Friday, February 28, 2014

Doll Clothes

We are very ready for winter to be over around here, but with highs in the teens this weekend and a forecast of sleet, freezing rain, and snow, it looks like we will have to endure it a little longer.  But when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, right?  So I decided that instead of feeling depressed about winter I would do something fun- make doll clothes!

For the Barbie dresses I used the tutorials on this website.  The directions were very easy to follow and fun to make.  I made up the knitted poncho and crocheted hat- even Barbie needs to keep warm in this weather.  And for the calico pioneer dress I used an old Butterick pattern my Mom had.  I really liked how it turned out, but I think I'm going to make an apron yet to go with it. 

As far as what little girl will play with them, we still don't know!  But we "might" be getting a little closer.  Hopefully we will know in the next few weeks whether we will be chosen for the girls we have submitted our homestudy for.  And, last but not least, here's a little encouragement for the day~

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another;
be sympathetic, love as brothers,
be compassionate and humble.
1 Peter 3:8

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Bathroom- before and after

One fun thing we did this winter was give our master bathroom
a makeover!  We love log cabins, and have never been able to live
in one, so we decided maybe we could at least have a log cabin bathroom.
First- the before pictures.
It had this nice plastic bathtub on one side,
and a little bitty shower on the other-
very 90s doublewide looking...

So we (meaning Andy) tore out everything but the toilet,
and put in new oak cabinets, new vinyl floor, and our
favorite part- pine siding for the walls.
Now- the after pictures.
We bought unfinished cabinets and stained and varnished them.
Where the bathtub had been we put in a new 48" shower,
and I sewed a cabin themed shower curtain for it.

Andy made this cool towel rack from a deer antler-
I love it!

We are very pleased with the results-
now it feels like we're on vacation all the time! (:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Schooling Choices

~DJ playing basketball this winter~
Have you ever wondered if you are making the right educational choices for your child?  We sure have.  After having our children in 2 different private Christian schools, home school, and now public school, we still don't know if we're doing the right thing!  School choices are one of those things that we consider every year, because every child is different and has unique learning styles and needs, which are constantly changing as they grow and mature.  So, since we have experienced each of the different types of schooling, here is my list of pros and cons for each one.

Private Christian School-

Pros- Your child is surrounded by "good people"- not necessarily Christians- but the kids usually come from solid, good homes, therefore they would not be as likely to tempt your child to take up bad habits.  Hopefully your child will be taught to look at life from a Biblical worldview, although as we have found, this greatly depends on the teacher and the individual school.

Cons- Kids who live their whole life in the Christian bubble of church and school tend to become proud of their "goodness", and look down on those who live differently than they do.  In addition, usually this type of schooling is very expensive.

Home School-

Pros- You get to decide what your child will be learning each day.  You have total control over their learning environment, choosing their curriculum, the kids they hang out with, and where they spend time.  You get a first hand look at how your child is doing in school, and you get to be with your child all day long. (Some might consider this a con!)  Without all the waiting for the rest of the class to finish their work, the school day is much shorter, allowing the child more free time to play.

Cons- There is a temptation for families who homeschool to think that their way is the only way to live, thus pride is a temptation.  Kids do not learn how to work for someone other than their parents.  It takes much more effort to expose children firsthand to a wide range of viewpoints and cultures.  Because of almost no peer pressure, homeschooled children tend to stand out in the crowd, which can be a positive or negative, depending on how they're standing out!

Public School-

Pros- Your child learns a lot about how to get along with all types of people.  Education is basically free.  Mom has plenty of time to get her housework done, and might take up blogging or something.  Your child hopefully realizes that their home life is pretty good.  The difference between doing things God's way and the world's way is very obvious. You can be a good influence in your community.

Cons- Peer pressure can be hard for some kids to handle.  If "everyone" is doing such and such, why can't I?  You have to counter some of the information being taught that goes against your beliefs- for us that has been things like evolution, global warming, you should only eat salad, etc.  You have to make sure your child is thinking independently and not just blindly following whatever the popular government line of the day is.  The educational standard is not as high as the private school.

At the end of the day, I believe that each choice has valid arguments for and against it, so we should not be judgmental of others for their choices.  And as far as what we do next year?  Still deciding...

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged."
Matthew 7:1

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to him.
James 1:5

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The most requested meal~

At our house it's tradition that on your birthday you get to choose the menu for every meal.  Last week was PD's birthday, and he chose Pepperoni Stromboli for supper.  Our whole family loves this, and since it is the most requested birthday meal in our family, I thought the recipe might be worth sharing with you all!  It's not too complicated.

Pepperoni Stromboli

First you have to make the dough.  For this step you can either buy frozen bread dough, and thaw out 2 loaves, or you can make the following dough in your bread machine on the dough setting-

1 egg + enough water to make 1 1/2 c.
4 1/2 c. flour
1 t. salt
3 T. sugar
5 T. shortening
2 t. yeast

Divide dough in half.  Roll the first half into a long rectangle, approximately 20" x 8".  Place this rectangle crosswise on a greased cookie sheet. 

Spread about 1/2 c. of pizza sauce down center 4" of rectangle.  Cover with pepperoni and mozzarella cheese.  Fold sides up over top of the cheese, as in photo.

1 16 oz. can tomato sauce
1 1/2 t. oregano
1 1/2 t. basil
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. onion powder

Now take remaining half of your dough, and roll it into another long rectangle, the same size as before.  Cut the dough lengthwise into three strips, and braid, as seen in the photo.  Carefully place on top of cheese.  Pinch ends shut to seal.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Slice and serve with remaining sauce.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Religious Liberty

If you're like me, when you're stuck in the house because of snow and cold temperatures you start to look around for something to read, and so this week I dug out some of our family history stories and read them.  One was memories my great-great grandma had of growing up in what was then Prussia and her family's immigration to Russia, then the United States.  My family is Mennonite, and so for them, one of the big reasons they moved from Prussia to Russia and then the United States was for religious liberty.  The Prussian government changed their laws and wanted the Mennonite boys to start joining their army, then the Russian government did the same thing.  My ancestors did not believe that as Christians they should be fighting in those types of wars, so they simply moved to another country.  Our family has always been so thankful that they came to America when they did.  Those of their family who stayed in Russia were either killed in the revolution or sent to exile in Siberia. 

~my great-great grandparents' family~
All of this has me thinking about what I would do in their place.  Would I be willing to move my whole family to another country and start over, rather than compromise what I felt God wanted me to do?  It wasn't easy for them, the prairie was a lot different from the forests of Europe.  More and more our religious liberties here in America are being taken away, so it is something we may have to face someday.  I found this interesting chart showing the levels of religious freedom in various countries, and thought you might be interested as well.  God will give us strength for whatever He asks us to do!

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."
John 16:33


Friday, February 7, 2014

What He says, He will do!

God is always faithful.  He does what He says He will do, and yesterday I was reminded of that yet again!  I was looking through some drawers for tax paperwork (yes, I did our taxes yesterday...) and found an old spiral notebook with some verses in it.  On one of the pages I had written this-

Mark 11:22-24                      Adoption 2007

So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God.
For assuredly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain,
Be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt
in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done,
he will have whatever he says.  Therefore I say to you, whatever
things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them,
and you will have them."

Now, back in 2007 we had just moved to Mexico as missionaries, and when you live in a foreign country it is very, very difficult to adopt.  However, I can remember still feeling like our family wasn't complete, and although I didn't have any idea how it would work out, I felt like we were still supposed to adopt again.  I can remember realizing back then, that even though we couldn't do anything towards adopting, I could still be praying for our next child, because he or she might be living already.

And you know what?  He was.  2007 was the year that our sweet son, AJ, was born.  So when I saw that I had written down these verses the very same year that our next child was born, it was such an encouraging reminder of God's faithfulness!  I wouldn't know a thing about AJ for another three years, but God knew all about him, and when I was praying for our next child, God had AJ in mind. 

What an awesome God we serve!!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Lessons from the birds

We received a beautiful snowfall the last few days,
and today the birds were out in full force at our bird feeder! 
I enjoy seeing the flashes of red and blue out my window. 
Cardinals, woodpeckers, bluejays, bluebirds and sparrows were all busy out there today.

I think this one decided it was a little too cold for a bath!

I love seeing the beauty of God's creation.  He has made everything very good! 
Creation always reminds me of God's power and wisdom. 
Aren't these verses a comfort?  I hope they are a blessing to you today!

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