Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Advent Calendar

I was hoping to do this last year, but never got around to it. I saw this muffin tin idea on a number of other websites and the first time I saw it, I knew it was a great idea for us since most premade advent calendars have chocolate in them and my oldest doesn't like chocolate.

Advent Calender

You take a muffin pan (or several) and create covers for the cups (I used sheets of magnets and then glued scrap book paper and embelishments on them). This way I can choose what goes in AND the holes are big enough that I can put two (or more) things in each one so that both kids get something (since I used a regular size muffin tin, you could use a mini one though if you want). And that's what I was originally planning on doing, adding trinkets for each day (I'd rather not encourage my kids to eat candy every day). But then, I got a better idea, a Puzzle!

First, I put the puzzle together:
Advent Calender

Then I carefully took it apart, starting with the edge
Advent Calender
and putting connecting pieces into each cup of the muffin pan (most cups had 4 pieces, some had more since there are 100 pieces in the puzzle and only 24 cups).
Advent Calender
Once all of the cups were filled I placed the magnets over the holes and hung them up on the wall.  Since the muffin cups were strategically filled, the pieces will always fit in somewhere, the kids just need to figure out where.

The only problem I ran into was that the magnets (which were ones I was recycling, not actual magnet sheets I'd bought) weren't quite strong enough in some cases so the pieces fell out while I was trying to hang it.  Now that it's up and we're not fiddling with it, there isn't a problem.

The nice things about this is that it was cheap (the puzzle was $1 at the dollar store), we don't have a lot of cheap trinkets floating around, the girls are working together on it and we can re-use the puzzle.

This is definitely working for us! Even my youngest is working on the puzzle.  For more great ideas head over to the WFMW post at We Are That Family.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gift Ideas

Well, it's getting to be that time of year, the time where I'm searching for the perfect gift for my kids.  It seems like most of the time when I pick it, it's not something that they actually play with later.  But a surefire hit around our house is stuffed animals!  And if it's a dog, it's a definite love!  Which is odd since neither of my girls are big dog fans.

One of the gifts I'm considering this year is a PawParazzi dog for my oldest or a cat for my youngest.  Have you seen them? They come with cute bags/purses.  And the best part (in my opinion) is that they're small, so they dont' take up a lot of room and they can easily come with us when we're on the go.

Their website has a link to find them in a store near you. Or you can enter to win one at Wee Share.

What gifts are you getting your kids?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween Swap Box

It's arrived!  Well, it actually arrived last week and I'm just now getting time to blog about it.  Sorry!

We got a great box full of Halloween stuff from The Monkey House.  Check it out:

There is a house purse that opens up with two peg ghosts to go inside, some lollipops, two felt pumpkins with candy corn in them, a bag of foam stickers two wooden masks, a box of dots, a bag of cookie cutters, some cool playdough and two necklace kits.  The girls immedaitely dove into the playdough with the cookie cutters as soon as they saw it, have been sampling the candy corn and have since made their necklaces.

This swap was a lot of fun.  I hope to do it again sometime!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

WFMW - Taming Flashcards

I'm not sure where I got this idea from, it might've been someone else's WFMW post, but it's working so well for us that I thought I'd share it. If you think you know where I got the idea from, feel free to comment with the site.

Flash cards are a great tool for kids to learn with, but they're essentially a deck of cards and have a tendency to get separated and you end up finding them everywhere.  So, I've been taking them, punching two holes in the top of all the cards and then I put binder rings through the holes.  You can get a pack of binder rings at Office Max.

This way, my girls can carry the flash cards around with them, they don't loose any cards and there's no clean up.  They have a tendency to pick them up when they're playing and just start flipping through them. They can also take them in the car on long trips to quiz each other a lot easier.

For more great ideas, head over to the WFMW post at We are THAT Family!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Pumpkin Yogurt Parfait

1/4 c vanilla yogurt
1/4 c pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 T maple syrup
1/4 c Pumpkin Spice Granola Snacks
whipped topping (optional)

Combine yogurt, pumpkin and syrup in a bowl.  Layer yogurt mixture in a glass alternating with granola.  Garnish with whipped topping. 

Coffee flavored yogurt with Kalua Luau Granola snacks

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Halloween Swap

I love swaps and exchanges.  My friend over at Mind Games is doing a Halloween swap for kids.  Head on over and check it out!

I'm excited to do this, the girls are going to love it and I'm already starting to think about things that I can put in our box.  I can't wait to find out more about who we're going to swap with.  It'll be a great way for the girls to "meet" someone new!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to School bargins for the non-school aged and Box tops

works for me wednesday at we are that family

The theme over at We Are that Family for this weeks' Works for Me Wednesday is Back to School tips.  I'm late posting and actually it's been a while since I've even posted here to my blog let alone a WFMW post!  So, I was struggling with what to post that wasn't already covered, routines, task lists, etc.

Then I remembered that even before I had kids, I'd hit the back to school sales!  Why?  Because thats when stores put things like underwear and socks on sale too.  So I can get multipacks of socks for cheaper and as an added bonus, you can often get a pair or two "free" in that pack!  Just watch though because the packs without the bonus free pair are occasionally intermixed with the bonus ones.

Oh and one more tip, if you shop at certain grocery stores and you clip box tops, check out You can link your frequent shopper card with your school and get bonus box tops!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

WFMW - My Centro

Many years ago, I bought a Sony Clie (a PDA much like a Palm Pilot), at first, I used it a lot, but then as I had kids it was one more thing to carry around and I stopped using it for a while.  Fast forward a few years and technology has changed, and the phone/PDA combo devices are much better, so I take took the plunge a few years ago when I upgraded my phone and got a Palm Centro (it's a cell phone but runs PalmOS operating system so I can use many of the applications I used on the Clie).  It's a few years old now, but I still love it.

Here are some of the applications I use:

HandyShopper - this is a database program, originally designed to do shopping lists, which is what I mostly use it for. It let's me organize things by store (and aisle if I want) and can keep track of the prices things cost.  I also have a separate database for gift ideas, so when I'm struck with a gift idea, I can note it down and remember it later.

Countable - I knit and crochet.  Lately since I have so little time, I do a lot of it when I'm in the car travelling (hubby's driving).  Countable is a counter that let's me keep track of rows, increases, decreases, pattern repeats etc.  Mostly I just use it as a row counter.  With kids, I get interrupted a lot while I'm knitting.

Bible+ - The Bible on my cell phone, so I can have it with me all the time.  I can download different translations, jump to book and verse, and search for keywords.  Even see different translations in parallel.

Memorix - I stumbled on this one this past Christmas.  It's a memory game where you "turn over" the cards and make matches.  Great to entertain the kids when we're waiting in the store, at a restaurant, etc.

IM+ for Skype - I'm not sure if you're familiar with Skype, but it's a service that allows you to make phone calls from your PC.  If you're calling to someone else who has Skype, it's free. There's also a text based chat/IM method of communicating.  (I think I might talk about Skype next week, tune in!).  We use it a lot at work, since our offices are spread out, we need to do a lot of conference calls and we use the chats a lot when we need to ask quick questions of each other.  IM+ for Skype isn't made by the people at Skype, but they don't have a PalmOS client, so I had to turn elsewhere.  It's nice because I can answer questions from my employees while I'm away from my desk (ex when I'm at the pediatrician's office with my kids).  IM+ for Skype is one of the few programs I've actually purchased for my phone.

Pocket Quicken - Pocket Quicken is the other program I've paid for.  It's a version of Quicken (accounting/financial software) for Palm OS.  Hubby likes to keep track of all our expenses, receipts etc.  I was TERRIBLE with loosing receipts and not getting them to him.  I'm still bad when I'm in a hurry, but with Pocket Quicken, I can enter them into my phone right away or while I've got a spare minute and then Hubby just sync's my phone with his system (which has the full version of Quicken on it) and imports the data.  He's much happier now :)  Unfortunately, it wasn't made by Intuit and Intuit has terminated their agreement with the company that was making it, so you can't get new versions that work with current Quicken software.

Unit ConPro - At work, I frequently need to convert between bytes, megabytes, gigabytes with byte accuracy (1 GB = 1073741824 Bytes)  I could memorize the numbers, I could use the calculator in Windows, or I can use a unit converter like Unit ConPro (I also use the WWW Unit Converter, but lately ran into a bug with it).  It also will do conversions for Volume (cups, pints, teaspoons, etc) which comes in handy when you're doubling recipes, or trying to figure out which item at the grocery store is bigger.  It also does a whole pile of other unit conversions.  If you can think of it, I bet it does it!

pssh - An ssh client for PalmOS. For us tech folks.  I don't use it often, because most of the systems I need to ssh to aren't accessible via the internet and I don't want to install a VPN client on the phone (although they are available).

Documents to Go - I actually don't remember if I paid extra for this (I did for my old Sony Clie) or if it came with my phone, but this allows me to create/edit Office documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and plain text). It also allows me to view pdf files.  I mostly use this for recipes. I've got recipes that I store as plain text files on my computer and when I'm planning on making one, I put it on my phone so I don't need to print it out to make it.  You can also get some books from Project Gutenberg in plain text, although I find them a little hard to read that way.

Google Maps - We don't have a GPS, but I can get easy access to Google Maps from my phone and it can approximate where I am (based on which cell tower I'm using), sometimes with better accuracy than others.  But it's nice having access to the maps that Google provides when I'm out and about.

The other software I use is stuff that came with it, mainly the email client (which does pop and IMAP, although I've been having issues with it lately), the web browser (nothing special really), and the MP3 player (which I talked about on my audio book post).

Overall, my Centro is really working for me.  I'm hoping that there will be another good PalmOS based phone out when I'm ready to replace this one.  Check out other Works for Me Wednesday posts at Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 32

I'm getting back in the swing of blogging, now I need to start picking up the other things that I dropped at the same time.  Mainly reading my Bible daily.  I'm going to add that back in today. Please pray for me, that it'll be easier to stick with it this time.

Day 32

The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. —1 Corinthians 7:3

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth
 The theme this week is Yellow and truth be told, this was a meal from last week, but I wanted to post it before I forgot that I had it and since it didn't go with the theme anyway, I figured I'd just do it.

Mandarin oranges, chicken Lo Mein, broccoli, pasta alfredo and an open spot for cake once everything else was gone.  It doesn't look very appetizing, but the kids sure ate it ('course maybe the cake was a pretty good incentive! ). 

Head over to Muffin Tin Mom for more great Muffin Tin Meals!

Love Dare Challenge - Day 31

Once I stop something that used to be a daily habit it's very easy for me to let it go and never do it again.  I'm afraid that's what's happenned with the Love Dare, illness hit my family and then by the time it was over, I was out of the habit and I never got around to starting back up, until today. But, I really do want to finish the Love Dare, even if it does take me twice as long to finish as it should. So, I'm going to pick up where I left off and make it a point to go back and review what I've done this far.

A man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. —Genesis 2:24

This is something hubby and I have talked about a bit in the past, I have a tendency to ask other people opinions on things, particularly that of my father and brother before his. After we talked about it, I have tried to work on it, but it's obviously something that still needs some work.  He doesn't seem to have as much of a "Lingering" issue with his family.  Sometimes I wish he was a little more close with them.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Games, Games and More Games....

We love games at our house and try to have game night at least once a week.  Each game night a different family member gets to choose the game.  Some of our favorites are:

UNO - This teaches color matching and numbers

Dominoes - This can teach numbers, counting, color matching, etc depending on the set of dominoes that you have. We have a Care Bear set and a standard dot set (the different numbers of dots are also color coded).  I really want to do an alphabet set, but I'm waiting for hubby to cut the wood.

Boggle - I got boggle for my 6 year old at Christmas.  She loves it.  I don't know if you've seen it lately, but now it's all self-contained, even the non-travel version, so there aren't any loose pieces.  She was even playing by herself, mixing the letters up and then trying to form words. It's not something my 3 year old can play though.

Scene It - We have the Disney version and it's a favorite of both my kids because you can watch little snippits of movies and they love movies.  I like it because you can fold the board differently to adjust the length of the game for the nights when there isn't a lot of time.

Memory - Fun for all ages. There are different versions out there, some with different shaped cards for younger kids to make it a bit easier.  My brother used to love playing memory with a regular deck of cards.

Over at Mind Games, they're having a contest for another game that's fun for all ages.  The game is called Walk the Dogs and looks like it would be a lot of fun to play.  Go check out the contest and while you're there, take a peek at some of the other great stuff she has on her blog. Lots of great activities for kids!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 30

I think I've mentioned that I pray for my husband every day, but often times, it's generic, asking God to be with him and guide him.  But yesterday's challenge asked for a specific prayer and since he wasn't feeling well, I prayed for that.
Day 30 - Love Brings Unity

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

WFMW - Audio Books

My kids love to read and be read to. Especially my oldest. They also get bored easily, while sitting in the cart shopping and in the car. Pretty much when they're not doing anything other than just sitting. Sometimes they find things to do on their own, but more often then not, they end up fighting. So a while back, I went to LibriVox and downloaded some free audio books to put on my phone (which also plays MP3's without a headset needed).   They're older books, classics like Alice and Wonderland and Peter Pan, but my kids love listening to them and they're FREE!  So, now when I'm shopping for a while and they're getting  bored, I hand over my phone with an audio book playing, quietly and the trip is a lot less stressful.

There are other places that have free audio books as well (feel free to post sources in comments!). Or you can get audio books on CD from the library, one of our local ones even lets you check them out on an MP3 player if you don't have one!  Another great resource that more and more libraries are offering is downloadable audio books that you can listen to for a certain amount of time and then delete.  And of course you can buy them online from places like Audible.

Audiobooks are definitely working for us!  Head over to our We Are that Family for this week's Works for Me Wednesday!

Love Dare Challenge - Day 29

He hasn't been feeling well the past couple of days so I've really been focusing on trying to make things easier for him. Running downstairs/upstairs to get something for him, trying to get the laundry all done myself, getting the girls ready for bed/school as much as I can. Yesterday I took the youngest to day care so he wouldn't have to leave the house.

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 28

On the weekends, I tend to avoid computers since I work with them all week. So, I'm posting twice today since I didn't even turn my computer on yesterday.

Day 27's challenge couples with Day 26's for me.  I feel like he wants me to be better at keeping the house neat and clean but at the same time I found myself wondering why just me? Why can't others help me as well, they live here too.  And really that is one of the biggest issues I have in our marriage.  I feel like I'm doing all the work sometimes.  But throughout this challenge at some point, that no longer became how I feel.  I'm okay now with doing the work I do and even trying (and wanting) to do more.  The unrealistic expectations that I had of him splitting the housework 50/50 with me is truly unrealistic.  He does more of the outside work, especially during the winter months.  Yesterday, he spent the morning shoveling the drive way.  I've come to terms with where we are and what we're each contributing.  Our pastor pointed out, during our marriage series last year, that we should be careful listing out each others duties in order to see who's doing more, because you might be surprised, it might be that you're the one doing less!

It looks like maybe they've revamped the Love Dare website (maybe gearing up for Valentine's Day?). So, unfortunately all the old links I used aren't working and they no longer have the comments from the people who did the challenge last year.  But on the bright side, you can still see what the challenges are.

He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers.
1 John 3:16

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Love Dare Challenge - Day 27

My husband doesn't complain about me that much, at least not to me.  Occasionally, if he doesn't feel I handled something appropriately with the kids, he'll let me know, which is good.  But sometimes I'd really like to know if it's just that he's not voicing his irritation or if he's just not irritated.  I do think though that my lack of housekeeping skills can be a frustration for him.  And actually it is for me too.  So that's what I apologized for yesterday and I'm working on it.  I've been trying to tackle one room at a time.  Yesterday, I spent the better part of the afternoon folding laundry and getting some things in our room put away.

The Love Dare site is currently down, I'm hoping it's just temporary because I really have been enjoying reading other people's comments on what they did for the challenges, even if they are a few years old.

Day 27 - Love Encourages

Guard my soul and deliver me; do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You.

Psalm 25:20

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 26

Each day, I read the comments over at the Love Dare site (click the link below) to read how others have completed their dare.  On Day 1, there were 152 comments, on Day 26, there are 5.  I really hope that it means that people ran out of things to say or were so focused on doing the Dare and improving their marriage that they didn't have time to post, rather than meaning that 147 people gave up.

Day 26: Love is responsible

When you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things.
 —Romans 2:1 HCSB

I don't do intimate talks well.  It takes me forever to get up the courage to bring a topic up, so pray for me, as I ask for my husband's forgiveness.

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Love Dare Challenge - Day 25

Day 25: Love forgives

What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ.

—2 Corinthians 2:10

It's hard not to hold a grudge, at least for me it is.  Back when I first heard of the love dare, our preacher did a series on marriage and one of the things he talked about was not holding a grudge against your mate, don't keep a tally of the things they've done wrong.  I realized then, that that was exactly what I was doing.  Every time I got mad at him, I'd sit there and silently stew over what he'd done wrong that time and all previous times.  I've been working on that, and I wont say that I don't do it at all anymore, but I do find that I turn to God more in those situations and remind myself to forgive and forget.  It's still hard, but as soon as I turn it over to God, I do feel better.

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

WFMW - Saving Valentines

Valentine's day is quickly approaching, can you believe it? In the past my kids have loved looking through the valentines they get from their friends over and over, but it usually ends up with them all over the house. Last year I tried something different and it really worked well, so we'll do it again this year.

I took two pieces of contact paper that was clear (about 18 inches each) peeled the back off of one for each (I turned the corners a bit so they stuck to the table) and then left my daughter (actually they each made their own) place her valentines down on the contact paper how she wanted. Then, we put the other piece of contact paper over top and they used them as placemats for a while. Eventually they forgot about them and I was able to put them away, but in the mean time, they were still able to enjoy the valentines and I didn't have them all over the house.

It's been a while since I've done a WFMW post, but I've been thinking of them!  For more great ideas head over to We are that Family, or click the graphic at the top!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 24

How's everyone doing with the Love Dare?  Have you seen the movie yet?

Day 24: Love vs. Lust

The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
—1 John 2:17

I was about to say that I can't think anything and had actually typed that but then I went over to the love dare site to read the posts from others (click the link above to go there).  After reading the posts there, I've got to agree, I do lust after the 'dream' husband rather than accepting him for the way he is.  I wish he were more affectionate, I wish he would be more thankful outwardly towards me, and so forth.  I burned the list earlier on in the challenge, but clearly it's still with me, but I will say much less than it was.  So, while I don't have any lusts such as desiring other men, reading pornography, etc, I do tend to focus more on my husbands weaknesses than I should. This too, I'll work on.

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Love Dare Challenge - Day 23

Day 23: Love always protects

[Love] always protects.

—1 Corinthians 13:7 NIV

I've been thinking about this one a lot.  I don't really think that that there are things I do to inhibit our relationship, but rather things I don't do.  I don't do things around the house as much as I should. So, I've been working on doing more cleaning.  I mopped the bathroom floor, mostly got caught of laundry (still need to fold it though) and swept the garage.  He noticed the bathroom floor at least (but that might be because I didn't get the rugs back down before he went in :) ).  I also tend to not have the confidence in him doing things that I should, I don't support him.   I'll work on that as well.  I think I need to go back over the dares again to review all that I'm working on!

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Love Dare Challenge - Day 22

I've been reading my Bible every day, sometimes more than others. Sometimes it feels like I've been squeezing it in but I HAVE been reading it, which is a start. My kids have been seeing me read it too, which I think is important as well.  I've noticed my husband reading his more as well.

I'm a little late getting these posts up but for the most part have been doing the challenges.

Day 22: Love is faithful

I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the Lord.
—Hosea 2:20

My husband and I say "I love you" frequently.  I don't think it happens every day, or as often as it should though so I'm going to make an effort to  say it more often.  Hopefully, he'll start initiating it more often as well.

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 21

Yesterday was not a good day.  I got so frustrated with Hubby and everything else for that matter.  Nothing was going right at work, my daughter was sick with an ear infection, I wanted to get to the store and wasn't able to due to work and the sick one.   I never even got to read yesterday's dare, let alone complete it! After work, I was still frustrated with hubby and annoyed with him. So, when I finally decided I had to go to the store to get the prescription, I remembered an earlier dare and picked up something for him while I was there.  After doing so, I felt much better.

The Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire.
—Isaiah 58:11

There are no coincidences and these dares are just driving home the point.  I've been wanting to read the Bible regularly, but just haven't been making the time for it like I should be.  So, I'm going to be working on that, starting today.

 Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 20

In thinking back through the dare so far, Day 5 was a particular challenge for me.  But I made it through and I don't doubt that God had a hand in it.  I see evidence of his love everywhere I turn.  The Day 11 challenge where I cleaned around the bathroom sink wasn't particularly challenging, but I'm still glad I did it.  The sink area is still clean and I'm hoping to keep it that way.  It's a nice reminder to me of the Dare and I think that's a good way to start out the day.

Today marks the halfway point.  I don't think he's realized that I'm doing the dare, and I don't really see much difference in him, but that's ok.

Day 20: Love is Jesus Christ

While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
—Romans 5:6

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 19

Last night's dinner went alright. He liked the food, we talked a little about our day and that was pretty much it. I think I mentioned that we ate a little later so we could be alone (we waited for the girls to go to bed). I made lamb, asparagus and some baby baked potatoes.

Day 19: Love is impossible

Let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

—1 John 4:7

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 18

Day 18: Love seeks to understand

How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.

—Proverbs 3:13

I've started preparing dinner. I approached the subject with hubby suggesting a dinner for two tonight and he didn't seem that interested, since it means waiting until the girls go to bed.  Check back tomorrow to see how it goes!

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 17

Day 17: Love promotes intimacy

He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

—Proverbs 17:9 NIV

We don't have too many secrets from each other and ever since we did the small group Fireproof study, I've been working VERY hard to not discuss things that I know bother him publicly.  We work together, so I almost spend 24 hours a day with him, 7 days a week.  Due to school right now, our work schedule is skewed a bit so there are three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon we're not together, but that's it.  Certainly wouldn't be easy to have secrets from each other.  But we're not the kind that have much to hide from friends and family either.

I've read ahead to tomorrow's challenge.  I'm glad I did because I need to go grocery shopping!
Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Muffin Tin Monday - ABC's and 123's

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth
I've been looking forward to this one (I'm weird like that) because the theme was ABC's and 123's. I actually even did this one a bit early so that I could make sure to get it on my blog!

A - Alphabet yogurt
B - Banana
C - Cheerios Cereal
E - Egg
D - Donut

The girls liked most of it. The one hasn't been eating much lately at all, so she just sampled, but I sent it with her to day care. The oldest ate everything but the banana (and her banana was a bit over ripe).

Head over to Muffin Tin Mom's Muffin Tin Monday post to check out more ABC and 123 ideas!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 16

Day 16: Love intercedes

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.

—3 John 2

I've been praying for my spouse and every member of my family, for years, but this challenge speaks more to a specific kind of prayer.  I've prayed several times today and will continue to do so in the future.

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 15

Thursdays are usually the night I watch TV. He has practice for the Worship team at church, so I usually end up watching Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice and Ugly Betty. I DVR them, and am usually a week or so behind (because sometimes, he doesn't have practice). So, last night rather than continuing to watch Grey's when he got home, I stopped, handed him the remote and layed down on the couch with him.

Today is:

Day 15: Love is honorable

Live with your wives in an understanding way . . . and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life.

—1 Peter 3:7

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Love Dare Challenge - Day 14

I didn't discuss the rules of engagement with hubby last night because I didn't want to rock the waves. So, I took the suggestion of coming up with a list of my own.

1) Don't be so definsive and admidt my mistakes
2) Don't try to redirect the guilt to someone else (very close to #1)
3) Talk about it rather than claming up (this is what he said I need to work on on day 5).

On to:

Day 14: Love takes delight

Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your fleeting life.
—Ecclesiastes 9:9 HCSB

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 13

I'm going to have to come back to Day 12 later. We didn't fight yesterday and we so rarely do that it doesn't make sense to wait until we DO fight to continue.  So, on to day 13:

Day 13: Love fights fair

If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

—Mark 3:25

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 12

I'm still going to need to work on tracking down the source of the funky html, but for now I'll do it by hand.

I completed day 11 and actually got a Thank You!  Last night I was going to give him a back rub, I'd been planning it all day the day before, but then we had an argument right before we went to bed and it didn't happen.  So, yesterday I was going to do it last night. Well, I was really tired (due to lack of sleep from the argument the night before) and ended up falling asleep before he was done reading.  BUT, unlike most nights, when he turned out the light, I woke up, so I gave it to him then.

I have a pretty good marriage, I'm not doing the love dare because things are bad.  But, I do feel there's always room for improvement.  So the argument we had the night before last was a rare occurance which is why it bothered me so much.  And it wasn't really an argument which made it all that much worse, we both just went to bed without talking it out.

I noticed something yesterday that really bothered me.  I was going to Google to look for Union 28's website. I'd tried and it wasn't right (I'd forgotten it was a .net) so I thought I had misrememberd the company name and decided to Google "my husband rocks" because I was wanting to check out their T-shirts.  I got as far as "my husband" and was struck by the suggestions that Google had (which are other top searches, I'm pretty sure).  Look at this:

I was struck by how negative all of these are.  I truely am blessed that I was Googling "My husband rocks" instead of "My husband is a jerk"! Although sometimes I do need the reminder. 

By the way does anyone know of other shirts similar to the ones that Union 28 sells? The designs I like there are on the weird cut T's and I'm not sure they'd fit.  I do have the "i love my husband" t-shirt that came out with the Fireproof stuff, but was looking for something else too.
Wish me luck with Day 12!

Day 12: Love lets the other win

Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

—Philippians 2:4

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Muffin Tin Monday - No Theme

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth
No theme this week (but personally, I'm looking forward to next week's ABC's theme.  I still need to get some new muffin tins though so the kids aren't eating out of my good non-stick ones, until then, I've just given them plastic silverware (which goes over just as well as the muffin tin by the way).

Mondays are usually leftover days for us, so Muffin Tins work well.

The Top one was for my 3 year old, it had Milk, spaghetti squash with peas, ranch, chicken (x2) and banana.
The bottom one was for my 6 year old, it had Milk, spaghetti squash with peas, spaghetti (x2) and banana.

Head over to Muffin Tin Mom and see what others did for Muffin Tin Monday!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Giveaway from Delicate Expressions

It's been a while since I've posted here about a giveaway, partly because I've been doing the whole Love Dare thing.  (Yesterday didn't go well we ended up having a small argument, so I'll do yesterday's dare today).

But, I have been trying to win some Vinyl wall sayings for a while now. I've finally decided what I want to say and where I want to put it. But I've never seen the one saying in the stores and I really don't have good luck ordering online (I ordered three Christmas gifts online, one came late, one was the wrong item and we ended up having to return it). So, I thought I'd try to win some.

Over at they're giving away a $25 gift certificate to Delicate Expressions.  I'm hoping to win so I can buy:
Faith isn't believing that God can, but knowing that He will.

The first will go on a board over my TV and the second will go over my front door (I haven't decided if it will go directly on the wall or if it will be on a board too.

Go check out this cool giveaway!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 11

Yesterday I cleaned the area around the bathroom sinks for him.  I know it bothers him when it gets really cluttered.  It was really dusty too.   I neatened things up, put away the stuff that doesn't get used every day and wiped it off. I even cleaned the mirror.  He hasn't said a word about it though.  Oh well, I didn't do it for him to praise me, I did it because I love him.  On to the next day....

Day 11: Love cherishes

Husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.
—Ephesians 5:28

(Click the title for the challenge to go to it).

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Note: The HTML for this post got really garbled by bloggers' editor so sorry if you see this post come through your feed more than once. It's rather fitting though since I need to repeat this day of the challenge!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 10

Day 10: Love is unconditional

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
—Romans 5:8

I've got some ideas on what I'd like to do for this challenge so, check back tomorrow and see which one I pick!

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 9

Well, I burned the list yesterday. And honestly, I really have to think about what was on it.  There were only 2 or 3 things though.  I'm hoping to work on a Valentine's Day gift that involves the "good" list.

So, we're to day 9 and I'm back to reading the book since this is beyond where I've made it previously.

Day 9: Love makes good impressions.

Greet one another with a kiss of love.
-1 Peter 5:14

I'm later blogging today so I can tell you that I've done this and greeted him with a hug.  I'll be working on greeting him when he comes home from work more cheerfully and affectionately over the next week.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 8

Day 8 - Love is not jealous
Love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire.

—Song of Solomon 8:6 NIV

As you saw yesterday, I made the lists, I actually had to go back and add one that I had thought of when I was originally thinking, but was away from the computer and that's that he's a great father.  Last night I thanked him for helping with the kids.
Tonight, I will burn the list.

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 7

Well, we did better getting to dance yesterday than previous weeks, but there's still a lot of room for improvement.  And working on getting the girls ready earlier was only one of the things I need to work on, so that will be an ongoing goal.

[Love] believes all things, hopes all things.
—1 Corinthians 13:7

Ok, I'm not going to publicly post the negative list but I will post the positive one.  Here goes:

Slow to anger
Rarely raises his voice
Great eyes
Likes to fix things

I will say though that the negative list isn't as long.

Follow others that are doing the Love Dare by checking of Mama to 3 Blessings' post and Linky.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

Chicken, broccoli, brown rice, ranch, Mickey Mouse cheese and ketchup

This is my first Muffin Tin Monday post, but not my first Muffin Tin meal. I missed though that there was a theme this week.  My kids love these meals, but I'm not sure why I don't do it more often. I guess I'm a little afraid of the novelty wearing off.  If I'm going to do this regularly though I'm going to need to get some silicone pans so they're not using silverware in my good non-stick muffin pans.  This night, I gave them plastic wear.  Previously, when we'd done Muffin Tin meals, it was because we were on the go, our church was having Movie night each week and we had to be there early to set up, and my oldest was going through a Lunchable phase where that was all she wanted.  Nevermind the fact that she doesn't actually eat Lunchables!  So these were her "Lunchables".

For more Muffin Tin ideas check out Muffin Tin Monday.

Love Dare Challenge - Day 6

I did it!  I asked him and he came up with one thing, not three, but we'll start with the one.  (In all honesty, I'm not sure it's really fair to put him on the spot like I did, it's definitely a question that you need to think about the answer to.)  He said that when I get mad, I don't talk.  It's true.  Part of the challenge is excepting what your partner says and not rebuking it, so I'm going to leave it at that.

Today's challenge:

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.

—Proverbs 16:32

Areas where I need to add margin:
1) I need to get more sleep.  My level of patience with everyone around me is directly related to how tired I am.
2) Allow more time in our schedule for getting ready and getting places.  I'm certain it is no accident that this challenge is today (Tuesday) since that's where our schedule is tightest.  I'm always underestimating how long it will take the girls to get ready to go.
3) Spend more time one on one with each family member.
6) Spend more time each day with God.

Wrong motivations:
1) I need to be more grateful for the help he provides around the house and focus less on what he's not doing.
2) Don't worry so much about whether he notices that I'm trying the Love Dare again.
3) Stop thinking about myself so much and think more about those around me and what I can do for them.

I don't think this is something I can do in single day, but I'm going to start working on today.  I did give myself more time to get to work and last night hubby and I spent a good bit of time just chatting.  It'll be a good day if my 3 year old doesn't tell me that I'm mean because I had to raise my voice to get her moving so that my 6 year old could get to dance on time.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 5

Between the weather, school cancellations, working with my hubby and everything else, I've spent almost all my time with him (even more than the usual 20 hours a day). So, I had to mix things up a bit.

I did buy him some Sprechers Root beer (for Day 3). It's only available at one store here that I know of and it's one of the high end grocery stores, so we don't get it real often, even though it's his favorite root beer. And I did call him (for Day 4) one of the few times we weren't together, he was getting ready to call his mom though so we didn't talk too much.

He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be reckoned a curse to him.—Proverbs 27:14

(click the link to see the challenge)

This is the day I've secretly been dreading. It's not easy putting yourself out there like this challenge is asking you to do. Also, my husband up to this point doesn't know I'm doing the challenge. But this will tip him off, I'm sure. I've started the challenge before, I think I mentioned that. The first time, I skipped day 5, the second time, I stopped at Day 5. For some reason in addition to not wanting to open myself up to criticism, I really would rather he not know that I'm doing the challenge. I guess maybe I'm afraid that then he'll be expecting something from it (and me) and I wont fullfill his expectations.

Pray for me!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 4

Well, yesterday didn't work out that well, due to the snow I couldn't actually get out and buy anything, so I'm going to try to do that today as well as today's challenge of calling sometime during the day to see if there's anything he needs.

Day 4
How precious also are Your thoughts to me. . . .How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.—Psalm 139:17–18

I found that the love dares are posted on the Offical Love Dare Journal website, so you can go over there to check out what Day 4's dare is (I still recomend the book though).

If you're blogging about the love dare, check out Mama to 3 Blessing's site and Join her Linky.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 3

They're calling for snow today in our area. So yesterday, I worked in the garage rearranging everything so that it would be done when he came home and he could put the plow and chains on the tractor easier. Then, I also helped him when he did it.

1/7/10 Day 3 (Love is not selfish)
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preferance to one another in honor.
Romans 12:10

Due to the snow today, school was cancelled and we car pooled to work. So, I'm not sure how I'll be able to complete today's challenge, but I'm going to try. I read somewhere that suggested taking the "Love Language" of your spouse into consideration when doing these things too, so for example if their love language isn't gifts (and gifts aren't important to them), then instead of buying a gift as a dare might say, maybe do something that's more targeted towards their language (Quality time, etc). That might be what we end up doing today.

(Note: Since I'm not sure of the legality of publishing all the dares fully, I'm going to stop, I've only thus far posted ones that were in the movie anyway. I will say though if you haven't bought the book there's much more to it than the dare itself. Each day has discussion leading up to the dare. And in truth, you could Google the dares for each day, but I'll play it safe).

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 2

Well, day 1 went pretty well, I think. There was one time where I did stop myself from commenting negatively on something he did, but I just let it go. Really I need to work on this a lot sometimes I let my temper get the better of me and not just with my husband, I especially need to work on it with the kids because I definitely was NOT patient with them yesterday!

Day 2's Dare: Love is Kind
Do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.

We're also to continue with Day 1's dare of not saying anything negative.

You can check out how others are doing with the Love Dare (and join in!) over at Momma to 3 Blessings.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Love Dare Challenge - Day 1

I don't know how many of you have seen the movie Fireproof. If you haven't seen the movie, you should. I actually asked for it for Christmas, I didn't get it, so I'll probably buy it for my self. All of the films done by Sherwood Baptist Church are really good, I'm looking forward to their next movie Courageous.

Fireproof is about a couple (Caleb and Catherine) that has hit a rough spot in their marriage, neither partner is putting their "all" into their relationship and they've reached the point where they're considering a divorce. Caleb gets a package in the mail from his father which has a 40 day challenge in it. During the forty days, Caleb embarks on a journey to improve his marriage.

The 40 day love dare is available in book form you can get it at pretty much any book store, I bought mine at Walmart. It's called the Love Dare.

Over at Mama to 3 Blessings, Mama is doing the Love Dare and sharing it on her blog. I thought I'd join her. If you haven't done the love dare, or even if you're doing it again for a second time, join in. What a great way to start out the New Year!

Day 1 (Patience)

Be completely humble & gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Eph. 4:2

The Love Dare is to demonstrate patience & to say nothing negative to your spouse at all.

Check back tomorrow to see how I did and to see what tomorrow's challenge is!

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