Monday, August 18, 2014

Media Fast

Hi, friends!

I'm going to be off blogger and most other media for an indefinite amount of time.
This is because I am fighting for break-through in some areas of my life.
It's also tied to my new year's resolutions :)
Wishing you successful new year's resolutions,


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Resolutions Reflections

I've been thinking it's high time for a reflection on my goals for 2014, what with summer drawing to a close and a new school year on the horizon. 

To make things just a bit fun, I'll rate myself just like I do on my students' report cards:
1 - not able to do this without help
2 - can do some of it
3 - totally on target!
4 - above and beyond what was expected

And now for my goals:

Faith - (More consistent time with Jesus) 
I have been having time with Jesus pretty darn consistently this year, complemented by the devotional Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. What God has been showing me through these times is that I need to stay in touch with Him throughout the day, asking for His advice before making decisions and asking for His strength in the face of temptations. 
Rating: 3

Food - (healthier eating) 
I've made a permanent change to non-dairy beverages. I'm aware of my gluten intake. Buuuut, I think I can continue to work in my intake of sweet and...darn it...chips.
Rating: 2

Family - (no tube time except with family or friends) 
I now watch Emma Approved exclusively with my Mom. I don't watch TV, movies, or YouTube by myself (unless it's a quick clip or Sounders soccer highlights). However, let's be honest -- I have cheated on a few occasions, so for that reason I give myself a ....
Rating: 2.5

Fourth-grade - (1 random act of kindness per day at work)
TOTALLY dropped the ball on this!
Rating: 1

Fun - (trip to Mexico)
Okay, not only did I stinking go to Mexico this summer, but I also went camping twice (soon to be four times), stayed over at my sister's a couple of times, and hosted 1 youth and 2 adult sleepovers at my house this summer, complete with outdoor movies, swimming, and hide and seek in the dark! Have I had fun? Oh, yes!
Rating: 4

So there you have it! I can see that the random act of kindness and healthy eating goals can become more of a focus for me.

Did you set goals for 2014? How are yours coming along?

Monday, June 16, 2014

First-rate and Flops: A Reflection of the Year

It's hard to believe the school year ended already! My classroom is bare and empty, and 24 chairs will sit cold until 24 little bottoms warm them again in September.

I've already moved on to next year in my mind - and in my classroom! After a weekend to relax while camping, I was re-energized to get into my classroom this morning. I doled out last year's files to the 5th grade teachers and created new files for my incoming class.

Before I go any further down the road of preparation for next year, though, I'd like to take some time to reflect on the last year - what worked and what didn't.

Here's what worked:

Sock Snowmen
As a culmination to our fraction unit and a salute to the winter, we measured fractional amounts of rice to create these adorable sock snowmen! The kids cradled and loved them, PLUS they went home as decor for the holidays! This was a fun way to put our basic fraction learning to practice. I wrote all about it here.


After reading The Read-Aloud Handbook, I was more convinced than ever of the importance of read-aloud for kids of any age! I was fortunate enough to come across a reading program that uses a shared reading of a novel to teach key CCSS reading AND writing standards! It's called the C.I.A. approach. You can read more about it on the C.I.A. website.

Anyway, I put this to the test and tried my first deep study of a read-aloud/shared read novel. Each kid followed along with a copy of the same book I was reading from. Together, we analyzed the main character's feeling, inferred his motivations, deduced the author's message, and summarized our findings. Complete with sentence stems and turn and talk partners, we were finally able to have intellectual conversations about a novel, and EVERY child had access to a grade-level text!

I am planning on doing two C.I.A. units next year.

My Favorite No
My colleague showed me how she did exit tickets. She calls it "My Favorite No." It's a quick way to sort your exit tickets and turn them into a learning opportunity for all. I wrote about it here. What's awesome is the kids were super engaged during this activity!

Calendar Math
I used Stephanie's 4th grade calendar math template this year and saw my kids master skills I couldn't have made happen otherwise! Factors, multiples, median, mode - easy peasy for these guys, thanks to Calendar Math!

Rolling our Numbers
We followed in the footsteps of Kipp Journey Academy and rolled our numbers routinely to help us memorize the multiples of the numbers 1 through 9. Again, this activity  had high engagement, which is half the battle! Also, it was great to see kids reciting the chants as they practiced their multiplication facts.

I felt empowered through these chants to help kids who struggled with basic facts move in the direction of memorizing them. I knew the chants had been successful when one such student declared, "oh, 4's are easy!"

Basic Facts Banana Splits

Speaking of multiplication facts, a huge motivator for my kids to master their facts was our basic facts banana split party!

As we studied each fact, students had the opportunity to test out of that fact. As they did, they earned their way to a banana split.

For their 0's, they earned a place mat. For their 1's they earned a bowl. For their 2's, they earned a banana...and so on until they earned an entire banana split!

This was culminated with an actual banana split party, where each kid got to enjoy what they had earned! This was the most motivating thing I have found for basic facts! Kids were practicing facts at home and requesting to stay in from recess so they could re-take a fact quiz!

Aaand, here's what flopped:

Writing entry task
I began the year with high hopes that my students would become writers! With this vision, I instituted a daily writing entry task! That's a great idea, you think! Yes, it is! So, why did it flop? Well, simply because I did not have enough time to grade and provide feedback on student work often enough to make it worthwhile. It's as simple as that.

Communication Journals
This was another step toward my vision of creating a classroom full of writers. Each kid had a journal they would write to me in once a week. And I would write back. Yeah. That's the catch. Once again, I just could not keep up with the pile of journals to respond to. However, I did LOVE interacting one-on-one with my students in this way. Our conversations allowed me to see into their lives in a beautiful way. I'm thinking I'll try this again next year on a more infrequent basis!

Team Tasks
As a GLAD-trained teacher, I went all-out and had teams work on open-ended tasks while I worked with a small group of students. The problem: poor quality. I WILL try this again next year, but perhaps with some more guidelines and/or sample products for the kids to follow.

I-Time Independents

Similarly, I needed something for the majority of my class to do while I met with a small reading group every day. So I came up with this GREAT idea - each kid had two weeks to complete 3 projects: a book report, a writing piece, and a poem recitation!

This was actually really fun and (I believe) has great potential. However, like with my other flops, the problem came down to not being able to provide guidance and/or prompt feedback. Imagine grading 3 projects for each of 10 kids in one day! That's insane!

So there you have it - the first-rate successes from the year, and the unfortunate flops.

Reflection is always motivating!

Already the wheels are turning... what will the coming school year hold?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer Reading List

Hello, ladies! I hope you are enjoying your summer. 

I am basking in my family's last few days visiting relatives and and seeing sights in Mexico, so I wrote this post WAAAAY long ago (sometime in June). Since then, my reading list hasn't changed, but I've already finished some, so those have been marked.

Here's a peek at my Mexico trip, and my summer reading list will follow!
(In both photos, you can see my white self on the far right, by my clearly not-white cousin America.)

At the start of 2014, I set a few resolutions. One of them involved increased time spent with friends. What better way is there to bring friends together than with a great story and great coffee?

Granted, I'm not too much of a coffee drinker, but I'll take a good story any day. 

So I formed a book club, albeit a small one (just a couple of friends and me). We read a book each month and discuss it weekly-ish over coffee (or tea) and a flaky pear tart,....or an almondine, or a croissant cinnamon roll, or a blueberry muffin, or...shall I go on? Don't worry. I won't. Because that's not the purpose of this post.


Without further ado, 

My summer reading list:

Book Club books:
1. At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald (now finished! It was a re-read.)
2.  The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Teacher books:
3. The Essential 55 by Ron Clark (Finished during a camping trip in June. :)
4. The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease (Also finished, during this trip to Mexico! I HIGHLY recommend this book to ALL parents, teachers, aunties, older siblings...)

4th Grade Books:
5. How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor
6. Streams to the River, River to the Sea by Scott O'Dell

So there it is! 6 books, which is perfect, because I dug up some research to share with my students that said the magic number of books to read over summer break, in order to retain what you've learned as a reader, is 6. I am *expecting* them all to read 6 books over the break, and I'll be reading my 6, as well. 

What are you reading? I'm interested to see!

Linking up with Morgan at Follow and Believe (here's the URL to her blog, since I can't embed a link on my iPad: )

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

NAS One Year Anniversary

So sorry, ladies, for my absence! It's that time of year (report cards!) because of this, even this post will be short and sweet!

In short, congratulations to Jen and Morgan, founders of the Not Alone Series! You two acted on a God-inspired idea that has blessed so many of us! 

I've been a part of the Not Alone Series for such a short time -- only about a month or so -- but maybe I should tell you why I joined in the first place. 

Like many of you, I am single. With each passing year, I kind of feel like, "Okay, God, when I said I'd wait for your timing, I didn't think it would mean waiting this long...we're kind of getting down to wire here, aren't we?" And, while there are moments I am so content, and actually GRATEFUL I'm single, there are the other times, when I thought for sure a relationship would start with this guy, and next thing I know he's together with someone else and I'm crying and asking God, "What is WRONG with me?" 

It was shortly after one such experience that I thought,  I just feel so lonely. I called my sister up. My friend called me up. She told me about NAS. I joined. And now here we are! 

It has been encouraging to read all your posts, and it has been awesome for me to write the [measly] few posts that I have. 

Great topics, great gals, and a great God in the center of us all! Honestly, how could it get any better?

Happy anniversary, NAS,
Thanks to Bek for the shout-out!

Linking up with Jen and Morgan

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Always the Cure

What do do when I am lonely?

Call my sister?
No, she's busy, likely.

Text a friend?
No, we'll talk, shortly.

Watch a movie?
Journal? Walk?
Check my email?
Post a thought?

What do do when I am lonely?

I know! 
I'll read a book!

I do it.
I do it all.
But still the eyes fill and empty.
Still the emptiness gnaws.

What can curb it?
I know this!

What to do when I am lonely?

Haven't I known it all along?
How could I have been so foolish?
How is it I misunderstood the invitation
With it knocking at my heart?

Hello, Jesus!
There you are!
Welcome in!
I may have tarried, but
Here I am.

Perpetually Single

So, what's so cool about being perpetually single?

Let me tell you:


Free what? you say.

Free time
Free food (Thanks, Mom!)
Free to devote myself to God
Free to spend & save
Free to go or stay
Free to serve

There truly is something very freeing about being single.
I've actually caught myself thinking, "As long as I don't get married within the next two years, I can save up enough money to..."

Also, if I wasn't single, could I babysit this adorable niece at a moment's notice?

Likely not.

Wow! I am grateful for this post. It's changing my perspective on singleness.

Thank you, NAS ladies, for letting me alter this week's topic a bit to fit my situation, and thanks for the topic! It couldn't have come at a better time.

Linking up with Morgan!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

All the single ladies talk about...Marriage!

Most of us feel called to the vocation of marriage...but what is it exactly that I'm attracted to?

I have undergone so many distinct attitudes toward marriage that you wouldn't believe it. Or maybe you would!

In high school, I read Elisabeth Elliot's biography of Amy Carmichael, a missionary to Japan who never married. I was so inspired by Amy's devotion that I vowed to be like her -- not to be a missionary, OH, no! -- but to never marry. Jesus and Paul's words and examples seemed to support my decision. 

To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. (1 Corinthians 7:8, 9 ESV)

Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.” (Matthew 19:12 ESV)

Perhaps you can understand, then, why I was offended the year after high school, while attending a church that was new for me, when one of the leaders made this comment, "Most of you will be married one day." 

'Why?' I thought. Why this expectation for us to marry? Why all this emphasis on the holiness of marriage, when Jesus Himself, the Holiest of Holies, never married?

But there are two ways to look at Jesus, aren't there? He was both fully man and fully God. As man, he never married. As God, He is betrothed.

That same year, I learned a whole new side of God, and of myself. The heart of a mother awakened within me. I know you can have spiritual sons and daughters, but I truly believed I would have sons and daughters of the flesh.

The next thought naturally followed: "If I want to be a mom, I have to first be a wife." That was what "turned me on" to marriage. 

Over the 6 years since that heart change, marriage has held several other attractions for me - some most definitely false! (Like when I think that everything will just be BETTER once I'm married!)

As things stand right now, I'm just excited to be a part of a forever, covenental partnership - where we can share a vision, consult each other on important decisions, see the best in each other while speaking the truth in love, seek God together, minister together, raise children together, go deeper together.

It's what we all want, isn't it? Whether from a husband or from our closest friends and family, we long for togetherness. 

But, until marriage knocks on this girl's door, my plan is to live out my calling anyway. Be a daughter to my parents. Be a mother to my students. Be a mentor to the teenage girls at my church. Form covenental relationships with close friends and family. Seek God with them. I can't just sit around and wait until marriage to do these things. My calling is for now!

So this is a truth that I am constantly being reminded of and working out. When Loneliness comes knocking at my door, her sister Longing tagging behind with their cousin Discontent, God is always so faithful to intervene. 

"No," He says. "She's mine! And I am all she needs."

So, cheers, ladies! Whether we marry soon, later, or never, until then and forever, He is all we need!

Linking up with Jen at Jumping in Puddles

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Favorite No

Teachers are always looking for ways to turn a mistake into a learning opportunity.

And this is not just teachers of school stuff. It's teachers of life stuff, too. (Duh!)

My colleague has recently shared something with me that I tried for the first time today, and that I feel I'm going to LOVE.

It's called "My Favorite No."

So here's how it works (in 5 super simple steps):

  1. Give the students some sort of quick exercise (I'm using this with exit tickets, but the teacher in the video I'll post uses it with the opposite - warm-up activities).
  2. Either right in front of the kids, or while they are working on something else, quickly separate the student work into 2 piles: a "Yes, they got it!" pile, and a "No" pile.
  3. Pick your favorite "no" - the answer should be wrong, but it should also show some good work, and/or a really common mistake.
  4. Either copy the student work onto a blank sheet in front of the class, or put the original work under the document camera, with the student's name covered.
  5. Have the class help you analyze the work, identifying both the good work and the mistake.
And there you have it!

With a class mix of perfectionists, embarraseds, deniers, and cluelesses, this daily or almost-daily activity has the potential to remove those insecurities, remind kids that everyone makes mistakes just like theirs, and teach us that we can learn something from every mistake.

Life application:
For those non-teachers of school out there, for you teachers and students of life, how can this apply to you, to us?

It's simple: We remember that our mistakes are not the only "no"s out there. Our mistake is in a pile of so many others of similar variety. And, who knows? Maybe we're God's favorite "no." Let Him pick us up, search us, tell us why He loves us so much, and then tell us what He's going to do to make us right.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Not Alone Series: Selfish Singles

How do you combat being selfish with your time? As a single person, it's easy to get caught up in our own little independent world. There are those moments when we are needed for extra church things, hanging with our friend's kids, getting caught up with something on the one night you could stay in, etc. where we get frustrated that the needs of others are taking away from our own time. How do you avoid this selfish tendency and what do you do to avoid becoming frustrated with "sharing" you time with others?

Wow, selfishness. What a good topic!

I think that many of us, as singles, would argue, "Selfish? What do you mean? I'm not committed to anyone. Isn't that like the ONLY good part of being single - that I can do whatever I want to with my free time?"

But the exact opposite is true. 

If I choose to live life for Jesus, my life is not my own. And my time is definitely not my own.

But -- you, who wrote the prompt for this week -- you're right! My natural inclination is toward selfishness. Man left to himself lives for himself. (Doesn't that sound deep? I'm not even sure if it's theologically sound, but it sounded good.)

And, actually, I didn't realize how selfish I've been until my mom called me on it. (I still live with my parents). "It just seems like you spend all your energy on work," she said, "and then, when you get home, all you want to do is relax."

I'm sure my first thought was -- ummmm... yeah. Your point? -- which is HORRIBLE, but I truly DID see home as the place to veg.

But I haven't always! There was a time when I took my job as a daughter seriously, when I sought ways to bless my parents. 

Somehow, though...somewhere, my perspective started to change. Outside responsibilities stacked high on my shoulders, one atop the other... Church youth group, church bookkeeper, and the all-consuming career of a teacher. I tricked myself into believing that work was confined to the elementary school and the church office, and that all other time was MINE. 

What about the work of a daughter and sister?
What about the work of a friend?

In living "my destiny," I was doing good work while failing to do the most important work -- relationships.

So, this year I have taken some steps to, as previously stated, "combat" selfishness with my time. Most of them are outlined in my Goals for 2014 post, as well:

1. No TV by myself. 
What that means is exactly that. No YouTube, no TV, and no movies alone. This was a pretty extreme decision for me, but I knew God had put it on my heart, so I went for it GLADLY. I don't know how much of a Doctor Who, Sherlock, Or Jane Austen fan you are, but I love those stinking time-sucking-shows-slash-movies-that-are-available-for-free-online! Well, I was allowing them to suck time away from family and other things. I still watch them, but now it's much less frequent, and, when I do, it's usually with my mom. 

What has happened as a result of this decision is that I am spending more time with my family instead of veging. And, when I watch something, it's with one of them, so it becomes a shared experience and even a relationship-builder.

2. Schedule in time for family

A teacher's job is not one that is EVER done. So I had to be intentional about scheduling time for the MOST important part of life - family.

The first step to this was setting a work curfew that ensures I never get home so late that I don't have a couple of hours to chat with my parents before bed. My first year teaching, I really needed that curfew. Now, I've learned efficiency strategies for work, so I'm often home at a reasonable hour.

Also, I cook dinner Tuesdays and Saturdays, do the grocery shopping once a month, and TRY to keep Sundays free to just hang with my fam. :)

3. Schedule in time for friends

Since my local friends are kind of all over the place (some from church, some from high school, some from college, some from work), I did something I've been wanting to do for at least a year-- I started a book club! Right now it's just me and a couple of friends, meeting at a local bakery once a week, reading a book a month, and enjoying each other's company...but I love it! Through this group, we're even planning a community service project that was inspired by one of the books we read. 

Plus, it gets me dressed and out of the house early on Saturday morning, and -- seriously, NOTHING up til now has been able to do that! 

So there you have it! Those are a few things I have set in place for myself this year in an effort to live a life of relationship and service, instead of a life of self. 

Before I go, I'd like to leave you with a thought that has kept me joyful when I'm forcing myself to drive to yet ANOTHER church event when I'd rather just go home: THIS is life. This is the adventure of living with Jesus! I'm walking where He walked, following His lead, so it's BOUND to be some ride! 

God bless you, ladies!

Linking up with Morgan

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Not Alone Series: Do's and Don'ts of Dating

Alright, I'm in!

My friend Bek has been participating in this link-up thingamajig, hosted by Morgan and Jen  (Nice to meet you, ladies! I SO don't even know how these things work! Help!) And now, let's say she won me over.

I'll do my best to post every Tuesday-ish, but -- mind you, it may be my only post every least until summer. :)

Anyway, without further ado, today's topic for single ladies:

What are those things that we should be doing, and the things that we shouldn't be doing? They can be from the physical parts (clothes to wear, places to go, things to say) or emotional parts (talking about it all the time, planning the future, etc). We can all learn something in hindsight, so what are your tips to share?

I'm going to take this question in a slightly different direction, because, here's the deal: I've never dated. (And now you're like, 'No wonder she's still single!' and I'm like, 'Yeah, probly.')

So, without going into all the why's and WHAT?!s of that statement, I would like to comment on do's and don'ts of relating with the opposite sex. It's something I'm pretty passionate about.

- Flirt 
- Wear provocative clothing
- Give your thoughts free reign
- Talk about personal things

- Ask genuine questions
- Dress to bless
- Take your thoughts captive
- Keep your conversation topics to things your husband wouldn't mind you discussing with his guy friend

Here's my reasoning: I've done some of those don'ts. I've also been on the receiving end of them. Never, ever has it produced anything remotely resembling a Godly relationship.

I've also done some of those do's, and been on the receiving end of them. What a difference! It is such a BLESSING to be in a relationship where Christ is the center, and it really is not about you or me, but Christ in you and Christ in me. Where we can ask and answer genuine questions, protect each other by the way we dress, and choose not to be overly familiar or "friendly," but, rather, respectful and honoring of one another.

Isn't that how Jesus is?

Thanks for letting me join you, ladies! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


If you haven't noticed, I haven't really found my blogging niche.

What I mean by that is, I'm an inconsistent blogger. :P

I'm okay with that. My main inhibitions have been - well, TIME to start with. But we all know you can make time for something if you think it's worthwhile. Also, I don't want to add to the abundance of junk that's available online. I keep a journal, so it's not like I need this blog to "get everything out." What I like about it is it's a public space where I can share things worth sharing. What I share on here is not anything I impose on anyone, but anyone who wants to may read it.

All that to say, I've given up on "trying to blog." But I will be intentional to blog when I have something worth sharing.

Sound like a deal?

And some things worth sharing are my goals for 2014.

So, world-wide web (or..maybe just Samara and Bek and the occasional passerby), here we go:

Dahlia's Goals for 2014
  1. Faith - More consistent TWL (time with the Lord) in the mornings, with a focus on scripture that I can chew on throughout the day
  2. Food - I want to be healthier! So I'm starting off the year with a 40-day Daniel eating plan, and I'll focus on implementing those principles (if not the entire plan) throughout the year.
  3. Family - I have some lovely friends who have introduced me to new TV and youtube shows. I love those friends. I love the shows! But---nobody else in my family does! (The shows, not the friends). So I'm committing to ZERO alone-time on the TV or youtube this year! Any tube time will have to be with family, or friends. So, either my family will join me as fans of Sherlock, Doctor Who, and Emma Approved, or I'll just have to forget about them. Whew!
  4. Fourth-grade - I just said fourth grade because it starts with an F, but really this is a workplace goal. I'm committing to a random act of kindness per day at work.
  5. Fun - Truthfully, all the other goals were established, but I'm trying to think of this one on the spot. For fun, I really want to go to Mexico this summer (anyone want to join? July is the time!) Aaand, I'll leave it at that!
Cheers to 2014, a year of gratitude, joy, servitude, worship, prayer, and excitement!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Rice + socks = sock snowmen

I am excited to share with you my latest classroom endeavor:

Sock Snowmen!!!

Here are some reasons you might want to make sock snowmen:

1. You have a class of 22 fourth-graders and desperately need a winter-but-not-necessarily-Christmas-themed craft for them to take home with them.

2. You just want to make a cute winter craft.

3. You know a young one who could use some practice with fractions! (You'll see that part later).

You can guess what my reason was for making them, but, whoever you are, I'm sure you have a little kid to call yours, be it a child, sibling, cousin, or kid next door. And this is a great adult-guided activity for kids.

And it's just plain fun!

Here's what you will need:

(Left to right)
1. About 3 lbs (or 6 cups) of rice per snowman
2. Yarn for the scarf, about 1 1/2 feet per snowman
3. Measuring cups, to bring in the fraction practice
4. Pom poms for decoration. I found mine at Wal Mart.
5. Wide-mouthed funnels
6. Buttons (3 per snowman)
7. Noses - I broke off the orange tips of candy corn and used those. Other people I know used orange golf tees cut in half.
8. Tube socks, 1 per snowman (also found mine at Wal Mart, in the men's socks)
9. Googly eyes, 2 per snowman (Wal Mart again)
10. Rubber bands (3 per snowman, not pictured)
11. Black permanent marker for the mouth, and a hot glue gun (also not pictured)

And now for the directions:

Step one: Choose a measuring cup to start with. This is where the fraction practice comes in! Since I had a whole class doing it at once, I had four stations set up, each with a different measuring cup: 1/4, 1/2, 1/3, and 1/8. The kids worked in teams, creating a snowman at one station, then rotating to the next station to make another snowman.

Using that measurement and a funnel, fill the tube sock with 3 cups of rice. It was great practice for the kids to have to "count-by" a fractional amount. 

Pat the rice down until it forms a ball inside the sock, then seal it with a rubber band. 

For the next ball, do 2 cups of rice, and seal with a rubber band.

For the top ball, do 1 cup of rice, and seal with a rubber band.

(Sorry for the creepy faces in the photo, but I have to protect my students' safety :)

Step two: Let the kids measure and cut 1 1/2 feet of a yarn of their choice. This is another great way for them to practice using fractions. What is 1/2 of a foot? How can we know for sure? 

The kids will also select 3 buttons and a pom-pom or two.

Step three: Use a hot-glue gun to attach the googly eyes, candy-corn nose, buttons, and pom-poms to the snowman.

The kids can use a permanent marker to draw on the mouth.

And then you have your completed snowmen!

Here are a few variations on the pom-pom usage, from on the scarf, to around the hat, to ear muffs!

Once the kids finished making these, they carried them and cradled them as if they were babies. It was sooo cute! 

And don't forget: they also work well as Christmas decor at home that parents can store and bring out year after year. 

So what are you waiting for?

Get yourself a kid, and make yourselves some snowmen!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Um. Wow. Time sure passes quickly. How many days since I last posted?

I'm posting now because...well, here's the run-down:

1. Yesterday was "The Day of the Doctor." It was Doctor Who's 50th anniversary, so they put on an anniversary special. It was simulcast all around the world. (Stick with me. This post is NOT all about Doctor Who.)

2. The show was broadcast on BBC America, which I don't I researched, but there was really no way for me to watch the show until BBC released it to iTunes, Amazon, and all that. So, instead, I watched some background videos and the first episode of the show, "An Unearthly Child." I liked it.

3. This morning, I woke to see that "The Day of the Doctor" was now available for me to watch. So I watched it. I watched the Doctor(s) combine their efforts to live up to their name and save some people. He, the Doctor, is always saving people. It's what he does. It's who he is.

Now that you've got the necessary background information, on the the point of this post.

After watching, I said to myself, "Alright, now on to real life" and opened my Bible app.

Luke 19:10

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Okay, immediately I thought of the Doctor...quickly followed by, "Wow, too much Doctor Who." He goes to other worlds to seek and save the lost.

But it's fiction.

How many stories, though?

How many stories are based on this same idea: a rescuer?

However many there are, they are all patterned after the greatest story ever told, the non-fiction Doctor Jesus who really and truly, in physical form, came to search and rescue. Seek and save.

That's the BEST sci-if story ever!

I mean, really? The son of God coming to His created planet, in the form of one of His created creatures.

(And God is the ultimate Time Lord, so who knows why He even chose the time He did to live upon the earth?)

It's not just sci-fi. It's romance, adventure, fantasy, mystery, all at once and yet not at all. Because it wasn't fiction.

It was real.

That's why it's the greatest story ever told.

Because our Doctor, Lord, Master, God, Jesus really and truly came, in physical form, to search and rescue. Seek and save.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


If you find yourself feeling restless...

Stop reading this blog.

Turn off the music.

Walk away from youtube.

And go...

Who knows what God has waiting for us?

For it's only in Him we find our rest.

The Pulley

   When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
“Let us,” said he, “pour on him all we can.
Let the world’s riches, which dispersèd lie,
   Contract into a span.”

   So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure.
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,
   Rest in the bottom lay.

   “For if I should,” said he,
“Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature;
   So both should losers be.

   “Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
   May toss him to my breast.”

Friday, July 12, 2013

Eats and Sweets

I have two things to share with you tonight!

I hope you're hungry, because they're both about food.

Item #1: I tried the recipe I said I would try!

You know when you're eating dinner, and nobody says a word?

It can mean one of three things:

1. They love the food so much that they can't bear the thought of wasting time talking when they could keep eating.

2. They think the food is disgusting, but they don't want to be rude, so all their energy is consumed by the internal struggle of eating something they don't like.

3. They aren't thinking about the food at all. They're running through a mental to-do list, thinking about how tired they are, or having silent, imaginary conversations with someone in their head.

When I served my family this, I think it was a case of #3.

Which...isn't a bad thing, necessarily...

 ...but I don't think it's a good thing, either.

So, go ahead and try the recipe if you like.

It sure smelled yummy.

And, with a little bit more salt, it tasted yummy, too.

So go ahead and try it! What have you got to lose? (Besides an hour of your time, 2 pounds of ground beef, an onion...hehe, sorry)

It was especially yummy when combined with some SUPER easy lemon-pepper rice.
All I did was shake some lemon-pepper seasoning on the rice before setting it to cook in the rice cooker and - voila! Lemon-pepper rice!

[If you can't tell, I just really wanted to photograph myself cooking something and post it up here for you guys. The fact that this meal was not THE best has no weight on the matter.]

Item #2: This is a tried-and-true recipe you're going to LOVE!

It's called....

[racks brain]


I'm not sure what it's called.

But it's a dessert. [A pie, in fact.]

And it's yummy.

I don't want to get into copyrighting trouble, so I'll show you where you can find the recipe.

It's in this book:

Oh, and wait! I just found it on line for you: Click here.
And click here for an easy graham cracker crumb crust recipe.

And I found out what it's called:

Summer Berry Pie.

The photo isn't glorious, but - I assure you - the pie IS!

Yumm! I would have another piece right now if I hadn't already had two.

So go pick you some berries [it doesn't matter what kind], buy you some Jell-O, and make you this pie!

Your family will thank you for it.

Have a glorious weekend and savory meals!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Vegetables in Disguise.

If you're like me, you don't care all that much for the all-important food group: vegetables.

Carrots are okay...if you can dip them in creamy ranch dip!

Broccoli...not really.

Cauliflower - bleck.

Asparagus -- eww! Don't even go there.

But potatoes - potatoes! - now those are good! And they're vegetables!...right? French fries, mashed potatoes, hash browns, tater tots, baked potato, twice-baked potato --- yummmm!

BUT, I've heard it claimed that potatoes are the #1 culprit for obesity in America. [Really? Blame the people, not the potatoes!]

But, who knows? Maybe you're not like me. Maybe you L.O.V.E. looooooovvvvveeeee luvluvluvluvluv vegetables.

It doesn't matter.

Either way, I have come upon something as astonishing as black-bean brownies [but way more appealing - sorry, Bek], something that might trick you into thinking that you're eating potatoes, when really you are eating VEGETABLES:

Mashed Cauliflower
It's creamy. It's salty. It's yummy. It's healthy (er). Best of all, it's easy.

Believe it.

I first heard about mashed cauliflower from a coworker, in the staff lounge. Here I am, slurping up a Cup-O-Noodles, and she's telling me about how she makes mashed cauliflower and fakes her kids out every time. They never know it's not potatoes.

So, I decided to try it the other day. I looked up some recipes, and used mostly this one for ideas.

But, really, a recipe is not necessary. Know how to make mashed potatoes? Boom. You know how to make mashed cauliflower.

But, if you like, I'll break it down into steps for you.

1. Cook the cauliflower in water until it's really tender (just like potatoes.)

2. Drain the water. Then, mash or blend the cauliflower (just like potatoes.)

3. Add stuff to give it texture and flavor (just like potatoes), like:

Cream cheese
Parmesan cheese

Minced garlic
Chicken base
Black pepper
Chives/green onion

(I got these ideas from the recipe I already linked to
The recipe said to blend most of these ingredients with the cauliflower.
My blender is not good enough for that,
so I just cooked the cauliflower until it was suuuper tender,
and just mashed it with one of those cool mashing spoon things:)

4. Serve!

So, if you've never tried mashed cauliflower before, I challenge you to do so. Today. You'll love it. And you would never know you were actually eating healthy vegetables.