Friday, September 30, 2011

Book Review: As Silver Refined

As Silver Refined by Kay Arthur is truly inspirational.  I love the imagery of the refiner of metals right from the beginning.  The one who takes his lump of ore and creates "choice" silver.  We are the silver and God is our Refiner.

Arthur addresses that when you live for God, warfare is inevitable.  You mind is the battlefield and in order to combat the strategies of the enemy you must understand the principles of warfare and be able to fight.  The major strategies that are used by the enemy against us are distraction, deception and what Arthur refers to as the 5 other Deadly D's: disappointment, discouragement, dejection, despair and demoralization.  One can go on a downward spiral to the lowest point beginning with disappointment.  However, all is not lost!  Handling disappointment both according to scripture and quickly in the battleground of your mind before you slip into the Deadly D's is imperative.  Your first response should be of obedience.  You must believe God over your feelings, thoughts and circumstances.  Every disappointment becomes a trial of your faith.  Arthur shows us how to see our disappointments as His appointments.

I love that Arthur includes many stories and testimonies that are practical examples of how to walk out hard situations.  Some examples come straight from the Bible and some come from ordinary people today.  This book is a great tool for learning victory over discouragement and I would highly recommend it.  It challenges the way you view life and respond to every day situations. 

Included in the back of the book is a 13-week companion Bible study.  I personally did not go through this study but it looks really good.  It looks like a study that would work both individually or in a group setting.

Want a sneak peek of this book?  Click here to read an excerpt of As Silver Refined.

Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My First Busy Bag Swap

I am participating in my first busy bag swap (thanks Sarah).  Yeah!!  There are only a few of us but I am still excited.  I made the cupcake busy bags, the link can be found here - thanks MoneySavingMom!  I have been having contractions pretty much every night for the last week so I was able to knock these bags out pretty quickly :)

 I might have went a little overboard with how many I included but I wanted lots of options.  You can see the cupcakes, frostings and liners here.

And of course the toppings!

 The finished bags - and they are in the mail :)  Hope you ladies like them!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Adventures with Flat Stanley


Are you familiar with the books, Flat Stanley?  My kids definitely are and right now we are hosting a visiting Flat Stanley from Ohio.  We are taking part in a Flat Stanley project where we get to host our very own Stanley.  So for the next month Stanley will be touring a little of Austin with us, I love this idea!

Here is Stanley (in A's hand) with us going out to eat at the Iguana Grill.

My burrito was huge, about the size of Stanley.

Stanley sat outside with us and enjoyed the live music.  Although it got dark pretty quick.  Here he is in front of the lake, the lake is depressingly low from the drought.

 And a typical, Stanley was here picture.
Stay tuned for more Adventures with Flat Stanley posts.

Monday, September 26, 2011

T-shirt Necklaces & Lassos

The kiddos and I decided to make t-shirt necklaces, a friend told me about it at my bookclub.  I had an old purple shirt and we talked about ways we could recycle it and then we went to work! 

The materials - seriously, this is all you need!

The hardest part - cut the bottom of the shirt off.

After the hem is off, start cutting your strips.  And as you will see, they do not have to be perfect.

A finished strip.

Now, stretch, stretch & stretch some more.  The strip will loop up on itself.

B stretching hers.

 You can wear them as long necklaces or layer them.  D has hers layered above.  The possibilities and colors are endless.  And the whole project took less than 10 minutes.

 A in her finished necklace!

C made his into a lasso, which he used all day long to rope chairs and other various objects around our house, pretty cool C!

Even Daddy had some fun teaching A how to make things using her new craft.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Our craft today: making an I Spy Bottle

Today the kids and I enjoyed making an I Spy Bottle with things laying around the house.  This morning we cleaned out a bottle and put it outside to dry and then spent the day gathering odds and ends as we cleaned the house to put in our bottle at the end of the day.

 A and B arranging the items on the clue card.

Our clue card.  I plan to get a 4x6 of this printed out and place it with the bottle.

Let the mixing begin.  We filled the bottle about 2/3 full of rice and added the chosen items.  The potty in the photo is not part of this project.  It is part of D's new toy, which I will post more about another time.

C having a go at filling the bottle.

 Our finished product!

 A little dress up fun was also had during the day!

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Just wanted to remind you that my JustEVEDesigns giveaway ends tonight at midnight.  You still have time to enter.  Remember, you won't be disappointed if you win but you might be if you don't enter!

 Maybe D will inspire you to go enter!
Who doesn't love jewelry?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

All Your Baby E Predictions in One Post

Okay, as I am finishing preparing for the arrival of Baby E, I thought I would start a poll.  Any thoughts on when this little one is going to make their grand entrance?  Because it would be really helpful in knowing :)  Do you think boy or girl?  How big?  And of course, a place for you to give all your E name suggestions - suprisingly we have gotten quite a few.  Those who know us, know that we go to the hospital not knowing the gender and no names in mind.  This really drives some people crazy (mostly my family) but it works for us!  So, to help you out, here is a run down of my history.

A:  Due date February 26, 2004.  Arrived January 22, 2004.  5 weeks early weighing 5 lbs and 9 oz, and a girl!

Baby A

B:  Due date January 1, 2006.  Arrived December 8, 2005.  3.5 weeks early weighing 6 lbs and 9 oz, and a girl!

Baby B

C:  Due date June 1, 2007.  Arrived May 22, 2007.  1.5 weeks early (after 6 weeks of bedrest) weighing 7 lbs and 13 oz, and a boy!

Baby C

D:  Due date December 6, 2009.  Arrived December 3, 2009.  3 days early weighing 8 lbs 2 oz, and a girl!

Baby D

E:  Due date October 8, 2011.  The rest to be determined :)

So, let the guessing begin...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The School Grind & Horizon Survival Kit Giveaway

*** Giveaway now closed ***
 Congratulations to petchk79!

Well, we are still in the thick of school.  Although, we have taken a bit more time off than I originally planned for the baby but we are getting back into the swing of things.

Horizon has recently launched a few new back to school tools that you might just want to take advantage of.  These tools include

  • A “Top 10 Best Back to School Foods List,” developed by Horizon in partnership with Dr. Alan Greene M.C., F.A.A.P., a noted pediatrician, author and nationally-recognized expert in organic nutrition. The list includes recommendations of foods for healthy breakfasts, lunches and snacks for back to school.
  • A “Healthy Families Back to School” online community where parents can connect on topics ranging from money-saving back-to-school tips to ideas for fun ways to get kids ready to head back to the classroom.
  • A “Horizon’s Toolbox for Mom” Facebook application on Horizon’s Facebook page, complete with news, offers and advice to support parents as the school year begins.
Seriously, if you get a chance, check these out.  It is a resource of great information.

Horizon sent me a Mom Survival Kit (pictured below) in preparation for the school year!  The kit included bubble bath, chocolates, a candle and aromatherapy lotion.  Talk about a luxury break :)

Up for grabs - survival kit

Now, onto the giveaway!  Would you like to win your own survival kit??  Horizon has graciously agreed to give one away on my blog as well.

Mandatory Entry:  Follow me on google friend, that's it!  Please be sure and leave your email so I can contact you if you win!

Extra Entries, leave a separate comment for each extra entry.

 1. Check out one or all of the tools mentioned above and let me know something you learned or what tool is most helpful to you (1 entry)
 2. Tell me if you have ever tried Horizon Organic products before (1 entry)
 3. Click here to follow Horizon on facebook (1 entry)
 4. Rank any of my book reviews: God Gave Us YouThe Canary List, Life, In Spite of Me, Secure Daughters Confident Sons, Lioness Arising, and God Gave Us So Much (1 entry for each ranking - up to 6 extra entries)
 5. Enter my JustEVEDesigns giveaway (1 entry - closes September 15)

Giveaway will end on October 1st at Midnight. Winner will be selected using a random number generator and will have 48 hours to respond. If there is no response, I will randomly select another winner.  Open to US residents only.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Happy 14th Molly Kitty

Yesterday was our cats 14th birthday! We don't know her actual birthday since I got her from a shelter but this is the day that she is celebrated. A and B loved making cards for her and all the kids came up with some fun songs to sing to her. I know it may seem silly but we love birthdays around here :)

B's card to Molly

A's card to Molly

Molly enjoying her tuna "cake"

The kids insisted we have candles - we didn't light them though.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Book Review: God Gave Us You

God Gave Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren and illustrated by Laura J. Bryant is adorable.  In this board book, Little Cub is interacting with her mama right before bedtime.  She asks her Mom where she came from and her Mom replies, "From God."  Little Cub is told the story of prior to her existence, the joy experienced when her parents found out about her, and the story of her Mom's pregnancy.  She is told that she is special and loved and experiences this.  I think it is a really cute story.

I would also like to add that the book goes on at length trying to explain the medical process for prenatal care leading to a hospital birth.  Not everyone chooses the hospital experience and this book does not really explore alternative options such as homebirth.  Had Bergren trimmed the details about one style of birth experience, it would be more relatable to families who choose alternative birthing plans, slightly easier for the little ones to take in, and have a stronger focus on the core message - that God gives children to parents.

As with other Little Cub books, I think the artwork is great!  My children are 7, 5, 4 and 1 and I believe they all enjoyed it.  I personally have had 4 hospital births so it was easy to relate this to my own children.  I love that it is a board book because my one-year old is a lot easier on board books.  In short, cute story and I would recommend this book, especially if you have had a hospital birth.

Want a sneak peek of this book?  Click here to read an excerpt of God Gave Us You.

Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Thankful Heart & Family Fun

Fires are popping up all around us and Central Texas right now.  A few weeks ago I was saddened to look at our front yard and see absolutely no grass.  I was also thinking about how our pecan tree didn't produce any pecans because of the drought; whereas in years past we couldn't keep up with them.  Now, again, I am just so thankful for all the things we do have - our family, our home, our clothes, a yard to play in (grass or no grass).  The last news report I heard said that the fire in Bastrop (not too far from us) was 0% contained and over 34,000 acres have burned.  Some friends of ours from church lost their gorgeous home and most likely everything in it.  Please pray for fire containment all around Texas, for those that have lost everything or been displaced, for the brave firefighters & for some much, much needed RAIN!

We celebrated D's 21 month birthday on the 3rd!  We love brownies :)

Over the weekend we were able to do some much needed cleaning, sorting, arranging as we continue to prepare for Baby E.  We were also able to go outside and enjoy playing as a family (although, I mostly sat in the chair and enjoyed everyone else running around).  The kids rode their bikes, scooter, skates, etc.  And then David and Jack, a neighborhood friend of my children, found some ramps that had been disposed of and you know the phrase: one man's trash is another man's treasure.  Thus, began the obstacle course and daring experiments - it was so fun to watch the kids try all kinds of things.  I think it is super fun when you are able to watch someone do something they have never done before.  Enjoy the pictures!

 C using the ramp as a launcher.

 B probably gets a 10 for the highest jumps.

Catching air...

A went on the ramp on her skates (with a little help from Daddy).  I couldn't believe how awesome she did!  B also skated across but I didn't really get a great photo of that one.

D didn't miss a thing.  She jumped on the skateboard and was ready for her turn.