The food table was the highlight...
Dirt cake.
Chocolate donuts as "Tractor Tires"
Rice Krispies as "Hay Bales"
Gone Fishin'
Daddy's Corn Dip. (This stuff is highly addicting. I got the recipe from here. She calls it "Irresistible Corn Dip" and she's not kidding. The only thing I added was shredded cheddar cheese. Yum!)
The "John Deere Punch" consisted of sprite, lemonade, pinapple juice and lemon and lime slices.
The set up.
As is tradition when I throw a baby shower, I read a children's story. This time I read the classic, "The Little Red Hen" who finds a grain of corn, but nobody will help her plant it, reap it, take it to the mill, or make the dough. So nobody will help her eat the loaf of bread either. It lead right into the devotions. I told them that I wanted to be careful relating the parable of the sower to "The Little Red Hen" because I doubt the author of "The Little Red Hen" was thinking of the parable of the sower when it was written and I seriously do not think that Jesus had "The Little Red Hen" in mind when he told his story either. But stories and parables have this amazing ability to teach lessons that everyone can understand. Jesus knew parables and stories were a common way of teaching for Jewish Rabbi and "wise men" from the east. In other words, the crowd He was speaking to were familiar with this form of teaching. Jesus told the parable of the sower to the crowd (Matthew 13:3-9) and then explained the meaning to the disciples (Matthew 13:18-23). The seeds are God's Word, the ground is our heart, we can either let it take root, be grounded in it and not be swayed when trials and tribulation come; OR we can hear the word, but let the things of this world become more important; or let sin become what rules our life; or love it at first but when trials and tribulations come we forget it. It's important to not only hear God's Word, but let it take root, study it, live by it, let it change us and mold us into the likeness of God, so that when trials and tribulations do come we are GROUNDED in God's Word, with deep roots, and will not sway. We must (as James says in James 1:22) to "... be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving  yourselves." Just like a Farmer who WORKS hard to produce fruit, or the little red hen who WORKED hard to produce a loaf of bread, we too as Christians need to WORK hard to produce GOOD FRUIT and it starts with God's Word. Do not be like the other farm yard animals who too busy with everything else to want to help and thus missed out on the reward.

The game was guessing baby food "from the farm". There were six different types. The winner received the delightful John Deere cookies (click here to see how I made them).
The labels were taken off and each tub of food was labeled with numbers, there were six: green beans, squash, beef and beef gravy, peas and carrots, and sweet potato and carrots.
The prize.

Mingling, chatting, giggling, and trying to figure out the beef and beef gravy combo (Yuck, everyone guessed it was TUNA!).
Mommy Deere asked specifically for wipes and diapers (smart mom!). So I made her a diaper tractor, click here to see how I did it.
I wish I would've taken a picture (do I say that in every shower I host?!) of the awesome John Deere diaper cake another woman from church made. It was cuuuuute.
She walked away with a ton of stuff. I hope she felt blessed. This shower was originally planned for the month of July, but little Aleeah decided to come a couple months early! Scaring the beejeebes out of mom and dad. Mom spent 5 weeks in solitude with her 4 pound baby, but looking at her now you'd never know. She's a growing, healthy baby girl. Thank the Lord for answered prayers.
Cassidy and Her Little Deere
I have a couple showers coming up, one involving cupcakes and the other giraffe's. I'm super excited about spoiling both of these mommy's as well. The ladies of our church are amazing. The same women attend shower after shower after shower and spoil each mom with a plethora of much needed items. I am forever thankful for them because without the women who are constantly there when these momma's need them, these showers would not be worth my time and effort. Until next time ladies!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Diaper Tractor How-To

We have a smart new mommy! For her shower she asked for diapers and wipes. Can't go wrong with that. Her nursery is a John Deere tractor theme (daddy's a farmer) and I couldn't resist making a diaper tractor. However, everything I found did not have good directions on how to make one, so I found a picture and improvised. I wasn't 100% satisfied with how it turned out, but I thought I'd share what I did anyhooooooo...

First I rolled 10 diapers together creating the first wheel...
I used double sided tape to wrap yellow and green streamers around it securing them in place.
Wheel Axle
Add flowers...
Wrap streamers around the axle and flower stems.

Go through the same process with the back wheel's except use 20 diapers instead of 10 for each wheel.
Cutt off a flap from the diaper box and use it as the base of your "tractor bed".

Cut it to fit the desired length of your tractor and width of your wipes container.
Wrap the wipes container around the cut box lid.
Add windows if you want and a "chimney" (hehe).

I also added heart stickers to the front and back.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Date #1

For our anniversary I gave US a gift: a date a month for the entire year. (I wrote about it here.) This month the date was going to the Hiway 92 Raceway Park. I can't say that Kyle and I will be raceway fans, but the whole point of these dates are to support local businesses, see what's around us, and enjoy the time we have together. It gave us a lot to talk about afterwards!

There were 4 different types of cars with time trials to start the evening (I think I got the names right): Bumblebee's, Late Class Modified, Thundercarts, and Superstock.
Late Class Modified
Bumblebee's (We laughed because they looked and sounded like little bumblebee's out there.)
Thundercarts (Basically they were amped up go-carts. I wanted to be in one of those! It'd be so much fun! I was surprised how loud they were.)
Checkered Flag Finish.
Now, I'm not a race fanatic. This is the first time I've ever been to one and I'm not entirely convinced that I have the names right, but I learned a lot about it all and can see why racers get really into it. I'd have fun racing and asked Kyle if I could buy a Thundercart and join them. He just laughed, but I'm serious. I want one.

We ended the night with some drama. Two racers were going back and forth and the race was pretty intense. They crossed the finish line and one of the guys purposely bumped the other causing an accident. One guy was carted off in an ambulance and a fight had to be broken up. What a way to end, huh?
I don't know that Kyle and I would go back for just the two of us, unless Kyle bought me a Thundercart, but it was a lovely night with the hubby.
Our next date is to a museum in Cheyenne. We're both kinda nerdy so I see this one being a fav. Until then... . 

Friday, August 23, 2013

First Time Obedience

I was having this discussion with a mom of four marvelous young men,

Me: "I've been thinking a lot about how imperative it is that Brielle responds to my saying, "NO!" immediately. Lately, she wants to chew on electrical cords plugged into the outlet. There's no way I can go around the house and unplug everything from the wall just because Monster Bean wants to eat it. Due to this new desire of hers, I've been thinking about the importance of "NO!" long term. Like, for example, if my two year old daughter is running into the street and there's a car coming, I want her to respond immediately to my "NO!" I don't want to have to count, or bribe, or watch her "test the waters" because I'm not just saying "NO!" out of selfish ambition, I'm saying it for her own safety! So how do I help her understand that? Is this even possible?"

Mom of 4: "YES! It's called First Time Obedience."

I think I might have overwhelmed her with questions. First time obedience? We continued to have a marvelous discussion about discipline, expectations, and such. She has told me on numerous ocassions that there was no such thing as terrible two's or troubled three's in their home because that behavior was not tolerated. (Inwardly, I'm thinking, "Ha! Yeah, right!") However, her logic made so much sense, "If they hear you calling them terrible or troubled, then how could you expect them to act differently?" It definitely makes sense when I see her with her four teenage boys, I always feel this overwhelming desire to know more. Her knowledge level is FAR above mine in the area of parenting. I was expecting this long drawn out, detailed plan that she followed, but her advice about parenting is so, so simple (not easy), simple! I was shocked, "You mean that's it?" She assured me that it was. I was extremely grateful for this experienced mother's advice who's already had the opportunity to learn from her mistakes and know what works and what doesn't. I trust her advice because ALL of her boys are polite, well behaved, smart, independent, young men who are a joy to be around, in other words, whatever she and her hubby did... WORKED.

When I got home I decided to simply "Google" first time obedience and see what comes up. What I found blew me away. It's obviously controversial (what opinion about parenting isn't?!) but this concept isn't a new one (except to me) and there's A LOT out there for a mom like me who's interested in pursuing the topic. Rather than summing them all up, I thought I'd share a few of the websites I liked and let you explore them as you wish:

- She makes some great points here:
- A GREAT source as well is:
- I LOVED this blog and immediately became a follower:
- I'm definitely getting the book that she suggested:

I guess you could call me a FTO mom! Until the other day I didn't know there was such a thing. Do you know how amazing it is to have women who share in Biblical truths when it comes to raising a child? I'm so thankful that I'm not alone and that I don't have to "write or re-write the book."

Now, it's your turn. If you are also a FTO parent, PLEASE, please, please tell me what's worked for you! View this post as a FTO Q&A.

[By the way, you can pretty much expect me to share my experiences as a FTO mom. Perhaps I'll call it "First Time Mom Seeking First Time Obedience" or "This Mom's First Time Obedience Journal/Journey" or "Adventures of a First Time Obedience Mom" or .... well, you get the idea.] 

Weekly Writes (RnR): Self Love

My "want to read" list is a mile long. I doubt I have enough years on this earth to read every book on it. Especially if I read a book at the pace I'm reading Milton Vincents A Gospel Primer. It's not very long (less than 100 pages), but boy is it ever thick! Vincent explains how to make the gospel the central focus of your life and then he goes into detail with 31 reasons why making the gospel his obsession has forever changed his life. I'm only on number 17: Liberation from Self-Love.

I couldn't NOT talk about this one. (Ignore the double negative.)

Americans are taught to love yourself first. I grew up believing in that statement and then I'd look in the mirror and hate the pimples on my face, the blackheads on my nose, the widows peak in my hair line, my crooked pinkies, bubble butt, sprinter thighs, small breasts, and thin, stringy hair. I'd look in Victoria Secret magazines and try to work hard enough to have long skinny legs and a flat tummy. I'd also try every product on the market to get rid of the pimples that keep showing up and try any hoopla "boob" miracle grower. None of it works. So the "self love" turns into "self hate" and leads to mild depression. However, if I bask in the gospel message, I can look in the mirror and see Jesus face to face and know that no one is going to love me better than He does. My body image becomes less of a problem because it is temporary and God's love is steadfast, unchanging, and eternal. My body will age, become wrinkly, gray, sag, and fall apart. God's love will not.

This is not a new perspective on "self love." Milton Vincent put the bug in my ear when I read number 17: "Liberation from Self-Love." I saw the title and thought, liberation, huh? You mean I need to free myself from this self-love crap that the world is feeding me? The way Vincent explains the reason why, blew my socks off.

"Compared to greater endeavors, self-love is mundane and tiresome. Consequently, the more thoroughly I can be done with such tedium, the freer my soul will be to soar at its God-intended heights.

One of the leading causes of my natural tendency to self-love is fear. I fear that if I do not love myself there would be no one left to love me quite so well as I do. An even more significant cause of self-love is a lack of persuasion that there is someone out there who is worthy to be loved more than I. Arrogance lies underneath both of these causes: I love myself supremely because I am the most worthy person I know to be loved and also because I think I can do a better job at it than anyone else. Such arrogance makes me dangerous (2 Timothy 3), yet it is deeply ingrained in my sinful flesh.

Thankfully, the gospel frees me from the shackles of self-love by addressing both of these causes. First, the gospel assures me that the love of God is infinitely superior to any love that I could ever give to myself. "Greater love has no one than this," says Jesus while speaking of His love (John 15:13). And the deeper I go into the gospel, the more I experience the truth of His claim and thereby know how far His love for me surpasses even my own (Romans 8:32). His astonishing love for me renders self-absorption moot and frees me up to move on to causes and interests far greater than myself (2 Corinthians 5).

Second, the gospel reveals to me the breathtaking glory and loveliness of God (2 Corinthians 4:4), and in so doing, it lures my heart away from love of self and leaves me enthralled by Him instead. The more I behold God's glory in the gospel, the more lovely He appears to me. And the more lovely He appears, the more self fades into the background like a former love interest who can no longer compete for my affections.

Preaching the gospel to myself every day reminds me of God's astounding love for me and also of His infinite worthiness to be loved by me above all else. These reminders deliver a one-two punch to my innate self-absorption and leave me increasingly absorbed with Christ (Philippians 3) and with God's ultimate plan to gather together all heavenly and earthly things in Him." (p. 29-31)

Yes, I quoted Vincent's entire section on "Liberation from Self-Love" because I cannot sum it up in a way more beautifully than it's already explained. We live in a society that tends to focus on loving ourself above all else leaving us guilty of arrogance, self-hate, and leaving us feeling unloved.
When in fact, if we as Christians focus on the love that God has given His children, then nothing else matters in this world. Once we abandon ourselves and turn to face Christ, everything else begins to make sense and we can love the life He has given us and rest in the hope of an eternity with Him. Vincent says it perfectly, "... the more lovely He appears, the more self fades into the background like a former love interest who can no longer compete for my affections." (p. 30-31)Nothing but God's love in the face of Jesus Christ matters. Not even our image. Our bodies will eventually turn to dust and be destroyed along with the earth. So why do I spend so much time worrying about it?! It reminds me of a quote from C.S. Lewis,
In order to be liberated from self-love I must stop focusing on my body and focus on my soul instead. That also means that I must revel in the gospel message because it is in that alone that my soul is saved.

Vincent describes self-love as mundane, tiresome, a tedium, arrogance, and dangerous. I think it's because if we focus on loving our self first than we lose sight of the love God has for us. Once we abandon our self, we can give God the glory for saving a wretched soul, living in an imperfect body. By abandoning self-love we can more clearly see God's love. So let go and Let God love you because you can't love you as well as He can love you.

I need that reminder every day, especially when I look in the mirror, which is why I made this... .
... because who should I see when I look in the mirror? Christ alone.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Nebraska Bloggers Connect: Search Keywords on Your Blog

When I saw this week's topic I saw a bunch of question marks pop up in my brain. I didn't get it. So I'm really, super glad that Kelsey gave directions on her blog before writing on this specific topic. I might as well share them with you.

1. Go to Stats on the left hand side of your blogger page
2. Click on Traffic Sources
3. Scroll down to find your Search Keywords
4. This is optional but choose the time period on the right hand side up top, I'm using my all time stats for this post

After following those directions I realized that I've been here before and that the things people search for fascinate me. I have to wonder the story behind each of these searches.

My all time "Search Keywords" are...
... before and after paneled basements
... track and field running a 12.99
... the state we have
... love story bridal shower
... the crown of my husband
... beckyle lowery blog

This month's top "Search Keywords" are (that are different from above)...
... bridal shower love story questions
... sermon on we are small god is big
... 2 year old alexi died (this one made me super sad)
... baby guest book

The only one I was really taken away by was the "2 year old Alexi died" keyword. Ah! All I can think about is my little niece, (I wrote about "What I Learned From My 2 Year Old Niece Alexi Today"). I need to see her and give her hugs and kisses ASAP. That's the one where I was wondering the story behind the search. So I decided to "Google" it myself and this is what I found... (Seriously. The story breaks my heart. I'm wishing I didn't do that. Stupid Keyword!)

Tot's Punishment for Spilled Bathwater: A Fatal Beating

It's the only thing that kept coming up after entering that search. Spilled bathwater? Seriously?! That poor child! I can't imagine how terrifying his last moments were for him. I know I don't have to pray this prayer, but Jesus, smother this little baby with hugs and kisses for me.

My heart aches. Time to grab my little baby and tell her how much I love her.

On a much lighter note, visit other Nebraska Bloggers on the same topic and see their take on the "Search Keywords" on their blog...
... starting with Kelsey at Keeping Up With Kelsey and Suzi at Chores and Chandeliers.