Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Women in the Word Wednesday: Friendship: August 31, 2011

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24

When my husband and I got married, we did premarital counseling at church.  The pastor quickly exposed the fact that my extrovert husband gains energy and joy from social gatherings.  I, on the other hand, am an introvert, and I reenergize and refuel from alone time.  Not only did I have to recognize this in marriage, but I have realized I had taken this fact too far in friendships.

I grew up taking friendships for granted and really not understanding the benefit of the ladies God placed in my life.  I wasn't saved, and I used friendships for my benefit.  If it took too much work, I wasn't interested in maintaining the relationship.  To be honest, I was popular in worldly terms in high school and college, but I kept people at arm's length.  I liked to have many friends on a surface level, especially as I grew older and got busier.  I always protected that alone time that I craved and idolized.

When I became a Christian at 21, I started to realize my sinfulness in friendships.  I was selfish and me oriented.  I didn't invest in others as I should and was alone too much.  It was and continues to be a growing process, but I have realized, especially as a stay at home mom, the need for Christian women to invest in the lives of some good, close, godly friends.

I have made huge gains in this area these past couple of years.  It took a friend calling me up last year and point blank telling me that I was a little intimidating to approach, but that she really wanted to be a friend with me on a deeper level.  I had been told multiple times I seemed aloof, intimidating, or even "snobby", and though I liked to think people had misinterpreted my natural tendency to be an introvert, I knew that wasn't entirely the reason.  I resolved to correct my sinful attitude regarding my friendships and to invest in some close, godly women.  When there was a season that they needed more of me than I was getting in return, that would be okay.  When they needed to chat at an inconvenient hour once in awhile, that would be okay.  I would be mindful of how I could invest in and minister to them as sisters in Christ and friends. 

The result has been a richer, deeper relationship than I thought I could have with other ladies.  The joy I feel at seeing these ladies, praying for them, sharing struggles with them and being accountable to them is amazing.  Recently, I told some friends of my desire to have a core group of Christian women to know better and to meet with regularly.  Every single woman responded with relief that I said it first and that she wanted the same thing.  So many Christian ladies are lonely and worn out, needing encouragement and friends.

We live in a society that teaches us to be strong, to compete with other women, and to act like we have it all together (if you let your guard down, you'll be hurt).  How refreshing to know that God wants us to give of ourselves and love other women with Christ's love.  He wants us to be real, confess our sin to one another and to have godly examples who will admonish and encourage us.  Yes, there will be times when they disappoint me, hurt my feelings or sin against me; but I know I will sadly do this too.  A deep, godly friendship will repent, reconcile and move forward in forgiveness--becoming stronger as we grow in the likeness of Christ together.

I know not every woman struggles with this.  Some people need to actually spend LESS time investing in friendships and more time prioritizing God, husband and kids.  If you are like me, though, I urge you to step out of your selfish comfort zone and identify some women whom you would like to know better.  Get on the phone, schedule some talks with them and start investing in them.  God will bless you as you consider others better than yourself!

Ask yourself: 
Do you make time to invest in friendship with other godly women?
Do you have friends with whom you are real but who spur you on in godliness?
Do you have women in your life who you are discipling and women in your life who mentor you?
Do you pray for friends--real, invested prayers (the kind where you rejoice when they do and mourn with them in grief)?

Table Talk from In Between Laundry

My friend Erin is the creative genius over at In Between Laundry.  She has such great ideas, recipes and crafts!

Like me, she has an English major background, so it was great to hear she is using her skills as a creative mom and skilled writer to publish her first e-book!

Erin has just published Table Talk.  It is available on her blog for only five dollars.  It has 52 creative dinner table conversations to have as a family.  The discussions foster manners, language development, creative problem solving, math, and even serving others.

Click on this link and go check out all the details.  Ordering is easy, and we plan to have a GREAT year of family discussion at our dinner table!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Favorites: August 26, 2011

After all our brown boot talk last week, I went out an got a cute pair from Cathy Jean for 60 dollars.  They are having 25 and 50% off sales right now at Cathy Jean, so the boots are a really great price!  Did anyone else find any brown boot deals?

This week, I found really fun ideas--as always.  I am so thankful for computers and blogs. I just feed my creativity through everyone else's amazing ideas--I could never come up with this on my own!

Brown Paper Packages came up with a cute first day of school teacher gift.  I think every teacher deserves a little chocolate on the first day of school--after weeks of meetings, setting up their classroom and prepping for the year.  This is an easy and delicious idea.

Oops!  I Craft my Pants (I don't come up with the names, people) made another cheap and creative teacher gift.  Find a pretty and nicely scented lotion and attach this tag to it! 

Kid's With a Vision (KWAV's) shared a blessing bag idea.  It is a great idea to make some of these with your kids, especially now that fall is coming up and a lot of us make "thankful" leaves or trees with our families.  Basically, these bags are necessity kits that you can keep in your car to give to needy or homeless.

Epsom salt looks like glitter snow.  It is a great decorating tool for the holidays.  The Inspired Room shared how she uses candles and epsom salt to make snowy and expensive-looking holiday candles.  Beautiful!

School is starting for many older siblings, but what educational centers and games can we play with those still at home?  Growing in Pre-K has some creative and fun math center ideas.  Many of these activities can be done independently and then you can check in to check accuracy when it is warranted. 

Helping Little Hands gives us a fun AND educational game for those really little ones, especially those boys!  Create a color practice "parking lot" on fabric.  My boys love anything with cars, and this activity can be adapted and scaffolded to include math, graphing, patterns, etc.  Be creative with it!

For fall fashion, let's look at cuffs/bracelets/bangles.  These are fun jewelry pieces, and they flatter almost any arm.  Do you have a cuff /chunky bracelet/set of bangles for fall yet?
by Kimberly McDonald

Pretty cuffs


kanza wooden bracelet

Mixit® Set of Assorted Bangles

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

An Optimistic Faith

Romans 8:28 doesn't mean life will be perfect or easy.  The "good" it talks about is God's glory and our holiness, and sometimes that can happen through some painful experiences.  Christians know God is sovereign and loving, and even when life hurts, our faith keeps us hopeful and trusting.

My pastor wrote a great blog about this last spring.  Enjoy the encouragement:

"Faith in Christ as we walk through this life can easily be mistaken for optimism. Don’t misunderstand, faith is not some worldly pie-in-the-sky glee. It is instead, a thoughtful confidence that our God is in charge of everything in our lives and his sovereign purpose for us will prevail. The words of Romans 8:28 (“God works all things together for good”) are not a license to live recklessly, but a reminder that the twists in the road “for those who love him” are adjustments that God has ordained to take us where he intends. We can be confident that God not only “called us according to his purpose” but he is actively using a variety of means to accomplish it. Where does that leave us? Looking pretty optimistic! We love him, he directs our lives and we entrust the outcome to him. So shun the temptation to fret or complain, and keep trusting our King!"
- Pastor Mike Fabarez  (March 15, 2011)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Repurposed Project: Car Trash Can


Better Homes and Gardens blogged about using a plastic cereal container and turning it into a trashcan, and I saw the finished idea pinned on Pinterest. 
               Car Trash Can

A few days later, I was about to throw away a giant, dishwasher gel pack container that was empty when I realized IT was the perfect size to do the same project. 

(container with Mod Podge on it, ready to apply fabric)

Because the container was clear, and I didn't want an ugly trashbag showing in my car, I used some cute fabric scraps to Mod Podge onto my container. 

That was it!  SO easy.  I want to put down some velcro on the bottom of my container to keep the container stable and still in the car, but I am excited to finally have a place to put wipes, napkins, straw wrappers, gum, etc. 
(Applying the fabric)

All done!

My little trash generator likes it too!  Let's take it to the car!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Favorites: August 19, 2011

We are gearing up for school starting in a couple of weeks.  This week, I tried to give you a few "first day of school" ideas.  Enjoy a little creative fun as you think about the new routines just around the corner.

Poppies at Play came up with the cutest idea--Ding Dong Ditching your friends.  This one doesn't just involve a doorbell and running away.  Rather, you can't do so unless you leave this cute printable on a package of chocolate yummies!
Ding Dong Ditching {activity for kids}

Besides new clothes and backpacks, it is fun to do something special for your student on the first day of school.  Here are a few creative ideas.
Rook No. 17 made a cute lunch treat using Smarties candies.

Funky Lunch is a blog devoted to those creative, fun lunches.  This Mater design would make my 5 year old's day!  She gives a tutorial on how to create this fun sandwich!
Tow Mater from Cars

OhDeeDoh also loves Funky Lunches.  She shares a few of their cute sandwich creations on her post too!  Here is a fun caterpillar creation.

There's a 1st for everything also made a cute lunch treat using goldfish crackers.  You'll get an F in spelling, but I think it is an A plus for fun.

Eighteen25 used one of the back to school supplies as a cute encouragement card for the student's first day.

If you are ending summer with a pool party for the kids, here are some cute ideas.  Party Frosting was hosting a nautical shower, but these napkin ties are PERFECT for an end of summer pool party.

Cupcake takes the Cake shared a really EASY cupcake decorating idea.  This could also tie into a pool party theme.

Martha Stewart gave us a centerpiece or dessert idea for a fishy swim party.  This one is edible and oh, so cute!

Finally, brown boots are everywhere for fall.  If you have to buy ONE color, buy brown.  Wear them with a short skirt and tights, leggings or skinny jeans.  A taller boot than usual and a wedge heel are two trend spots for the season.  Here are some fashion ideas off Pinterest.  You can find all these pictures on my Pinterest account under "Fashion" or "Casual Momma Clothes."  If you click on the picture on Pinterest, it will tell you where to find the outfit and take you to the website.  If you are on pinterest, you can follow my boards and find me at

i want long hair. and this whole outfit!
way cute
fall style
so cute:)
I wish it was Autumn already!! :(
Love it!!
Casual and still cute--chic mom

So, share with the other readers where you find cute boots at a good price.  The 6th outfit down has 66 dollar boots from H&M.
St. John's Bay® 'Andie' Leather Knee-High Boot
These boots above are from JC Penney for 99 dollars from St. John's Bay.
Olsenboye 'Indigo' Boot
These lighter brown boots are 49.99 at JC Penney.
Decree® 'Laurie' Boot
Again, JC Penney for 59.99.

This light brown boot is 99 dollars at Victoria Secret.

These are 158 dollars at Victoria Secret.  I like the buckle detail and small heel to keep it casual.

Where do you like to find your boots?  Share with us!

I hope you enjoyed the creative ideas! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

WITWW: Kindergarten Lessons: 8-18-11

Along with many moms this time of year, I am asking myself, "Where did the time go?"  My oldest is starting kindergarten, but it seems like just a few weeks ago I was changing his diapers, walking him around the house during his fussy hour and picking up spilled cheerios from his snacky cup. 
I am so proud of how much he has matured and grown.  He is a very active little boy, and he has gained much in the area of self control and discernment. 
Like other moms, I'll get weepy and sentimental when I drop him off at his first day of school this year.  I will grieve the loss of my baby and my dependent little guy, but I'll also realize it is a natural progression that God allows. 
From the day he was born, my son has slowly been growing physically, emotionally, and, I pray, in the knowledge of God; so he can leave my home and live life on his own someday.  God blesses us with children "on lease".  They are His, and He entrusts us to train them, love them, and help them gain independence so He can use them in their own lives--apart from mom and dad.
Included in being a godly mom is realizing I am not in control of their lives--God is.  From each sickness God allows to their safety; from which teacher they get to which friends are in their class or lives; and from which subject they love to which lessons might be a struggle, God has ordained it all ahead of time. 
God gave me a very enthusiastic, loving, energetic little boy five and a half years ago.  He is using each of my son's apparent "strengths" and "weaknesses" for His glory and to train him up so He can use him in specific moments of time and in specific situations.  It is just the beginning as I let go of his little hand, wave goodbye and watch the kindgergarten door close.  I'm fairly sure I'll have to hold back tears, but, in all this, I am thankful and confident God is in control.

Psalm 28:7
The LORD is my strength and my shield;in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;my heart exults,and with my song I give thanks to him.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Party Tip: Ice Bowl


If you are throwing a summer shin dig, big or small, a great way to make a statement with your food display is by making an ice bowl to hold your food.  It is extremely easy, you can make it any size you need, you can decorate the bowl with any edible or safe flowers, fruit slices or decorations, and it makes a big impact.

Of course, you want to keep the bowl on a summery platter or plate to catch water as it melts, and you don't want to display it in full sun.  If you put any moist food items inside, you want to put a pretty lettuce lining inside so the food doesn't stick to the bowl as it is dished (think of the "tongue on a frozen pole" effect).

Here are the easy steps to make your own:

You need to get stacking bowls.  Your ice bowl will be the size of the larger stacking bowl.

Fill the larger bowl with water (about 2/3 full)

Place the smaller bowl inside and weigh it down so it sits inside and displaces the water--I used more water in the small bowl to weigh it down.
Place in your freezer until the water is starting to freeze and get thick.

Pick an edible or safe decoration to sit inside the ice.  Ideas:  Fruit slices, edible plants or flowers, thematic decorations.
Stick the decor down the sides between the bowls and spread them all around in the icy water.

After 24 hours, take the bowls out of the freezer and remove the smaller bowl from the top (it usually twists right out, but you might use warm water for a SECOND to loosen it).

Twist the ice bowl out of the larger bowl (again, if needed, QUICKLY run warm water on the bottom of the bowl to loosen the ice).

Ready for a summer food table!

So summery and fresh!  Have fun!

I linked this post to:

The Girl Creative
Tip Junkie handmade projects
Todays Creative Blog
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