Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

Friday, July 29, 2011

Never Too Early

Anyone who says that raising two children is twice as difficult as raising one is wrong.  It’s a whole lot more than twice as hard!  It’s exponentially more difficult!  The older my two monkeys get, the more “interesting” things are around here.  I’m speaking of social and relational issues – how the two of them interact with each other.  As Lucy becomes more and more independent, the arguing, bickering, fussing, and whining seem to be increasing between the two monkeys.

Poor ol’ Ty.  He can be so human sometimes.  Never does Lucy pick up a toy (or anything for that matter) without Ty trying to beat her to it or snatch it out of her hands.  It could be a square of toilet paper, and if he sees her with it, he’s got to have it.

Like one day this week when the two of them were playing with a deck of cards.  This particular deck had 4 different colored cards – blue, green, orange, and purple.  Ty was playing with the green and blue cards until….Lucy picked up the orange and purple ones.  Then, of course, he had to have the orange and purple cards too.

That’s when I stepped in.  Rather than take all the cards and give them to Lucy (which was what I really felt like doing) I decided to use the situation as an opportunity to talk about Biblical character.  Sometimes rather than just telling Ty that he should or should not do something, I try to help him see it from God’s point of view.  Is he thinking of himself, or is he thinking of others?  Is he choosing to act like Jesus tells us to?

In this particular instance, I was trying to get Ty to tell me how Jesus wants us to treat others, i.e. The Golden Rule.  So, I asked him,

“Are you playing nicely?”

Blank stares all around.

“What’s the right thing to do?”

More blank stares.  Maybe I need to be more direct.

“How does the Bible say we should treat others?”

It was at this point that Lucy, the silent onlooker, turned to me and said,

“Be kind.”

Music to my ears!!!

“That’s right!  That’s right!  What else does the Bible say?”  I knew I was pushing my luck here, but I just had to ask her.

“Work together.”

A miracle!  Really.  I believe that it was nothing more than the Holy Spirit working in that tiny, two-year-old heart, bringing to mind those simple Scriptures.  And if that’s not miraculous, what is??  Wow! It’s never too early to teach your children about Jesus.

I just want to say, “Thanks,” to Car-Car for taking time to work with the tiny tots each Sunday.  The seeds you are planting are already taking root!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mesh Wreath for Mom

I almost forgot to show y’all what I gave my mom for her birthday.  (I have to admit that my mom’s birthday was waaaaay back in February, and I just got around to making and giving this to her last month.  Whoops!)

Anyway, she wanted me to make her one of those mesh wreaths that seem to be so popular around here now.  Of course it had to have lime green in it.  She’s a lover of lime!  The color, not the fruit.

I took a few pictures of the wreath during construction.

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First, I wired on a round of green mesh, gathering and “poofing” (that’s a technical term) as I went around the wreath. 

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Next I added a ring of hot pink mesh just inside the green.

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For the flowers, I started with a couple of stems I picked up at Hobby Lobby.

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After I totally disassembled the stems, I refashioned them into smaller sprigs to stick around the wreath.

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Then I loosely wired some ribbon over the pink mesh.

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I used the leftover flowers and ribbon and made a focal point of sorts for the wreath.  Then I attached this sweet little butterfly on top.

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Ta Da!  Ready for Sandy’s front door.

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I think she really liked it even if it was 4 months late!

Linking to:

Just Something I Whipped Up @ the Girl Creative

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ladybug Party

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For Lucy’s second birthday party I decided to go with a Ladybug theme.  She loves ladybug things…toys, clothes, books…there’s an instant attraction.

It may have been the easy thing to do, but I kept the party small and sweet and simple and stress free!  For supper we had build-your-own sandwiches with assorted chips and dips.  It was a light and easy meal that everyone seemed to enjoy.  Often times we serve such heavy, elaborate meals at parties and everyone leaves feeling stuffed and miserable.  But this was the perfect meal on hot summer afternoon.

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For the centerpiece I recycled a couple of things from previous parties.  The burlap-covered can was from the Angry Birds party, and the flowers were from Lucy’s first birthday, an I Love Lucy party.

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Some ladybug cookies.  Ty loved these.  He probably ate at least five today!  Poor little Lucy tried to get her hands on one of these cookies all day long.  But, being the mean mother that I am, I wouldn’t let her have one of the decorated ones until party time.

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The dining table.

(Still absolutely loving my dining room redo, by the way.)

I kept the decorations simple in here, using just a few squares of polka dot tissue paper for a table runner.  The birthday cake served double duty as dessert and a centerpiece.

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More about the cake.

This turned out to be one of my favorite cakes yet!  It’s a homemade vanilla cake with buttercream icing.  The tiny daisies, number two, and ladybugs I crafted out of fondant.

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I was so pleased with Lucy’s reaction to her cake.  She really loved this ladybug.  Me too!  Isn’t he adorable?  Except for the fact that he’s only got 4 legs – I just noticed that.  Oops!  Sorry, Mr. Ladybug.

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Now, let’s get down to business, shall we?


She had a pile of them.  Mostly from me.  I took the whole birthday thing as an excuse to purchase some supplies for Tot School.  She got lacing beads and boards, stacking cubes, wooden blocks, books, do-a-dot paint, educational games, and several color and shape puzzles.

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Ty was more than willing to help Lucy with all of her gifts.

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Here’s Lucy showing off some of her new duds from Papa and Sandy.

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What a difference a year makes!  Lucy really knows what opening presents is all about now.  She was throwing paper left and right.

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Lucy got several cute outfits for her birthday this year, including a couple of darling dresses made by Grammie.

Lucy immediately noticed the pockets, or “pot-ticks” as she call them, on this little chicken frock.

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Here she is modeling the smocked dress Grammie made.  Lucy likes trying on new clothes.  I think she changed outfits a total of four times tonight!

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It was hard for Lucy to wait for everyone to sing Happy Birthday to her.  She was dying to eat a ladybug.

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She got more than a little help from big brother blowing out her candles.

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Mmm, mmm, good.

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Happy Birthday, Little Lady!

Linking to:

Sundae Scoop @ I Heart Naptime

Just Something I Whipped Up @ the Girl Creative

Friday, July 22, 2011

Seeing Stripes

Just wanted to share my latest cake creation with y’all.  It’s a zebra theme cake for a baby shower.

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I used a combination of buttercream and fondant decorations on this cake.  The whole cake was filled and iced in vanilla buttercream.  I cut the zebra stripes out of chocolate fondant and just laid them into place around the edge of the cake.  I freehand cut the zebra out of white fondant and added some chocolate fondant stripes and details.  I think it turned out so cute!  Ty said it looked just like a “baby zebra.”  Perfect!

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Now I have to finish Lucy’s ladybug birthday cake.  I made a little ladybug topper for the cake this morning, and Lucy loves it!  I can’t wait to finish the whole cake and see her reaction.  I’ll post some pictures soon, so check back.

I’m linking to:

Weekend Wrap-up Party @ Tatertots and Jello

Inspiration Friday @ the Picket Fence

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Happy Birthday, Lucy!

Can you believe it? Little LuLu is two! It’s amazing how fast she is growing and learning and changing.

Here’s her “exactly two” picture from 11:45 Sunday morning. We were on our way home from church. I didn’t have my “real” camera in the car with me, so I had to use the iPhone. Sorry the quality it a little poor.

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She was singing “Happy Birthday” to herself.

It sounded more like, “Hat Tee Burp-Day.”

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Take a look at how much she’s changed these past two years?

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Look at that double chin. I almost forgot how “healthy” she was when she arrived. Although, she was only 6 lbs. 9 oz.

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So, what’s up with Lucy these days?

I took Lucy for her two-year check-up yesterday, and surprise, surprise…she’s on the small side! 25 lbs. and 33 inches tall. Twenty-fifth percentile in both height and weight. Who would have thought that I’d have a petite child. Those Tool Man genes must be mighty powerful. Winking smile The only thing the doctor suggested was that Lucy needs to put on a pound or two. She wants us to cut back on the liquids and work on getting more nutritional solid food in her. So last night I implemented our new little plan. It started out as a battle of the wills, but SuperMom won in the end. Lucy ate her whole plate of carrots, rice, and venison roast. When she did ask for something to drink, she wanted WATER! Not Diet Coke!! And guess what? By the end of the meal she was all smiles. I think we can do this! (But ladies, you know who you are, I’m gonna need your help.)

Her routine:

  • Lucy’s an excellent sleeper. She usually goes to bed sometime between 10 and 11. (Gasp! 11:00? Yeah, we are night owls around here.) But, she sleeps for about 12 hours every night. So that means she’s in the bed til at least 10 o’clock every day. Quiet time for Mom!

  • After all that sleeping, Lucy’s up and at ‘em. She’s a real live wire. I have folks ask me if she’s “like this” all the time. The answer is, “YES!” Climbing, running, jumping, whining, playing, laughing, screaming, squealing. I guess that comes with the territory though.

  • She usually wears herself out by late afternoon and takes a 2 to 3 hour nap about 4 o’clock.

Developmentally speaking…

It’s really neat to watch your children grow. I’m not just talking about height and weight. I mean intellectually. Lucy is rapidly becoming more of a kid and less of a baby. Her language is developing so quickly. She knows hundreds of words now, and over the past couple of months she has started forming longer and longer sentences. The longest one I heard her say last week was 7 words - eight, if you count the contraction. “I don’t want to do that, Mama.” I can actually have a conversation with her now.

Some of Lucy’s funny words:

  • “napik” for napkin

  • “she-so” for Cheerios or all cereal in general

  • “flouties” for flowers

  • “oh-mo” for oatmeal

  • “gate-tee” for alligator

  • “meowk” for milk

  • “doot” for do it

  • “long neck” for giraffes

We are working on her shapes and colors. She’s got heart and star down, she can draw circles, and she’s good at recognizing blue and orange. She enjoys working with those wooden knob puzzles, and she can make a stack of blocks higher than she is tall. I can’t wait to get her started in Tot School. Her little mind is like a dry sponge waiting to soak up some knowledge.

She can follow all kinds of commands and instructions. She helps around the house by unloading the washer, dryer, and dishwasher, throwing away trash, “folding” clothes, putting away toys and dishes, and dusting. She’s definitely got her brother beat in this department.

Lucy is very independent which is a complete 180 from her brother. Maybe that’s part of being a girl. She wants to do everything by or for herself – putting on her shoes, pulling up her pants, cutting up her food, brushing her teeth, opening packages. “I doot, Mama,” she’ll say. I’ve quickly learned to just let her try it out for herself, and if she realizes she can’t do something she’ll say, “Mama doot.”

A few of Lucy’s favorites:

  • Song – Kumba Ya (How do you spell that, anyway?), Deep and Wide, He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands. All with motions too! She loves to sing into pretend microphones. Car Car is a wonderful music teacher. Mom? Not so much.

  • Candy – Smarties, Chocolate (just like Mama!)

  • Food – Hot Dogs (without the bun), Eggos, Popsicles, & Chicken Nuggets. You know, the four basic food groups…

  • Toy – Dolls. Last week while she was rocking her doll she kept telling us, “I like babies.” We can’t pass a baby in the grocery store without Lucy going nuts and insisting we go take a look.

  • Games and Activities – Hide & Seek, Puzzles, Play-Doh, reading books, swinging, and riding the buggy (our golf cart)

So now we are officially in the Terrible Two stage. Surprised smile

Pray for us!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fish “Tales”

I think I mentioned to y’all a while back that Ty has been bitten by the Fishing Bug. The Tool Man has been working with Ty, teaching him a little about bass fishing. Ty absolutely loves it. We are so blessed to live right on the water, so Ty can run down to the “creek” and cast a line whenever the notion strikes him.

Like on Father’s Day evening... He convinced his Daddy to go with him down to the water after supper for a couple of casts. Next thing we knew, he was standing in the middle of our living room with a big, smelly fish!

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Now, this is how you know we are nothing but a bunch of rednecks. No one seemed too appalled by the fact that Ty brought a real, live, slimy fish inside and was parading it around the house. Heck! We all got our cameras out to take pictures!

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He said the fish’s teeth were hurting his fingers here. That’s why his face is all screwed up like that.

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Even Lucy had to get in on the action. She wanted to touch it, but she just couldn’t bring herself to do it.

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I think this was probably the best Father’s Day present the Tool Man received this year.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


With all of the excessive, oppressive heat we’ve been experiencing lately, I thought I’d share a few pictures to remind y’all of cooler times.

Remember the ice we had this past January?  It didn’t stick around long, and thankfully it didn’t do much damage, but it did make the trees look like they were made of crystal. 

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The ice pretty while it lasted, but I’m glad it’s gone.  I’ve had an aversion to ice since the time it knocked out our power and water and caused my family to spend Christmas Eve night in our local Days Inn motel.  Not exactly the place where you want to wake up on Christmas morning.

I must say that if given the choice between hot and cold weather, I’d choose……….


Sounds crazy on day like today, but I definitely prefer summer to winter.  Maybe it has something to do with the longer, brighter days.  I do so dread the short, gloomy, gray days of winter.

What about you?  What would you choose?

Friday, July 8, 2011

To Whom It May Concern

As the monkeys’ birthdays approach each year, I am flooded with questions about what they would like for their birthday. So this year I thought I would make it easy for you grandparents (let’s face it, that’s who I’m talking about here) and give you a few ideas to go on.

You probably read my last post about school, and I’ve run across some things that Lucy could definitely use at Tot School. But don’t worry. They’re all toys. (I’m not that mean!) Nothing too fancy, though. No bells or whistles or batteries required. Just simple toys that will encourage concentration and stretch her mind to learn new things.

ABC Bible Verses

This book has a verse to go along with every letter of the alphabet.

Counting Bears

Counting Bears to help with sorting, counting, colors, patterning, etc.

Lacing Beads-Melissa and Doug

Lacing Beads by Melissa & Doug. Actually there are lots of different sets of beads out there that would be appropriate for Lucy to use.

Lady Bug Letters Puzzle

How cute is this?! Ladybug Letters! Perfect for a Ladybug Party. I might just get this one for her myself!

Play Doh Soft Pack

Good ol’ reliable Play-Doh. Lucy absolutely loves this stuff. She plays and plays with it until it dries up and crumbles, so currently we are all out. She loves making balls and pancakes and snakes. Play-doh is my go-to toy when I need some quiet play time from her.

Do-A-Dot Paint

Do-A-Dot paint. An alternative to painting that Lucy could easily use.

I do hope that this post doesn’t seem too rude. Of course, like any respectable, southern belle I was taught that it’s not polite to ask for presents. But I figure in this case I’m OK since it’s not really for me.

Anyway, I hope this gives you some ideas to go on.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Getting Ready

As bad as I hate to admit it, we are already half way through our summer break from school.  As a “teacher” I must say that I enjoy my summer vacation just as much as my pupil enjoys his.

That being said, I’ve recently begun preparing for our next school year.  Ty will be in the second grade this year!  Can you believe it?  His text books should arrive in a couple of weeks.  We are using the aBeka curriculum again this year.  I really like their material.  It’s very thorough and well laid out.  Just the kind of structure that I need.  I don’t have a lot of extra time on my hands for making lesson plans.

I've also made another decision regarding Arrow Academy this year.  (That’s the name of our school, in case you didn’t know.)  We’ll be enrolling one more student.  Yep, that’s right.  Lucy will be joining us this year! 

What?  She’s only two!

Yes, I know, but you’re never too young to learn, right?

Besides, it won’t be school school.  More like “play with a purpose.”

Actually it’s called Tot School.  This wonderful, Christian, homeschooling mom developed the idea with her little ones, and has graciously shared her ideas and experiences on her own blog and websites.  You can read all about it here.  Her sites are full of information and inspiration.  I’ve spent hours browsing through all of her wonderful ideas, and I can’t wait to begin working with Lucy.

In fact, I’ve already started.  Here’s an activity I did with her yesterday.  I gathered some pom-poms, some small containers, and a pair of tongs and let her get to “work.”  After I modeled the activity for her, she had a great time pinching the pom-poms and moving them from bowl to bowl.

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“Gone, gone.”

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“I cooking, Mama.”

So, what’s the point of this activity?  Well, we were able to work on several skills including, but not limited to: counting, sorting, color recognition, and fine-motor.  And just for kicks, let’s throw in a virtue:  Patience.  It’s not as easy as it looks, but she kept trying until she got it!

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Lucy really enjoyed the activity.  I even caught her back at the table later that day working playing again.

After reading up on Tot School I realized that there are sooooo many things around the house that can be used for learning.  And I’m not talking about toys either.  (But goodness knows we have plenty of those around here.)  I’m talking about things like spoons, dry spaghetti, bowls, bottle caps, empty boxes, clothespins, and ice cube trays.  So yesterday, I spent most of the morning rummaging through cabinets and drawers, making a list of things we could use for Tot School.

I found a lot of supplies around the house, but today I added a few new things to our collection. And since Arrow Academy runs on a tight budget, I paid no more than $1 for each of these items!!!!

From Target:

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Two packs of flashcards: jobs & animals, 2 ink pads, and dry erase crayons. (I lied.  The crayons cost more than $1.)

From the Dollar Tree:

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A mini ring toss game, linkable shapes, and divided plates.

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Clips, a puzzle about colors, and first-words flashcards.

I also got the green and blue trays at the Dollar Tree.  Actually I got 4 trays.  Remember Tot School?  Well, each week you are supposed set out a few activities on “Tot Trays” for your little tot to work with.  It is recommended that you put the trays out where the tot can see them and pick which activity she wants.  This is a very important “rule” concerning Tot School.  Let the tot lead.  Otherwise you’ll just be wasting your time and energy, and both the tot and the mom will be frustrated.

Back to shopping………While I was out, I couldn’t resist getting a few things for Ty too.

From Target:

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An animal activity book, and a 50 states book.

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An inside look at the animal book.

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Two dry-erase learning mats:  Money and Addition

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Three bingo games:  Math, Alphabet, and Time

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A closer look at Alphabet Bingo.  I hope to play these in the evening when the Tool Man comes home.

From the Dollar Tree:

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A table-top trash can (I’m planning on using this for games, not garbage), plastic storage boxes, and a new book.

Why all the plastic boxes?  There’s something new I want to try with Ty this year – Workboxes.

I got the idea from the same Tot School mom who got the idea here.   Basically you put all of the child’s work for each day in boxes.  Every activity or subject gets its own box.  When he’s finished with the work in one box he can move on to the next.  This way he can easily see what he has to do each day and exactly how much work he has left.  I think the workboxes help keep the teacher a bit more organized as well Smile.  I need to read some more about all this, but I’ll keep you posted on how this system works for us.

I hope I haven’t bored or depressed y’all with all of this talk about school.  I know it’s still summer, but August is sneaking up on us, and I just gotta start getting ready!