Thursday, January 30, 2014

Full House love. :)

So, guess what? I love Full House. Full House was one of the best shows ever. I have all seasons on DVD and will definitely be showing them to my future children. (I'm guessing there aren't many crazy fans out there, but there should be).

So, the gang (Danny, Jesse, and Joey) reunite to sing Jimmy to sleep because he's scared about leaving his show. They manage to throw all their classic lines in a 5 minute clip, as well as sing the Teddy Bear song at the end!

What a winner. Check it out here.

(Also, in case you missed this awhile back, check out Jesse & The Rippers reuniting here.)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Boundless Generosity.

Boundless Generosity- Congrats!

Our church started a new sermon series last Sunday, and I personally love it! The message on Sunday really spoke to me. Here are the verses it was based on from 1 Timothy 6:17-19:

17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

I really liked these verses. Don't be arrogant. Material wealth is uncertain. God is the One who richly provides. Be rich in good deeds. Be willing to share. Treasure up things for a firm foundation. Take hold of the life that is truly life.

It's extremely sad how discontent people are with their lives and possessions. We always want more. The "If I could just have____, then I would be happy," mentality is far to present and consuming in our world, and it NEVER SATISFIES. The second you get whatever your fill in the blank thing is, it is usually just replaced with something else. 

Generosity is not thought of very highly or exercised often in today's world, especially in the United States. Here, it's valued to think for yourself, be driven, be first, be successful, to be the "top dog." Most people, myself included, get sucked into the "I deserve this" or "I deserve good things" attitude. 

That is so wrong. God never ever promised an easy or abundant life on earth, filled with material possessions. He does promise abundant life IN HIM, but that looks different than what the world thinks abundant means. 

There were a lot of statistics in the message, which were very convicting. In the last century, the square footage of homes has doubled while family size has been cut in half. I think he said that if you make $48,000 a year, you are in the top 4% of the entire world. That's a handful to take in. In the United States, $48,000 isn't that much- basically an entry level salary to some. A percentage that's way too high suffer from anorexia, while a percentage that's much higher than that don't have enough food to eat everyday. The poverty line in the US is around $20,000 for a small family. $20,000- that's extreme wealth to the majority of the world!

It's far too easy to allow myself to get sucked into the trap that "I don't have any money right now, so I can be generous later when we make more." But generosity isn't all about money. Generosity should be a lifestyle. If you aren't generous now with your time, efforts, talents, and money, then you probably won't be later either. 

I really like the word "boundless" in front of generosity. I think that's what God calls us to be. There's never a time where we are generous enough, but the majority tend do to as little as they can to "get by" on the generosity scale and check it off their list. I want that statement to be more influential in my life- I'm never generous enough. There is ALWAYS something more that I could do. Not that God calls us to extend ourselves out on limbs that are unhealthy and drain ourselves empty, but far too often I settle for generosity that's mediocre or shamefully small.

I want to be more generous. I want to use what money we do have to bless others. For instance, in January our church did an underwear drive for people in the community who don't have underwear. So, we don't have tons of money (we have way more school debt than we do actual money), but that's not an excuse. We can afford to buy a few packs of underwear, so I did. I want to do a better job of taking advantage of practical opportunities like that.

I want to do a better job of being generous with my time, efforts, talents, and home. I want to use my free time in ways that serve. I want to open our apartment for people to come, be encouraged, and know Him more deeply when they leave. Not only do I want to do these things, I want to have a servant's heart and a good attitude while I do them.

I want to be more generous. Boundlessly generous.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Articles floating around.

So,  I've seen these three articles floating around recently, mostly through people sharing them on Facebook, so I thought I would share them too. Each provides a great reminder for marriages.

Marriage Isn't For You- Marriage isn't about you or making you happy, it's about serving your spouse and making them happy.

I'm Dating Someone Even Though I'm Married- Just because you're married, doesn't mean you should stop dating (your spouse, to clarify what should be obvious).

Why I'm Getting A Divorce in 2014- Don't let your phone become a priority over other more important things.

(Another thing to clarify- This first article was written by a Mormon. While I am not a Mormon, the idea of his article is very thought-provoking and a good reminder that marriage isn't about me.)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Top things from the week/weekend.

January is probably my least favorite month of the year, probably because Christmas is over, it's still freezing, spring is still a ways off, and we can't go outside at school for a long long time. Also, Kley is on break for most of January, which he deserves and is great, but also tough to be so out of schedule and routine. While Kley is on break, I have been working my butt off getting ready for conferences. Not very fun.

But, I want to focus on the good things. Here are some great things that happened this week:

1. I am now ready for conferences. Yay! I have a week left to prepare what to say/go over final touches, but the big stuff is done and I am ready. It feels so good to get that done. It's a ton of work!
2. Kley went back to school this week. It's nice to be in routine again.
3. I don't know if I ever mentioned this or not, but we went to Mayo a few weeks back for Kley's stomach issues (kind of talked about here). Basically, the doctor said it was an easy case and she doubled his medication and he has been feeling much better the last few weeks.
4. After that visit, we figured out that his old medication wasn't covered (at all) under his new insurance policy that started January 1. Bummer. But, we got it figured out and we found an alternative that's supposed to do the exact same thing, and it's cheaper!
5. We had lower numbers at school last week, so it was nice to have a few easier days.
6. This is old news, but two weeks ago we had a "cold day" because it's been so freezing (polar vortex!).
7. Thursday felt like -27 outside. Unreal. Yesterday afternoon we were FINALLY able to go outside again at school and it felt like 24. 24 felt amazing after -27. Fresh air is wonderful.
8. My brother came home from his J-term trip to Spain. He also shaved his beard and cut his hair, so he's looking pretty fine.
9. We went to my parents house last night. Two out of my three siblings were there. I love my family.
10. My mom made lemon bars. Delicious.
11. My mom has been volunteering in my classroom on Wednesday mornings. It's awesome.
12. Yesterday my classroom at school got an ipad! I am so pumped.
13. It felt so great to sleep in this morning.
14. It's so nice to have free time to blog on Saturday mornings.
15. We have been watching New Girl and think it's so funny.
16. Kley and I are going on a date today. :)

Happy weekend!

Winter/arctic animal craft ideas.

Here are some craft ideas that we have done at school in the last few weeks (for Winter and Arctic Animal themes).

Heart Penguin Gluing

"W" Walrus Gluing

Snowman Gluing (one of my personal favorites- I love seeing how they build their snowmen)

Polar Bear Handprint with Snowflakes

Cool Colors Painting

Arctic Animals Watercolor Painting

Glitter Snowflakes

"I" is for Igloo Dot Marker Coloring

Mitten Decorating (We glued on colorful scrap pieces of paper and cut them out)

Made our own mitten with animals based off the book The Mitten.

Ice Skate Dot Marker Coloring

Sequin Snowflake

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Des Moines rocks.

Today Show- Des Moines

I don't have much exciting news to share. I've been spending pretty much all of my time getting ready for conferences that are coming up in a week. can watch this sweet clip from the Today Show about how great Des Moines, Iowa is!

Happy Thursday. :)

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ice skating night on the town.

Our small group social for the month was outdoor ice skating. Unfortunately, it was only us and the other couple we co-lead with (Dave and Lindsay) who showed up. Fortunately, we really like Dave and Lindsay and had a fun double date! :)

Brenton Skating Plaza- downtown Des Moines. 

Downtown Des Moines from the rink. 

The four of us. :)

Big time skaters. 

After skating we headed over to Java Joe's. We feel really cool when we go downtown because we never do.

Then we drank some hot chocolate and talked. 

It was a good night!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Candace Cameron on Submission.


Candace Cameron Bure is my favorite. She played DJ on Full House, she's a Christian, and she's sister to Kirk Cameron.

She spoke recently about being submissive to her husband. That takes boldness and strength to speak on, especially as an actress, because submission is very misunderstood and many people attack you if you bring it up.

Submission as a wife is tough for many to understand, even by Christians. I don't claim to know all the answers, but I do believe that God's plan in creating marriage, with husbands loving their wives as Christ loves the Church, and wives being submissive to their husbands, was and is a beautifully redemptive plan.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Art is more simple than you think.

I feel like many parents don't do art activities at home, which is very sad (to me, anyways). Too many people use the excuse that they "don't know how" or they "aren't artistic" or "it's too messy" or "they don't have time" to do art activities with their kids.

Here's a secret: Those excuses are NOT TRUE. Art activities are good for everyone. Art helps learn the basics- colors, shapes, textures, etc. Art helps with fine motor skills. Art helps develop creativity. Art gives you plenty of ideas for when kids are stuck inside (although there are many ways to bring art outside also) or for when kids claim they are bored. We do an art activity at school every day in my classroom of some sort, and the kids look forward to it. Most often, they flock to me when I'm getting it ready and all want a turn.

If you treasure art and make it important, kids will also. That statement is true for many things. 

Here is a tip about the mess: You handle it how you want. Sometimes kids get the most joy out of being allowed to make a huge mess. Sometimes making a mess is fun. But, most of the time, you don't want your house or classroom a gigantic mess. This is where training comes in. You teach how you want the art materials used, and it works (most of the time). The training can be tough, but it's worth it. Kids are moldable- if you teach them how to properly use art supplies, they can do it.

So, you want to implement more art activities, but don't know how? Here are some simple ideas below to have in stock at home or school, and you can use these items to create many many things. 

Dot markers- A great mix between markers and paint. Not messy, but a great alternative to doing something different than regular markers, yet not getting all the paint out.

Foam stickers- A fun alternative to regular stickers. Kids enjoy the raised texture and peeling the back off.

I prefer the wooden stamps, because they are more durable and have a good handle on them for kids to grasp. The small colored stamps in the above picture are harder for kids to hold onto and also harder for the ink to get on the stamp properly because they can't push as well with a bad grip.

Don't have stamps or money to buy them? Create your own with the foam stickers! 

If you really don't want a mess, you can also buy self inking stamps so you don't even need stamp pads.

Regular stickers- Kids never seem to get bored of them. The only problem is you need a lot, because they will peel page after page. Thankfully, you can buy stickers in bulk for pretty cheap in some places. Even Target sells 500-600+ sticker books in the dollar section fairly regularly.

Play-Doh- I know there are a ton of recipes out there for the best homemade play-doh ever, but I just haven't found one yet, or I just can't follow the recipe correctly. I still love store bought play-doh the best. My homemade kind always dries out too quickly and doesn't mold well together. But, store bought or homemade, kids love play-doh. It keeps them entertained for a long time. I have trained my kids to pick one color and that's what they get. We don't mix colors, ever. If they want a different color, they can trade seats with a friend. When they are done, they put all of their color back in the jar. So, our play-doh doesn't get mixed and it lasts for a really long time.

Along with play-doh, you need tools of some sort. We have these, and they are well loved. We also have a few pairs of play-doh scissors, not pictured, and they love cutting up play-doh. My kids love these tools more than cookie cutters.

Kids love to draw, but sometimes it can be hard to keep the 17 pictures they seem to draw everyday, and that also takes a ton of paper. So, get dry erase boards! They enjoy erasing their pictures and coloring something again and again. Crayola also makes these washable kind, and they are also cheaper than other brands!

Glue sticks- Not all art has to be super "creative." Just use all those paper scraps in your recycling bin and have kids glue them! Be sure to use glue STICKS. Glue bottles are harder to train what the "proper amount" is and it takes longer to dry. (You also have to train kids with glue sticks in twisting up the right amount, as well, but that's a lot easier.)

Scissors- Learning how to cut is hard, so putting scissors out makes is more enjoyable and fun. Give kids an old magazine and let them cut away! We have a cutting paper bin and a coloring paper bin at school, so kids don't cut up all the good paper. I just put old newspapers, magazines, paper scraps, and even wrapping paper in there, and they love cutting it into little shapes and confetti pieces. We also have a rule that whatever you cut up, you clean up.

Sequins- Sequins are my alternative to glitter. Still small and colorful, but not as messy. (We still have glitter at school, but I don't recommend glitter because it needs to be very closely monitored. And "technically," we aren't supposed to use glitter anyway because it is shards of glass that can cut your eyeball. I learned that in a training course.) With sequins, it works better to use glue bottles instead of glue sticks, so we just use the "little bit" rule. You put a little bit of glue on, then put a little bit of sequins on. (Sequins and glue bottles is a teacher monitored activity, at least for me.)

Glitter Glue- Here is a good alternative to real glitter- it's colorful and fun, but so much easier. The only problem is these don't last long, but thankfully you can buy them in the dollar section at some stores.

Everyone should have a bottle of shaving cream. Barbasol is the cheapest. Shaving cream is great for finger painting, and you can also make puffy paint. Puffy paint is fun because it's raised, and so easy to make. You just mix glue, shaving cream, and a couple drops of food coloring.

Paint- Paint is scary to some, but it doesn't have to be. I have never been brave enough to put paint out on our classroom easel, but I regularly use it during our art times. When we paint at school, I usually put it in cups (which is kind of the same as my play-doh rule). Each color has one brush, so if you want a different color, you trade the whole thing. Then the paint never gets mixed together into a yucky brown color. This works well for big groups of kids, but could still work well for even one kid by just putting small dots of paint out with different brushes. You can even buy these special paint cups with these lids, pictured below, to prevent less mess. (But only if you want to- we never use them and it still works fine. These lids also help the paint brush not tip the cup over.)

Another way to make simple painting more fun is by changing what you paint with, like these crazy fun brushes. You can paint with anything- sticks, food (corn cobs, carrots, etc.), toothbrushes, sponges, etc. You can also paint on different surfaces- try painting on aluminum foil instead of paper!

Watercolor paint- A great alternative to regular paint. You just need a little cup of water.

For older kids, perler beads are really fun, but you need an adult to iron them when completed.

For younger kids, they could just make necklaces or bracelets out of bigger beads.

Another fun idea is to make recycled crayons- you just save all the broken pieces, and melt them together! The only annoying thing is that you need lots of crayons to make this happen and it takes forever to peel the paper off. It also destroys your fingernails. But, the good thing is they last a really long time, and it can be a fun alternative to regular crayons.

So, there are some fun and simple art ideas. Most of these items are fairly cheap, but even if you don't have the budget to buy any art supplies, there are still many things you can find in nature or from recyclable items at home. Create something with leaves, toilet paper tubes, egg containers, kleenex boxes, etc.

Art is simpler than you think. Your kids will love it!

(*Note- links and images are not always the same product.)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

TV Shows.

Starting back in college, Kley and I have always liked to watch TV shows together, and we still do to this day. It's just so nice to relax before bed and watch a fun show together. TV shows are way better than movies because they are shorter, and it's much easier for us to agree on a show than a movie.

So, here are the shows we have watched. We have watched all of these in entirety, or are caught up to real time.

First up, the beginning of TV watching for us, was one of the best shows of all time- Friends.

After that, I forget the order, but here are the rest.

Lost- the worst show we have watched. There were good moments, but I was disappointed with the ending, and basically after season 1 my mind was just too blown. It's a CRAZY show with extremely weird and complicated things happening.

House- Even though House is out there, rude, doesn't care what anyone things, and addicted to Vicodin, you somehow grow to root for him. He takes all the strange medical cases no one can figure out and solves them. (And this photo definitely captures all the most important characters! The original team was the best.)

Private Practice- Another medical show, but usually focuses more on their emotional personal lives. We actually started watching this after Grey's Anatomy, but I'm listing it first because there were only 6 seasons, so we finished it awhile ago. If you don't know, Addison Montgomery (the lead character) came from Grey's originally. I was very pleased with this show's ending, and what happened with Violet's baby and with Charlotte's triplets were very memorable!

Grey's Anatomy- Still airing last season, but we have watched everything so far and loved loved it! A medical show, but mainly focused on their drama filled personal lives. We call it our "guilty pleasure."

Parenthood- Airing season 5. We didn't know about this show at first, and it took a couple episodes to get connected, but we love it now. It's NOT a medical show- ha- but about a big family (grandparents, their four kids, and their kids). It's very good.

Friday Night Lights- I originally didn't want to watch this, since it's about football, but I was wrong. I love this show so much. I even liked the football parts. 

24- This is the show we just finished, and we loved it! I actually didn't want to watch it, because it was so action filled, so we watched several other shows before we actually settled on this. Kley finally convinced me to watch it, and I'm glad he did. It was amazing- sometimes hard to watch, but you always wanted to keep watching. Jack Bauer (the main character) was with CTU (counter terrorist unit) or connected to it throughout the show, and he basically was the field ops guy who caught all the bad guys. We joked (not that this show is funny in any way) about how great of a shot Bauer was and how all the trained killers seemed to miss him. 

How I Met Your Mother (HIMYM)- Airing last season. We loved this show, but it's been harder to connect with now that we caught up to real time. We liked when we could watch back to back episodes on netflix. But, it's a very entertaining/funny show.

New Girl- This is our newest show and we are only halfway through season 1 (I think only season 3 is on TV). We were hesitant to start because it's such a new show and we don't like having to wait a week to watch, but we didn't know what else to do and a friend recommended it. It took a few episodes to connect, but it's pretty funny.