Monday, April 18, 2016

How Does Your Garden Grow?


 What did we do before Pinterest?!?! It's amazing what you can find on there.  I know a lot of people can look on there and get overwhelmed especially with the comparison game, but for me Pinterest is like a visual encyclopedia.  I type something in, and boom, research is done.  Millions of ideas, thoughts, and visual representations are there to GUIDE me.  And that's the key word GUIDE.  For me, Pinterest is the best place for me to find ideas on how to guide my little girl's learning and ways to help her develop new skills I would not have even thought of.  That's why I have this blog.  A place to share ideas. I am not perfect.  I don't have to be, and friend, neither do you.  Sorry I was on a soap box a bit with that... I just think its really important, especially as mom's, that we stop trying to be perfect and start relishing each moment God has graced us with. 

 With that being said, here's a look into our imperfect but oh so fun garden sensory box.
Big bag of pinto beans I never made for refried beans became the easily scoopable dirt.  Filled with hot glued flowers (with the glue string that my girl loves to point at going "ut-oh"), and terra cotta pots from Dollar Tree.  I <3 that place. 

 Playing on a quilt makes clean up easy and our bums don't hurt.  :) 


 Working hard on those scooping skills and pouring back and forth from the terra cotta pot to other containers.  This was Sweet Pea's first attempt at transferring from one container into a similar sized container and being pretty successful.

            
This bin cost me $1.00.  I had everything else from around the house except the terra cotta pots, and she has loved stacking them into each other, transferring beans from one to the other, and planting her flowers in the pots.  I love watching her grow and learn new things.... It is such a privilege to be be her momma.

I hope you all have a wonderful day catching glimpses of God's grace in your little ones today realizing you don't have to be perfect or have everything perfect... and that is okay, mom.  <3 


This blog entry has been linked to an amazing blog I love to stalk and get idea for my tot!  Head over to 1+1+1=1 for some amazing ideas and printables!

Friday, March 25, 2016

March Madness!!!

Does anyone else feel like the month of March has just been going by like crazy!?!  I mean... there has been so much happening in this month, I feel like I have experienced so much but hardly been able to keep up... especially on the blog.

March Madness: Nature Declares His Glory

It's Good Friday, and my daffodils are blooming!  I happened to get a huge bag of bulbs on sale last fall at Lowe's and planted these in the azalea garden in our front yard.  They bloomed so beautifully in front of our picket cross.
 I absolutely LOVE how this perfect daffodil sprang up in front of the cross just facing completely out in all its beauty.  But the best part is the picture below...
Would you look at that?!?!  All Creation Sings of His Glory!!  I admit I totally got teary eyed looking at the 4 daffodils completely turn to the cross with the one daffodil in front of the cross facing out.  How nature declares His Glory!  Amazing!

March Madness: Bath Time Madness

I have to admit... I have been a slacker when it comes to Tot Trays this month.... and switching out her toys.  Things have just been so wacky with spring break, beautiful weather, and lots of time spent outside of our home walls.  But we did have some fun doing some sensory bath time, which was new :)
 I put green food coloring in the bath one afternoon and removed all the other toys.  I had the plastic eggs on the counter and when Sweet Pea saw them she got so excited! She easily spent 45 minutes playing in her Easter bath!  She was a total prune when she got out. 
Our first Painting in the Bath sensory time was an epic fail.  Here is what I learned from my mistakes:
  1. Wash child first before bringing paint into the bath. (saves water and time)
  2. Do not put the pan in the water even if it starts to float... child will put something in the pan, which will then sink, which in turn dissolves all your "paint" and destroys the bath water.  (This was my big fail.  
  3. Hold the pan the entire time.  
We tried this again a few days after the failure, and it was a much better experience.  By the way, the paint is just shaving cream with food coloring added in.  Washes the walls well too! Double Win!


March Madness: Declaring His Glory in My Bible

After seeing nature declare His Glory in my front yard, I had to journal about it to my girl in her Legacy Bible. (Want to know more about why I am doing art work in my Bible?  Be sure to start here  and click on "Bible Journaling" in the LABELS section.) I have been listening to Gungor Radio Station on Google Play Music for the last month... AWESOME worship music! It just makes me want to dance, create, and sing for Him!!  As I looked at the daffodils in the yard, this song came into my mind which you can play below...


So I listened to this song as I created the image below for my girl.  It's completely made of scrapbook paper and washi tape.  You don't have to be a "fine artist" to create for the Lord.  He loves the fact that you are thinking and worshiping Him while you create whatever it is to bring Glory to His Name! 


I journaled this on Psalm 148 which talks about the earth and all its creation praising the name of the Lord.  Please feel free to click on the picture below to read what I wrote to Sweet Pea.

This month, I also received the new Illustrated Faith Devotional Kit: You're Beautiful by Valerie Weiners... amazingly awesome artist and devotional written by her.  She is so transparent and has challenged me in looking at some well known passages with a new light.  Such as Genesis 3.  I am hoping to write a post later specifically addressing this entry in Sweet Pea's Bible but until then... please click on the pictures to see up close. 

         

Just more scrap book paper taped into her Bible.  Sweet Pea loves when I do these in her Bible.  Even though she can't read or understand the words yet, she loves to flip these at 20 months old and look at the pictures I have created for her. It melts my heart to see her loving her Bible and wanting to flip through it.

                 March Madness: Getting a Garden Ready

My parents came to visit the first weekend of Spring Break bringing with them 4 tomato plants and 2 pepper plants.... which naturally meant we needed a raised garden bed (which I had been begging my man for for about a year). So after he and some friends got done working on the church grounds mowing, he came home and dug a 4x8 hole next to our drive! I needed it in a place that not only got sun, but a place I looked at everyday... so I would water it and not forget that we have plants. I was so proud of my husband! We have had these landscape timbers in our shed and so with much elbow grease and sweat... he created the raised bed below! 
   

 $10 worth of rebar and who knows how much dirt and we have beautiful bed ready for some plants!

4 tomato plants, 1 pepper, zinnias, basil, and 2 rows of zucchini are planted in the garden! They are still alive despite the weather getting quite chilly!

March Madness: Seeing My BFF

This is Cory and her daughter Adeline.  Cory is "my person..." you know the one who knows every piece of you and loves you just as you are... It doesn't matter how many miles are between us (6 states) or how long we haven't been able to talk on the phone (months...) but when we see each other, everything is just normal and peaceful.  Souls click.  Best Friends Forever. And we better be... we do have matching Spice Girl tattoos....




Life with kids is such an adventure!

March Madness: Lumberjack Basketball


So I did it.  I got on the bandwagon, but I think it will last forever. How could you not?  Did you read some of those articles...I felt like the whole nation fell in love with our team.  Heart melt...Man those Lumberjacks did an amazing job and brought such pride and dignity to the game of basketball and to the town of Nacogdoches.  Yes, I know they lost to Notre Dame... but this small sleepy town got to scare the big bad boys of basketball, and they showed that it really doesn't matter what name you have on your jersey... its the true love of the game.  Love you Jacks! You sure did bring a heavy axe down, and I am excited to see what the future madness holds.   

March Madness: Comes to a Close

That was the last 2 weeks of March... my life in pictures and fast events. There is much more that has happened especially in the more recent days, but this is what I have captured in pictures.  

Easter is in 2 days;  it's Good Friday, but Sunday's coming! 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Making Play dough (with no cream of tartar)

I wanted to play with play dough with Sweet Pea...but I did NOT want to go to Walmart at 8 in the evening.  Have you been then... its like all the cashiers go home and everyone in town heads to the store!!! Lines backed up to the clothes and I thought I was going to be the only one there.  Wrong...

So I decided I would make play dough following this 3 minute YouTube video

                                      
Here a pic of all the ingredients.  (no cream of tartar) Look at all that Great Value brand... I obviously shop at Walmart.  





                                       I added at least 10 drops of food coloring if not more. 

Cuz you know... you might not know what salt and flour look like... :)


Okay, here is where I strayed from the video.  I only used a cup of flour-salt mixture to my colored water with oil.  And I am very pleased with that amount... I think more would have totally dried it out.  FYI... I did have to add about a tablespoon of additional hot water to each bowl.
 Mix, mix, mix and then mix some more.  You can see my leftover flour/salt mix in the bowl.  I dumped it in the trash...BUT I should have made another color!  Stupid brain doesn't even think about that stuff after 8 pm.  Oh and FYI... I will totally use a bigger bowl... I was trying to contain the mess, but ugh... I should have known what a cup of flour and liquid would look like in these bowls.  See above statement about brain.


Knead, knead, knead, and soon the texture will be all nice and smooth... takes a little while, but it will get there.  Then I just stored them in their own sandwich bag and squished out as much air as possible. 



Another reason why I like this recipe so much is cuz I actually know what's in it.  Good thing too since Sweet Pea grabbed a bite while I had my back turned for 1 second.  I swear she just waits to see me turn around.  Her face when she ate that dough was priceless... she hasn't done it again either.  Experience is the best teacher.

She loved playing with it... placing noodles on chopsticks and placing all sorts of objects into the dough to see the impressions.  We've played with it several times... each time for at least 30 minutes and the dough is not dried out at all!

I might add a few drops of essential oils to the dough to give her another sensory experience, but I haven't done that yet.

Don't feel like getting crafty and making a mess in your kitchen?  Here are some links to the well known play dough we all grew up with and loved:

                               

What are some ways you love to use your play dough?

This post has been linked to:

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Bible Journaling: What Do You Treasure?

                       


I am reading the book 7 by Jen Hatmaker.

I just read the chapter on possessions (month 3), and I feel like I just got punched in the gut, then upcut to the face, and I am still asking for more.  This book yall... this book is so convicting.  I just have to write this quote (much of it I quoted in what I journaled to my girl)...

"Do not be fooled by the luxuries of this world; they cripple our faith. As Jesus explained, the right things have to die so the right things can live- we die to selfishness, greed, power, accumulation, prestige, and self-preservation, giving life to community, generosity, compassion, mercy, brotherhood, kindness, and love. The Gospel will die in the toxic soil of self..... The fertile soil of death is where the Gospel forms roots and actually bears fruit.  We have to die to live; we have to die so others can live."-Jen Hatmaker (7  page 91)


After reading this chapter, all I could think about was Jesus talking about storing treasures in Matthew 6: 19-21

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[a] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."



What do I hold dearly?  More importantly, am I living that way?

I can say that I hold the Gospel dearly, but what about when Jesus tells me to give up "that." I can hear the Holy Spirit so many times say, "Leslie, you don't need that, you just want it. Give it up." I can't even tell you how many times I have said "Jesus, I might need this thing again... I might wear this shirt next summer... nevermind that I only wore it once this year.... Jesus, I might shrink down to the size pant I was 9 years ago... and then I'll waste money on new jeans... who cares that someone could wear them while they sit in my closet for 9 years... I might wear them again..." (that's just clothes. I havent even discussed my stuff yet.)  And yes, I really do have jeans in my closet from 9 years ago...

Gut punch.... 

Am I living a life worthy of the Gospel?  

This life is not mine- its His, so why on earth do I cleave and hold tight to MY STUFF when IT's NOT MINE AT ALL?!?! I don't live a life of sacrifice, and I should because Jesus sacrificed Himself for me (and you)!  Please do not be confused- as a Believer, I do not sacrifice or do works to earn salvation... that was already done on the cross.  I should live a life of sacrifice and do all my work for Him out of LOVE for what He has done for me-  out of a willing heart.  

Lord, forgive me of my selfishness. 

1 John 2:15-16 states:

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[a]—is not from the Father but is from the world."


Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours.  Help me to unclench my hands from all the things I hold dear,  and give it all back to You. It is Yours.  Everything I have is Yours.  My daughter, my gifts and talents, my husband, my life... it is all a gift from You.  Help me to treasure what You treasure, and I know it is not stuff.  Help me to Die to self everyday so that I can experience the Life You have set for me. I ask all this in Your precious Son's Holy Name.


This post has been linked up to these sites:



Monday, February 29, 2016

Sensory Easter Eggs

Sweet Pea is 19 months, and it is like her brain is a dry sponge just ready to soak up any and all things placed around her.  She's grasping things faster than I expected, and I am so enjoying making these Tot Trays to challenge her into learning new things.

Easter is around the corner, and here in Texas, we didnt have winter.  We've had a most enjoyable spring that sprung like a month ago.  The azaleas are starting to bloom, the leaves are budding on the trees, and I am just aching for rainbows of color to blow up in my house!  I LOVE COLOR!  

I wonder if Sweet Pea will also have a love of all things colorful.  Well with that being stated, please allow me to tell you about what we did.  I found some plastic Easter eggs in the garge (please tell me you do too) and I filled each set with a matching sound.  The blue eggs are filled with rice; purple=paperclip; green=cap; yellow= 3 pennies; orange= dry black beans; and pink= sugar.
I filled each egg about 1/3 of the way, snapped them shut, and tapped around the seam with clear tape.  Now Sweet Pea can match them by color, by sound (later on), and she has 12 new maracas!  She loves to shake them, hand them off to me, and then dance while I shake them.  We have a blast!!

             


I love the fact that this sensory activity is so focused on sound!  She just loves hearing the different eggs and will hold one next to her ear and shake it.  She's so much fun.  I am overwhelmed by God's grace watching her learn.


More amazing ideas can be found at these link ups:

Tot School Gathering Place Week 164
The Practical Mom Blog week 3


Happy Tot Schooling!


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Library Adventures on Wednesday

Every Wednesday at 10 am, our local library hosts "Story Time" for kids.  This is an amazing opprotunity to meet other stay at home moms and dads, make new friends, and enjoy an outing learning to love reading! Does it get much better?

Sweet Pea's favorite activity is reading.  Ive caught her several times crawling into her chair in her playroom "reading" a book. Just recently, she has been coming to me with a book, opening it, and "reading" to me. LOVE these moments.


This is our 3rd week in a row to go to our library for Story Time, and let me tell you, if you have not checked out what to see what your public library is doing, you are missing out!  I hope your library is doing as much for the kids in the community as ours is!  From story time, to Saturday matinees, and game nights in between, I am so grateful for my library.  And it's FREE!

What does Library Wednesday look like?

We pack snacks and water, head to the library, and sit in a big room with lots of other kids, parents, and 2 story tellers (librarians).  We spend about 30 minutes reading 3 different books under a main theme (this week's is bugs), singing songs (this week we sang the itsy bitsy spider, and the ants go marching), and watching some puppets get in on the action.

Then it's craft time and games along with searching for new books.  The ladies always prepare some kind of craft for the kids to complete with their parents.  Last week we made cow puppets out of lunch sacks, but this week we made these super cute fingerprint insects (ours were birds) and the Hungry Caterpillar from the story we heard during Story time!  

We used stamps provided to stamp flowers, and Sweet Pea used her fingerprint to make the solid purple flower in the center. 
 We started with this side of the paper, and Sweet Pea stamped her finger using the gold stamp pad provided to make birds.  I drew the lines to make the body and beak.  So cute.  It was based out of the book Ed Emberley's Fingerprint Drawing Book.  So many things to create from your child's finger print!  The library provided a variety of stamp pads, paper, markers, and 3 copies of the book for us to flip through!
                         
Then we made the caterpillar from the story The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle which we just heard during Story Time.  The library provided all the craft items to make this cute little guy... wide popsicle sticks, puffs, glue, and googly eyes.  Such a great item to use when reading the story at home too! 

After craft time, kids can even play!  The library has an assortment of puzzles, blocks, and thinking games for the kids to enjoy!  LOVE!   Our day at the library ended with us picking out 2 new board books to read for the next month.  I absolutely adore our library and feel so blessed to be a part of this community! 

Check out your local library today! See what it has to offer.  Does it have any fun things for kids too?  I'd love to hear your library adventures too!




This post has been linked up to The Practical Mom's blog
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