It’s Funny…

You know how I’ve been talking about flexibility lately?

Well this week was another one of those weeks.  I seem to be having a lot of those.  The funny part is that I was trying to catch up on my reading for the Bible study I’m involved in at church. Starting way back at four weeks ago (because that’s how far behind I am!), the lesson was on…FLEXIBILITY!  I think Someone is trying to tell me something.

My favorite lesson was “Day 5” of the study, entitled, “Follow God’s Plans”.  The lesson begins with the readings of Acts 10:9-48 and Acts 16:6-10.  In both of these stories, God leads His people where He needs them to go–not necessarily where they planned to go.  Wherever God has made His plan evident, He succeeds.  It is our plans, as humans, that fail.

The next reading comes from Psalm 33:10-11.

10 The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations
    and thwarts all their schemes.
11 But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever;
    his intentions can never be shaken.

And lastly, from Proverbs 19:21:

21 You can make many plans,
    but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.

Isn’t it true?  As much as we try to plan out our days, our weeks, our years, and our entire lives, it is rare that everything goes as planned.

I can’t even tell you how many times I made all of these great plans…only to be deterred.  I was going to go to a college four hours away; I ended up at a college close to home.  I decided on a major in Business Administration (I hated it!); I ended up in Professional Writing.  I planned to do whatever I wanted; I ended up with a baby.  And then a husband.  And two step daughters.  And then another baby.  And here I am.  I planned to be a lifer at my former employer; here I am seven months later, spending more time with my kids, getting more done at home, doing Gods work, and blogging on the side.  Oh, and selling Thirty-One!  (Can’t forget that!)

How different my plans were from God’s!

As much as it is frustrating to have our plans thwarted by circumstances we can’t control, try to remember that God may just have different plans than you do.  Hang on…you’re in for quite a ride!

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DIY Raised Garden Bed

do-it-yourself raised flower bed

For a while now, I’ve been wanting a raised garden bed in our backyard.  Our front yard is only so big so I didn’t have any more room for flowers, and we definitely didn’t have any space for a vegetable garden.  Our back yard has been so run down by the dog and the kids that I was afraid to plant anything back there for fear it would be trampled.

I’ve been checking out Pinterest and some of my favorite blogs just keeping an eye on things. I’d also looked at some kits and talked to some friends who had them or knew people who had them.

Then yesterday, we finally had just enough money that we could build it.  My loving husband did some research in the morning and went out to Home Depot for the supplies.  Here’s what he picked up:

1x6x6 picket fence boards cut to 5 ft and 2 ft
2×2 grading stakes for corner posts
1×2 grading stakes for added support
Top Soil
Potting Soil

building a raised flower bed
Initially, Prince Charming put together the planter before driving the stakes in the ground, as our ground isn’t very level, and he wanted to make sure the box was level.  He is, however, planning to try it a little differently today.  I’m providing instructions for his plans for today.

First Prince Charming cut down the picket fence boards to 5 ft and 2 ft.  We wanted our box placed between some existing metal posts in our yard and about 2 feet out to cover the torn up yard, so ultimately the box would be a final 10×2.  Our box is 6″ high.  Height for raised flower beds tend to vary between 6″-12″ on planter boxes depending on your preference and your yard.

Next, Prince Charming attempted to level out the ground (as much as possible) so that the box would be level.  He then drove the corner stakes into the ground and screwed the 5-foot and 2-foot sides of the box to stakes.  After that, he drove the center stakes into the ground halfway between the corner stakes and attached the respective sides to those stakes.

After all this, we filled the box with 4″ of top soil followed by about 1″ of potting soil, and we were done.

We put one planter box together yesterday and will finish the second one today.  Eventually we’ll build two more, but for now we’re just sticking with two.  This project cost us a grand total of $65.81 for both boxes (including soil), which makes each box $32.91 (including soil).

Hubby did great with our resources on this one!  Most boxes you have to spend at least $30 on (for just the box), and we’ve noticed that they tend to bow outward after a while.  These should be fairly sturdy, and are even cheaper than what you’ll find at the stores.  You can’t beat it!

two girls with dirty hands

Cinderella and Tinkerbell show proof of their hard work!

Thanks to Home Depot for the good prices!

And…since we ended up putting together the raised flower beds yesterday, we switched the days on our summer calendar.  So yesterday was our “Plant a Garden” day.  Tinkerbell and Rapunzel planted some flowers and greenery my stepmom gave me, and today we will plant some vegetables, including cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots.  We’ll also make our homemade lemonade tomorrow.

This was a great family activity.  THANK YOU to Prince Charming for spending all his time and effort on this project for me!  Even Wendy and Cinderella helped out a little bit (even though Cinderella had a strenuous weekend helping my in-laws).  I can’t wait to see our plants grow!

NOTE: For those concerned about the chemicals in pressure-treated wood like fence posts, I am currently not concerned with the risks, as the dangers from these chemicals are very small.  If you’d like more information, please visit the following links:

 

Returning for Summer

I have 89 emails in my inbox.

I should read them.  Or sort them.  Or something.

I should be working.  Or keeping my kids from drowning our potted plants in their pool water.

But I’m not.

I haven’t been here for about 3 months.  Three days after my last post, my oldest biological daughter’s father passed away unexpectedly, and I didn’t know how to deal with telling the world.  A wild mix of emotions was involved, including past hurts, what ifs, anger, some depression, grief.  You name it, I felt it.  Then dealing with his family–that was a whole issue in itself.  I discovered who was really family and who wasn’t.

Well anyway, I’m back for now.  I actually was reading through all of the emails in my inbox when I felt the urge to write today.

Summer is quickly approaching.

By noon next Friday, we’ll be parents of a preschooler, an elementary-schooler, a middle-schooler, and a high-schooler.  Scary territory.  Scary and exciting.

And we have an exciting summer ahead of us!

After scouring Pinterest, the web, Facebook, and my friends’ ideas, I put together a plan for my kids over the summer.

First I made our Summer bucket list, borrowed a calendar from another blogger, and filled in some blanks with some of my favorite ideas.  I left Tuesdays and Thursdays mostly open for the summer park program.  As soon as I get the map for the program, I’ll be able to plan those days as well.

Of course our plans may change based on weather, health, and ability, but we’re going to try to accomplish everything on our list.

Check out our plans for the summer.  I hope it helps you to plan yours!  I can’t wait to share our adventures with you!

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Happy summering!

Check it out!  Linking up at:

Lil\'Luna

When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned

I have to admit–earlier this week, I was seriously thinking about quitting the blog thing.  I’m just not happy with my numbers–no non-spam comments, small number of views, etc.  The problem with that is that I’m not in the habit of quitting things easily.  I never have been.  Well some things.  Some things I quit pretty easily–like dieting.  Exercising.  Okay scratch that, maybe I quit about half of the things in my life, but that’s not the point.

Getting something started is even more difficult than keeping it going, though.  There are always those excuses running through my head: “I can’t, because I don’t have time.  I don’t have the money.  I don’t have the energy.  I’m not smart enough, beautiful enough…”  The list could go on forever.  You get the gist.

I can’t tell you how many times I thought I should just give up Thirty-One, because I don’t have the sales I want.  Heck sometimes I want to quit parenting.  (Who doesn’t?)

At the end of the day, the best laid plans don’t always work out.  For instance, I lay out my schedule all nice and neat at the beginning of the week, but here I am on Thursday evening, and I haven’t put much work into my blog, I haven’t booked nearly enough parties or talked enough about recruiting.  I haven’t done enough work for the church, and I haven’t done my filing.  Or the ironing.  Or finishing the laundry in general.

But that’s because I have two kids with ear infections.  And one got bitten by the dog yesterday when she shut him in our teeny tiny bathroom (who wouldn’t be claustrophobic in there with the door closed???)…so one thing leads to another, and I’ve lost countless hours of time that I could have been doing “more important things”.

Instead, I was a parent.  I sat with my little girl in the Emergency Room, stroked her hair, cleaned her wounds, gave her medicine, researched earache remedies (again), took temperatures, and got up in the middle of the night to snuggle.

So I suppose at the end of the day, it’s okay that I missed out on my business opportunities, my clean house, etc.  Because I got to spend some much-needed time with my kids.  There are so many more children out there who need that.

And the Bride Wore White: Review and Giveaway

And the Bride Wore White book cover

Today, over at MODSquad (Mothers of Daughters–that’s me!), Tracie has posted a review of Dannah Gresh’s And the Bride Wore White, a book that discusses the why of sexual purity–a topic that girls today desperately need to understand.  And something I wish I had known when I was a teenager.

Check out the review and enter to win a free copy of the book!  Follow this link: And the Bride Wore White Review and Giveaway

Goals for the Week of February 17

I skipped my goals for last week, so we’re going to try again this week.  Here are my goals for this week.  Wish me luck!

Spiritual

  • Devotions each day
  • Devotions with Prince Charming each day
  • Help kids memorize their verse for Wednesday
  • Daily prayers

Family

  • Call Grandpa
  • Call Grammie
  • Spend time with the kids
  • Schoolwork with Rapunzel each day
  • Remember Spring pictures on Thursday for Rapunzel

Business

  • Send invites for 3/24 party
  • Follow-up with invitees for recruiting party
  • Training video
  • Complete at least one additional hour of training
  • Book two more parties for March
  • Close party
  • Follow up with previous customers
  • Process return
  • Move inventory
  • Meeting on Thursday

Personal

  • Budget
  • Balance checkbook
  • Filing
  • Taxes (YUCK)
  • Scan pictures

Physical

  • Exercise 3 times
  • Drink 8 glasses of water per day

Cleaning

  • Kitchen
  • Floors
  • Downstairs bathroom
  • Upstairs bathroom
  • Ironing (my favorite)

How a Penny Taught My Daughter About Diversity

Diversity
All this month, because it is black history month, I have been thinking about how might be the best way to talk to my children about race.  My half-brother is bi-racial, and it’s important to me that my children be aware that God made all of us the same inside no matter how we look on the outside.  I’ve constantly been at work with this whenever we see somebody who is in a wheelchair or who has a visible deformity.

For instance, last week at the post office, we saw a man who had a severe limp.

“Why does that man walk funny?”  Rapunzel asked me, a little too loud for comfort.

I’m not sure if the man heard her, but if he did, I hope he heard my response as well.  I decided to tell her that sometimes people are born that way.  Sometimes, something happens to people–either they get sick or they are in an accident–that changes the way they look, move, or talk.  And that whatever the case, God made us all special and He loves us all the same.

The opportunity came to me on Monday to speak of race, when Rapunzel came home from

school having learned about the penny.  The worksheet she had asked who the president was on the front of the penny.

“Do you know who President Lincoln is?”  I asked (knowing she didn’t know, of course).

“No.”

From there, I gave a brief synopsis of slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation, emphasizing

the fact that our ancestors enslaved other people just because they looked different.

“Do you think God loves us any different because our skin is a different color?”  I asked.

“No,” Rapunzel replied.

“Did you know that Mommy’s brother has different colored skin?”

Rapunzel gasped.  “Really?”

“Yes,” I replied, “And actually, today is his birthday!  He is twenty-three.”

I proceeded to show her a picture.  “Isn’t he handsome?”  I asked.

“Yes, he is very handsome,” she replied, “Can I make him a birthday card?”

So I spent much time and effort looking for fun, cute printables on black history month just so I could teach my daughter about diversity, when really…all I needed was a penny.

Children’s Book Review: Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep by Maureen Wright

Sleep Big Bear Sleep by Maureen Wright
This week, Rapunzel brought home a new book from the school library called Sleep, Big Bear Sleep by Maureen Wright.  I have to say this is probably the best book she’s brought home from school.

What’s even better is that, right now,  the kindergarten class is discussing what animals do in the winter.  In this book, the wind tries and tries and tries to tell Big Bear to go to sleep for the winter, but Big bear just doesn’t get it.

This book was not only well written, but it was a fun, imaginative story with fantastic illustrations by Will Hillenbrand.  This is one book that I would purchase to read over and over again.

 

Blogs You Must Follow

So…I was actually going to post about Black History Month, which begins today.  But as I was doing some research, I realized that what I really wanted to do was going to be a bit more involved than what I had planned on.  So I had to come up with something else.

Waaay back when I was in high school, I had a blog on Digital Expressions, where I was one of the top bloggers.  Of course, back then, I was just writing to write, I had more time, and I’m pretty sure “blogging” wasn’t even a term yet.

Skip ahead 10 or 11 years.  Now I keep finding all of these blogs that I need to follow.  I’m not even sure how it started–Pinterest, maybe?  In any case, I found a handful that I now follow “religiously”, for lack of a better term.  And because I always find great stuff, I feel they’re worth sharing.  Check them out!

Hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Best Free Android Apps for Parents (Also According to Us!)

Okay, so last week I gave you the list of our recommended free apps for kids (on android devices).  This week, I’m presenting you with our list of our recommended android apps for parents.  Whether you use them or not may depend on how old your child is and what stage she’s in, but nevertheless…check it out anyway.  Hopefully you’ll find something useful.

cozi


Cozi
We absolutely LOVE this app!  We’ve had it for over a year now and use it all the time–from scheduling, to “to-do” lists, to grocery lists.  We each have a wish list on it, so I don’t have to remember what everybody wants when it’s time to buy gifts; we can color code each person, and have text or email reminders sent to each person at a specified time before an event.  Add extra alarms or additional features for a nominal cost.

Parent App Logos


First Aid
Self-explanatory.  Have a boo-boo that you don’t know how to fix?  Check out the American Red Cross First Aid app.

life360


Life 360
For anybody in your family who has a phone (especially those teenagers!), add the app to all phones and create a username and password.  Wherever the phone is, you will be able to track it.  I’ve used this when my husband leaves work late (and I’m panicking), but I’ve also used it to find my phone when I left it at church.  You can also check in, request a check-in or call for help using the buttons on this app.  I’ve never had to call for help using this app, but I’ve checked in when it’s late at night or can’t talk.

focusonthefamily


Focus on the Family
Sign up and login with Focus on the Family to view articles and advice from this Christian resource.  For those of you who love Focus on the Family and/or whose children already receive Clubhouse, Clubhouse Jr., or watch JellyTelly, you’ll enjoy this app as well.

workingmother


Working Mother
The Working Mother app is another one of my favorites, because it allows you to be interactive with your Working Mother magazine.  If you receive this magazine but don’t use this feature, download it, because you can find some additional information when you scan the icon in your magazine.

giftstogrow


Pampers
I know I’m not the only mom who loves Pampers–or Pampers Gifts to Grow points!  For a simple way to record your points (rather than logging into your account), download this app, type in your code, and go!  Nice and simple.  🙂


Which free parenting android apps do you love the most?