Archives for September 2013

Encouragement Pockets

let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25b)

We are told many times in the Bible to encourage one another. With this in mind, I had an idea as I was reading One-Yard Wonders by Hoskins and Yaker to modify their design for mail slots into encouragement pockets. One of our daughter’s primary love languages is words (to learn about love languages read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman), and so because of that we have many little notes all over our house… I was inspired to create these encouragement pockets so that we could have a hub in our house where all of the little notes of encouragement could both be placed, and where they could be found.

I knew right away that I wanted to use the asian floral fabric that I have on hand, by designer Ty Pennington. I love the pops of orange on the charcoal fabric and the beautiful print. I measured how large I wanted the pockets, and created 5 so that there would be one for each of us. Here are the encouragement pockets cut out, with a large piece for the front and one for the back:

encouragement pockets cut out

And here it is almost finished, with just the backing and hooks at the top to be added:

Encouragement pockets nearly done

I hung this while the girls were sleeping and they were super excited about it when they woke up the next morning! Here it is a few hours later:

Our finished encouragement pockets

We are being encouraged. 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Karen

“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25: 4 & 5

We Love to Read!

We LOVE to read. We have read stacks of books to our kids since they were babies, and enjoy this immensely. In fact, I’m a doer and have a hard time sitting down when there are things to do…but when are there not things to do??? Reading to my kids is a way that I have where I intentionally sit with them, piled on the couch, in a fort, or in the hammock, spending some quality time where we read, and read, and read. We cuddle up, and this time is so special to us as we interact and take in books together (although when we do this in the afternoon, I almost always have to fight the urge to fall asleep). All of this reading has benefitted us greatly, and we now have two really good, independent readers. What an amazing day it was when each of our older girls were reading so well that we were able to take them to the local bookstore to buy their own full copy of the Bible to begin reading on their own. Praise God that they are now able to fill their minds with God’s word as they read independently!

Our girls reading

Reading library books, saying “cheese”.

 

One of my favourite memories of this past summer was an afternoon when all three girls were all laying in the living room reading happily. Sophia was reading independently, and Zoey was reading to Karis. I had already prepped supper and had it ready to go, and so I joined them! I grabbed the novel that I was reading, and sat with them in the living room enjoying my book. To me, this was bliss!

A couple of weeks ago I was sick with the flu, and couldn’t get out of bed for a couple of days. I slept a lot, but I also had the opportunity to read quite a bit and enjoyed quite the contrast in books. I am reading The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller, which is a great book on marriage that really challenges the way that we, as a society, look at marriage. He contrasts this to the way that God created marriage. This book has caused me to reexamine some of my ideas that I didn’t even quite know that I had embraced along the way concerning the purpose of marriage (I’ll write more about this in a later post).

In stark contrast to this Biblical and philosophical study of marriage, still while I was lying in bed with the flu, I intermittently read some of my daughter’s novels. I read Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary, as well as Fudge-a-Mania by Judy Blume, both of which were so entertaining they had me laughing out loud. There’s a couple of things that I love about reading the kid’s books, one of them being that I can read through an entire book in an evening. This is really beneficial for me since I find it very hard to exercise discipline about only reading when it’s responsible to do so (like, not into the wee hours of the morning…I have to limit my novel reading because of this). Also, I like knowing what my kids are reading. Plus, they are lighthearted. A relaxing way to end a long day!

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25: 4 & 5

 

 

13 Indicators of Healthy Children

When I first began my parenting journey over seven years ago (I really can’t believe it’s been that long), I remember sitting in a room with a bunch of other new moms and their babies, and wondering if there was a way to judge from looking at their babies, how well they were cared for. I remember briefly considering that if their fingernails were neatly trimmed, perhaps that would be a good indicator that they were well cared for. I dismissed this rather ridiculous thought quickly, but it stuck with me nonetheless. Now having three children, I have to laugh at myself (often) when all of a sudden I will look at one of my child’s hands and realize that it’s been far too long since her fingernails have been trimmed and that she is beginning to grow claws…

I now think that if there were an external indicator of a well cared for child, perhaps it would be completely counter-intuitive. Instead of it being a child with neatly trimmed fingernails, perfect hair, and great clothes that bear designer labels, perhaps instead it’s one of these things:

1. copious amounts of dirt under their fingernails after digging for bugs and playing in the sandbox
2. stacks of books beside their bed
3. insect collections
4. berry stained hands
5. a less than perfect hairdo that they did themselves and are so proud of
6. a terribly clashing outfit that they picked out all by themselves
7. tutus and costumes that are worn all over town
8. a kitchen table that is stained from the creation of all kinds of art projects
9. a fridge that is plastered in art
10. irregular shaped cookies that she made all by herself
11. funny looking robot high tops that were the perfect indoor shoes for grade 1
12. a messy kitchen
13. a living room turned blanket fort

Although we could consider many things indicative of a well cared for, healthy child, I think perhaps it’s simple. So simple that it transcends all nationalities and socioeconomic classes. Look at their eyes. Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:22 that “The eye is the lamp of the body”. I have seen children whose eyes are full of sadness, and I have seen children whose eyes are full of joy and sparkle.

silly kids

My prayer this week is that you’ll have a week full of love and fun with your kids, and that they will have happy, sparkly eyes. And don’t worry about trimming their nails, it can wait until after another rousing game of Candyland!

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Show me you ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:4 & 5

 

Paper Bead Necklaces

On the last rainy day of the summer break, we were looking for something to do. We were looking through my craft/sewing supplies for inspiration when Zoey found a thin black shoelace in my embroidery thread case and asked what it was for…. that’s how our fun morning began, which was a total blast from the past for me! I then taught them how to make paper bead necklaces like I used to do when I think I was around 10 or 11, and we had so much fun doing it!

Here’s a description of the process:

Making paper necklaces

We used an old home decor magazine that I had kept around for crafting and pulled out all of the really colourful pages – we like a lot of colour in our family, but you could pick any colour scheme that you wanted. You then cut out strips of paper, getting slightly thinner as you go.

Paper strips

You can then put them in an order that looks good to the eye, and begin making them into beads! We just used a glue stick since that was easier for the girls to do, and taking the paper strips one at a time we applied glue all over the wrong side of the paper (careful not to get it on the string) and then began to tightly roll it around the string, starting with the widest part of the paper.

To make these necklaces last a little longer, we also brushed the finished beads with white glue to make them stronger.

And here’s a finished product. This necklace was made by one of the girls with no help at all. You can make the beads thinner and tighter, and they don’t look like paper at all then! You just might see me sporting one of these in the near future…

Completed paper necklace

Fun, right? And what a simple way to spend a rainy morning!

Thanks for reading,

Karen

“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25: 4 & 5

New Beginnings

With another school year beginning tomorrow, I can’t help but feel the anticipation of all that comes with these new beginnings. New family schedule, new shoes, new teachers, new friends… We spent a good part of the day preparing for all of this newness; peach muffins  and gf bread baked for school lunches; shoes, pencil cases & backpacks labelled; first day of school outfits picked out. As a bit of an introvert who likes routine, I tend to feel the same anxiety that I would have when I was a child beginning a new school year. I’m not worried for my kids, I just have a slight bit of anxiety over the unknown – the new family routine that will take a few days to get settled into; waiting to hear from my girls that they have settled into their new routine at school and are feeling content with how it’s going.

I realize that I have spent all of this time preparing the tangible things. The stuff. If I’m honest I admit that I haven’t spent that much time preparing for this new year in prayer. A much more important way to prepare. Just imagine if we prayed for our children’s schools, for their teachers, for their classmates, for their friends, for the kids they ride the bus with, their bus driver, their lunch monitors. When I think about my lack of spiritual preparation for this new school year, I then wonder if I had been earnestly praying for this school year if I would feel this bit of anxiety that is common for me. Perhaps this would be replaced by the anticipation of what God is going to accomplish this year in the life of my girls as they spend many of their days at school.

With this new beginning tomorrow, I commit to prayer. In this, I know the Lord is faithful.

Along with the new beginnings that come with a new school year, I am also really excited for this new beginning as I begin to blog on My Inspired Family!!! As some of you know, I had been blogging a bit from Koala Pouch Baby. For a while I had been feeling like I wanted to take on a new direction with my blogging to incorporate more of my faith journey. It felt incomplete to blog about what was going on around here and to leave that aspect out of things. Because of that, I have spent quite a time preparing for this new journey of blogging and I’m very excited to share with you regularly (at least once per week) about what is going on in our home and in this heart of mine as Christ continues to teach me how to be more like Him. I have written a few new blogs already, and I’ve also transferred some over that had some relevant content. I hope you’ll be challenged and inspired as I write about running this race with perseverance (Hebrews 12:1).

Running the race with perseverance!

Please give me some feedback! And if you’re interested in what I’m writing about, I would love it if you would sign up with your e-mail address to follow my blog.

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25: 4 & 5

Truth and Chalk

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. 

Deuteronomy 6: 4-9

I love these verses. They say so much about how to do life, and especially how to parent. Basically, talk of God’s truth and love should be oozing out of us in all that we do and all that we say. I am doing my best to take the part of writing God’s truths on the doorframes and gates literally, and I’m trying to surround ourselves in scripture as I add it to more and more places throughout our home. This is helping me to keep an eternal perspective, and it’s helping me to memorize more of God’s word.

My latest project involved a blank wall, an antique wooden picture frame that I found at a market, and some paint. I decided to make a chalkboard that I could use to write messages on, mainly scripture that we can learn. Here’s a picture of the frame when it’s almost done getting the first coat on (I forgot to take a before pic!):

A look at what the original frame looked like

It had a cool gold finish on it which shows through after I finished distressing it. Here is a pic of what the final product looks like. For the center, I purchased a piece of masonite which the nice man at the hardware store cut to size for us. I then primed it, and gave it two coats of black chalkboard paint.

A look at the finished chalkboard.

This chalkboard is right in a crucial hub of our home – it is the first wall that you see when you come down the stairs to the main floor, and it’s the first wall that you see when you enter our home from the outside. A great place to be reminded of truth!

What are some creative ways that you learn scripture?

Thanks for reading,

Karen

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:4 & 5

Break it Down, Build it Up – Part 3

This is the third and final installment in a 3 part series about our bathroom renovation that all began with a leaking sewage pipe. If you missed the first two installments of the “Break it Down, Build it Up” series, you can read them here and here.

This week I’m excited to share the big reveal of our newly redone bathroom. It is a little bit painful redoing your only full bathroom while trying to live in your house for the majority of the time, but we did it! We are no worse for wear when all is said and done, but I definitely need to thank my Mom and Dad in law for allowing us to stay for a weekend, and to come and shower for two more weeks until we could once again use our own bathroom!

Here’s the bathroom pre-makeover:

A before shot of the bathroom

A before shot of the storage cabinets in the bathroom

And here are some shots of the bathroom currently:

A picture of the completed bathroom

We were able to have the mirror that we already had for the bathroom cut down (so that it would be more proportionate over the smaller vanity). Thanks to youtube we then framed it in and added a ledge at the bottom.

Bathroom storage after the renovation

For the storage nook we kept it really simple and used some rough pine that was in our garage when we moved into our house, we just planed down the top side so that it would be smooth, and cut it to fit. For the window treatment, I did a really simple burlap cafe curtain that just sits straight across the window and works perfectly in the space.

The shower and door in the bathroom

Full bathroom facing vanity

One of the things that I love the most in our bathroom is the art that our friend Laura made for us on wood blocks. Check out her website at http://wallsandwords.com/. What I love is the message that our girls will be reading daily, truth that we can pray will penetrate into their hearts as they are bombarded with conflicting messages from our world. To rise and shine and give GOD the glory. And the reminder that they are fearfully and wonderfully made by the creator of the universe. These are words of life that will make a difference!

Thanks for reading,

Karen

“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25: 4 & 5