December 18, 2014

Merry CHRISTmas & A Blessed New Year!!

I am so VERY blessed by the amazing year the Lord gave my family in 2014. As I stop and reflect I am finding myself in a place of gratitude, praise, and thanksgiving, oh, and a lot of awe in the Lord! We are eager with joy and excitement to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus! Christmas time is such a beautiful time as a believer in Christ because EVERYTHING around you is beckoning you to "fall on your knees, oh hear the angels voices, oh night, divine, oh night, when Christ was born." I heard this in the Dollar Tree the other day with my 3 yr old daughter and she and I literally paused in the tupperware section and worshiped! Christmas music and decorations and food and gatherings can all stir your heart towards Christ! Let it! I heard an awesome message at a women's luncheon about the word "LET" in Colossians 3:15. We need to "LET" Christ rule in our hearts! What better and more perfect time to practice this than Christmas!

As I thought through where I have grown and what I have learned this past year I started jotting down some things. So, here are some of my 2014 milestones...

I have not been a very faithful blogger this year, but I have been a better wife & mom. I have been more focused & present in life, rather than observing and capturing life.

I still have not enrolled my boys in a sports program, but they did do music lessons and are doing AWESOME on the guitar and drums (yes, drums, lol). Wanna see them in their recital performing "Jingle Bells"...

I did not clean and organize every inch of my home during the November Organization challenge that was going around Pinterest, but I did clean and organize SOME of my home, and some is more than none!

I have not lost any weight since Summer started, but I am thinner than last year at this same time. 35 lbs thinner to be exact! (Oh yeah!!! It was a great year overall for losing weight!)

I still am horrible at meal planning and really want to be better at that, but I have been very consistent in providing yummy dinners for my husband and children. I think I like the element of spontaneity so I am learning to keep key ingredients on hand.

I am still a copycat crafter and love Pinterest, but this year I decided to put myself out there and start A Bunch of Bishops Etsy shop that features some of my own work. I am pleased to say I actually got some orders this Christmas! What a blessing!

I am still a night owl and cannot seem to get my booty out of bed before 7am, but this time last year I was not getting out of bed until 8am, so, PROGRESS!!!

In 2015 I hope to grow in my walk with the Lord, grow in my marriage and be a strength to my husband, and lead my children in wisdom and grace by the Lord's guidance, and also extend my hand out to those that are in need around me. Basically, I want to grow up to be the P31 woman :)

Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes! Bless the Lord oh my soul.

Blessings,
Janiene


November 3, 2014

A Month of Othersmindedness

This will be a running blog post.
I will update this post as the month progresses.
Come back and check in, often.
Here we go...


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I think I love it because it is all about giving thanks and blessing others and opening your home to anyone and everyone. November is all about pausing, taking time to reflect on the goodness of God, and then seeking to bless others.

So for the month of November, my blog will be all about blessing OTHERS!

The theme verse for Others November is,
Philippians 2:3b "count OTHERS more significant than yourselves."

Here are some of othersminded activities...
*deliver groceries to a shut-in
*neighbor gifts
*hot chocolate stand for passerby's (with a candycane & gospel tract for each person)
*mailing out anonymous encouragement cards
*adopt a missionary and pray for them daily
*donate goods to Salvation Army
*collect cans and bottles, bag them up and set them on the top of trashcan for the sweet lady who comes by on trash day to collect them out of my trashcan :)
*cards to soldiers
*allowing others to go before you in line if they seems rushed
etc., etc., etc.

As the month goes along I will post photos and share some othersminded ideas. This has nothing to do with showing you anything good about ourselves (Rom 3:10), rather, it has everything to do with stirring you up for OTHERS. I really considered whether sharing our acts of service was right or wrong. I thought about the verses that talk about not letting your right hand know what your left hand is doing, and, when you give do not do it for all to see (Matthew 6).

The Bible says to stir one another up for love and good works, to encourage one another while it is still today! So, here I am trying to encourage you to go be OTHERS minded this month! :) As a young mom I had no clue how to bring my children into serving others. I searched the blogs and prayed for ways to reach out to others. It all started with prayer and then looking for inspiration from other moms around me. I share this blog post with you, filed with some of our ways to reach out to others, all in the attempt to stir you up and give you inspiration, like I received. Our family is nothing special and we are not seeking to receive praise in any way. We seek to stir you up. Plain & simple. So, go, get busy praying about how you can be a blessing to others...

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11/5 - Checking in and I have some things to report :)

Last night I was at Walmart and let a lady go in front of me in line. She was so thankful she kept smiling at me and thanking me. Blessing others by letting them go first is an easy and awesome way to be OTHERS minded.

A few days ago I made some cinnamon chip oatmeal cookies using the "vanishing oatmeal cookies" recipe on the Quaker Oats container. I omit the ground cinnamon in the recipe and add 1 cup of cinnamon chips in it's place. They are super yummy this way! My neighbor came home as they were coming out of the oven so we ran a plate full of cookies over to them. You too can go and be OTHERS minded by showing your neighbors some cookie love! :)

Tonight I let my sweet daughter paint my fingernails and toenails. This too is othersmindedness cause she really wanted to "help" me :) I will admit, letting her paint my nails was my favorite way to show love to OTHERS today :)

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11/17 - Checking in and I have some more things to report :)

I have been participating in a November home de-clutter challenge with my friends. I had a huge pile of clothing and household items that we were able to donate to the needy. Yay!

I gathered together some coats we were no longer using and I am donating them to our church's homeless ministry. Our church has a passion for the homeless in our community, which is right were my heart is too!! Have some old coats you are not using? Donate them to the homeless in your area! Last year my kids and I delivered our coats and warm socks to the homeless directly. My kids still talk about that day. Oh I pray that they catch a spark that burns to a blazing passion for the lost and hurting around them!!

I gathered all of our bottles and cans and set them in a bag on top of our trashcan for the sweet lady who comes by each week to find recycled goods in peoples trash. She found them sitting on top and took them :) It's even in this simple way that you can be othersminded. Pray for the Lord to open your eyes to the needs around you and give you a passion to support and bless others. 

And, on Saturday morning we are setting up a hot chocolate and lemonade stand at the grandparents house to bless the neighbors and raise money for a great cause! All the money that the kids make will be donated to the ministry Promise Child (http://www.promisechild.org)

Today we are off to Walmart to gather supplies to make homeless care packages & neighbor gifts.

Homeless care packages...

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November 22 ~
We set up a bake sale & hot chocolate stand to raise money for Promise Child ministry (www.promisechild.org). My kids did awesome explaining what they were raising money for and they were blessed with generous donations and chose to bless a family in Nepal with a goat and some chickens :) 

November 2, 2014

Pumpkin Stamping with a Toilet Paper Roll

My daughter and I stayed home from church because we both had a very bad night of sleep. She woke up all through the night, and I woke up with her to check on her. We were exhausted today...but never too tired to paint something. Today we created a field of pumpkins using a toilet paper roll, some paint and a marker. I am sure you have seen this craft done a million times! This craft idea is nothing new. I just wanted to share how we did our pumpkin stamping during our craft time today. 

What's different about our version of the toilet paper pumpkins is that I like to use multiple techniques. The techniques we used today were stamping, painting, drawing, and finger painting. Here is what you will need:
Orange paint
Green paint
Brown marker
Fine-tip paintbrush
Toilet paper roll
Paper

Using the toilet paper roll, press one side into the orange paint and then press that painted circle down on your paper. Create however many pumpkins you would like in your field, applying a new coat of paint to the toilet paper roll each time. Next use the paint brush to paint stripes onto the pumpkins. You will then need to draw the brown vines with the marker. Finally you will dip your finger in the green paint and make a fingerprint leaf on the brown vines. Voila!

Here is the amazing field of pumpkins my 3 year old little pumpkin created...

We had so much fun! Messy, but fun.
Now to go take long naps and recoup from last night.

Blessings,
Janiene

October 30, 2014

Thankful

My dear bloggy friend Angela invited me to join in on her thankfulness link party. I have been wanting to post a weekly thankful post for some time and now I am going to do it! :)

Angela blogs over at www.angelastrand.com and I encourage you to go and read everything she has ever posted. She is a great mom, wife, and lover of Jesus. She inspires me and I can relate to her in a myriad of ways :)

On to my thankful list...

Thankful to be back studying the book of Hebrews again. Wow it is such a good book!

Thankful for hand drawn Christmas lists, even though it is October :) I received these adorable Christmas lists from my boys. I love these! This is the first time they have ever given me a list :)

I'm thankful for my baking times with my daughter. We did a lot of baking last week and when we bake together I have to hold back my emotions the whole time. It is a precious time spent with my sweet girl. She is a sneaky girl though and I always catch her nibbling on the dough...

Thankful for my times exploring with this cutie, it is always the best way to spend a day...

I'm thankful for this photo my husband captured. It is a rare but special blessing to be in a photo with my kiddos since I am usually the one taking all the shots :)

Thankful for my arts and crafts times with my kiddos. With homeschooling we explore together, create together, learn together, and live out life together. I'm thankful a million times over for the opportunity to stay home with my kids and make things like these maple leaf impressions...

Thankful for midweek bible study in the book of Proverbs. Last night this verse stood out to me: "Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in him." Prov 30:5

And today I am thankful for a science experiment that worked! We made this bottle thermometer and at first it was leaking so I readjusted it and now it is measuring the weather! The kids are super excited to watch the temperature rise as the water heats up and expands. Yay!

And lastly, I am thankful for Angela who encouraged me to stop and blog about what I was thankful for this week. Thank you Angela!

Blessings to you all,
Janiene





October 19, 2014

Japanese Weather Predicting Game

We have been using a curriculum called "5 in a Row" to explore social studies, history, geography, science, cooking, and some math too, all through reading some amazing children's books. We are loving the style of this curriculum and have even been inspired to grab other books that are not part of the curriculum and create our own unit studies (like our unit on Johnny Appleseed). 

Last week we had a blast reading "A Pair of Red Clogs", which is one of the recommended books from "5 in a Row"...

In the book we learned about some Japanese culture and history. The little girls in the book also play a weather predicting game with their clogs and I thought it would be fun to play the game with the kids. To play the game you simply throw your clog (or in our case, our shoe) and depending on how it lands it will predict the weather. If the shoe lands right-side-up then it will be a fine day tomorrow. If the shoe lands on it's side then it will snow. Lastly, if the shoe lands upside-down it will rain. I love the illustrations in this book! Just look at the look of determination on the little girls face as she tosses her clog...

So we headed outside and the kids lined up to toss their shoes...

We tossed the shoe 8 times and graphed the results each time it landed...

We had a column for "sunny", "snowy", and "rainy". 
Based on the data that both boys gathered, their shoes predicted that the weather would be fine the next day...

After graphing everything they journaled about their findings (I helped my kindergartner on the left, lol). This was the funnest game to play! We now find ourselves randomly taking off our shoes and tossing them to predict the weather for the next day. I wonder what our neighbors must think of us! Haha! 

I encourage you to join in the fun of this ancient Japanese weather predicting game by taking a shoe off and tossing it!

Blessings, Janiene