Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A march through time

Yesterday I went with Bethany's class on a field trip to a place where they reenact the settlement days of the mid-1800s. There were probably a few dozen little structures inhabited by characters from the past who explained their way of life to the visitors while doing demonstrations and hands-on activities. We got to visit nine of them. They were thoroughly engaging!

We went to see the officers of the Scottish Highland Regiment. After his friend the major had taught the kids how to march properly (kind of), the colonel here showed them what a lock, stock, and barrel were, and then how to use their weapons. You could hear his shots going off throughout the day. I think he was having a little too much fun.

This is Ole Olesen. He just got off the boat from Norway, and told us about why he chose to leave Norway, and how the family selected what items they put into their one trunk. The husband got to pack first because otherwise his wife wouldn't leave room to pack the tools. He held the kids spellbound, and kept the grownups laughing.

This cook from the trading post, along the blacksmith and others, helped transport us back to the time when life was consumed with the basics, and chided us for our laziness lack of self-sufficiency.

We could all use a step back in time, now and then.
I hope the kids had as much fun as I did!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Foundation Sunday

Today was a long awaited day at our church. We have been in the construction process for almost a year now--and the planning process for about six years before that. We are finally nearing completion. Yea! It has not come without some blood, sweat and tears, but today was a day to celebrate. We all chose scripture verses to write on our concrete foundation, symbolic of the foundation of truth on which to build our future. It was amazing to see people of all ages on their knees, pouring their hearts into what they were writing, and in essence inviting the Lord's presence to take up residence in our new sanctuary. They were ready!

As we were preparing ourselves, we looked up a bunch of scriptures pertaining to things like building, future, foundation, etc. By the time we were finished, the kids had a very tough time narrowing it down. "There are so many good ones!" Amen! They each chose two.

Notice that Ben had to write a little commentary at the top of each of his to show how they pertained to our building project.

Bethany started remembering verses she had learned in AWANA and VBS, so she had to tack on one of those.

Really, could there be a more thrilling thing for a mom to watch? Not this mom.
My verse:

I like the thought that we are BEING BUILT rather than DOING the building. It's God's job!

Lee's verse:

This verse was my favorite new discovery:

Just another reason why I love my church family!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mom's Weekly Warm-Up

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4: 6-7

So on Friday I told you about our "Weekly Wrap-Up" with our kids. On Monday mornings, I like to start the week with a "Weekly Warm-Up" of my own. I get together with some other moms who have kids in our school, and we pray. We are a part of an organization known as Moms In Touch. (Check out this video to see why we do what we do.)

We pray for our kids, and the staff, other students, and our community. It is amazing how God answers prayer, as we take the concerns of our hearts to the one who loves us AND has the ability to DO something about them.

If you are a mom with kids in school, I highly recommend that you go to the Moms In Touch website right now and see if there is a group that meets to pray for your school. That's what I did. These women, their prayers for my family, and their support as we walk the parenting journey together, are an absolute mainstay in my week.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Weekly Wrap-up

I have a confession to make. I'm not always that good about stopping my kids when they come in from the bus to shake them down for information about their school day. They have agendas, after all, and who am I to compete with that every day? (And sometimes I even have agendas of my own. Shocking, I know.) Of course, I check their backpacks and they do their homework and all that stuff, but I know there has to be some time to hear about their school experience from the perspective of what THEY think is important. And so was born "The Weekly Wrap-Up".

Every Friday when the kids come home, I provide a special treat (usually store-bought like this one Bethany and I found for 50 cents at the Target bakery), and invite them to the table. In exchange for the treat, they have to bring their backpacks to the table (lots of good stuff comes home on Fridays!) and tell three things about their week. That's it. Then of course we follow up with questions. What usually happens is that they end up interrupting each other to add stuff.

We are very blessed that Lee usually works from home, and can take a few minutes to come and be a part of this good time of sharing. If he didn't, we would probably want to make it work at a time when he could be included. And let's just be real here. Sometimes life happens and we don't get to the weekly wrap-up. We just go with the flow and do a Weekly Warm-up the following Monday. We're flexible like that.

So today as Ben was on his way out the door...

Ben: When I get home I will either want to play Wii or look at my Pokemon cards. (See what I mean about the agenda?)
Me: Well just remember there will be a Weekly Wrap-up first.
Ben: Yes! A treat!
Me (to myself): Yes! And I get to find out what's going on at school! :-)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ode to September

September, how I love thee.

You are brand new, unexplored, perfectly whole.

You are a blank piece of paper, awaiting a tale yet unimagined.

You are a pattern to discover, a challenge to face, an equation to solve.

You are a time to reflect, regroup, redefine.

Oh September, you got here just in time!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

There's a 'tween in our house!

Holy preadolescence, Batman! We've reached double digits. Where has the time gone?

Well, he still has a bit of a baby face, I'm happy to say. And you know what else? He still likes to snuggle with his mom. Gotta love this kid.

He and his friends have been playing baseball in our backyard 24/7. No invitations needed, the party is always here.

Happy Birthday, Ben!!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Shutterfly. Just do it.

It's time for a little commercial for a favorite product of mine. You probably knew about it long before I did, but just in case...

I now present to you my very favorite way to get my photos in print: (drumroll, and dah dah-dah dahhhhh!)

There are a gazillion photo book services out there. I have used four of them. Let me tell you what is so great about Shutterfly. (And no, they're not paying me to tell you this, but they should.)

1. The product is beautiful. Great color, crisp pictures, and LOTS of backgrounds and layouts to choose from. WAY more than the others I've tried. And as a recovering scrapbook store addict, I can tell you that having lots of free backgrounds to choose is just heavenly. :-)

2. The user interface is far superior to all of the others. Combined. Not that you don't have quite a few things to figure out, but if you are willing to click around (which you probably are if you're on blogger), you can do this!

3. Great deals all the time. Their regular prices are very reasonable, but these people come up with one special after another. If one offer is over, wait a few days to order, and there will be another. Compared to what I used to spend to buy film, print pictures, and put them in scrapbooks, I am saving a ton of money.

4. They are fast. They have an average of one day turnaround in my experience, before the book is on its way. Of course, they say to allow 3-4 days. The last two I did arrived within a week.

Not all services are created equal. I had a nightmare experience with a company this summer that was having a half price sale, which was a great deal. I didn't need a lot of flexibility with background choices, so what they offered was fine. What I didn't realize was that they were WAYYY understaffed for the surge in orders accompanying the bargain, and it took over a month. Most unfortunate, since it was meant to be used for a special event that came and went while they tried to dig out from under their pile. But enough about that.

Here's our vacation book. The pictures I wanted on the cover were a little busy, so I chose a solid background and a fun spine pattern.

Remember that guy on the end of the pier at sunset? Yeah, he only made the blog. Not my sunset collage.

There are layouts for any number of pictures, and in most cases the option to add text.

But the best thing about Shutterfly photo books?

My family adores them, and they make wonderful gifts!

If you just need to have a blank page and lay out all of the elements yourself scrapbook style, my recommendation is scrapblog.com. It's awesome--but takes longer, a bit more expensive, especially on shipping, and is a little more cumbersome. But very, very fun!

Now it's time to go work on my latest project. How about you? Do you have a favorite photo book service? Do your pictures make it out of the computer?