Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Camano Island 4th of July

This year we decided to get away just as a family to my family's cabin on Camano Island. We love the island. It's so quiet and beautiful. Here are some pics from our little weekend adventure.
 The view from the deck of our cabin.
 At the local bakery in Stanwood enjoying some donuts!

 Small town parade in Stanwood. The kids like it because they threw candy to them.

 Grandpa Don came up and gave the boys a joyride in his 67' Camaro.

 Lighting off some small fireworks - smoke bombs, snakes, and the tank.

 We went to a parking lot on Camano to do the bigger ones.
The boys were worried we would get in trouble. 

 My handsome husband.

 Me and Caeders at the beach.
 All you need to give this boy is a bucket and he is happy for days.

Monday, July 14, 2014

IKEA Spice Rack Into Bookshelf

I had seen this on Pinterest and wanted to do it for my kids books in my own home. Each time I went to IKEA they were sold out or I just forgot to grab the spice racks. I took them home and painted them, attached them to the wall. These bookshelves are specifically for my kid's library books so that they don't get mixed up with our own personal books. They are also easily accessible for my kids to just grab one and start reading. I love how the shelves turned out and how easy it was to transform them. A little bit of Annie Sloan paint does wonders.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Cookies and Kindness

When we moved into our neighborhood 10 years ago we knew that living in Tacoma was going to be a lesson in life that would change our hearts forever. We purchased our home and were honestly, a bit worried for our safety but, it was very evident that God had called us here.

(Walking down the alley in our neighborhood while drinking Slurpees from 7-11)

One thing that God has been teaching me is about kindness. Kindness to the least of these. In our neighborhood it's learning to be kind and loving toward kids that roam; with no parents supervising them, hungry, thristy, and basically on their own. Yes, they have stolen things from us and ruined plants in our yard but how does God ask me to respond? He has called us to respond with kindness and love. Noah, our 9 year old, has a very soft heart and constantly advocates for these kids. "Mom, they are hungry. Do we have anything for them?" "I need to give them water." Noah often reflects the love of Jesus better than I do. I am learning from him. I often want to tell them to go home and get water or something to eat but during our church gathering on Sunday God called me to be different, to show them Jesus in the smallest of gestures.

God told me to make cookies. Have homemade cookies available to hand them when they say they are hungry. Purchase Costco size packages of granola bars, string cheese and water bottles available for these kiddos that are hungry and thirsty. I need to jump at the chance to serve them by pumping up their bike tires. I need to love them well because Jesus loves all of us perfectly and we are called to be a reflection of His love. It's the simple things like cookies and kindness that can show a person Jesus' love.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

End of Year Teacher Gift 2014

This year I wanted to do something sweet and simple. I printed these tags here. They are adorable. I had the boys trace their hands and then attached the hand and tag to a bottle of ant-bac soap (I bought Bath and Body Works soap - they have an amazing June sale each year.) I also included a gift card to Starbucks. Those teachers work hard and I love celebrating them throughout each school year.

Airplane Goodie Bags for Kids

In May we took an amazing trip to Southern California to visit family. I always try to be super organized for the plane ride so that none of my kids get restless or antsy. In other words - I bring lots of fun stuff to entertain them and if they start to get antsy I always hide lollipops in my purse for emergencies.

 Three bags of goodies. One for each kiddo.

This one is for my 3 year old. Fundoh, stickers, coloring book, blank pad of paper, crayons, gum, fishies, granola bars, Tic Tacs (his favorite), fruit leather and dried apple slices.

I made two packs of the following items. One for my 8 year old and another for my 6 year old. This pack included special crayons, painting pads, blank Darth Vader notepad, fundoh, granola bars, Tic Tacs, gum, fruit leather, and dried apples.

My boys love Legos and "guys". So, I packed up a handful of their favorites for the trip. They all fit nicely into this pencil box.

The best places to find some of these goodies is at Target. They have great seasonal items in their dollar bins.

Hope this is helpful as you travel with little ones!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Christmas Gift for Great Teachers 2013

This is what I did for the boys teachers for Christmas 2013. I love doing "favorite things" gifts. The printable tag says, "Wishing you cute and cozy toes all Winter." I included grey nail polish, my favorite lip balm, chocolate, Starbucks gift card, and cute and cozy socks.

Here is the link for the cute and cozy toes printable. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

It's the Small Things

Whenever Todd and I receive a text from him we know to quickly respond. We respond because he comes to us when he is in need, and it's hard to ask for help. We made it clear from the beginning of last football season that whatever he needed - big or small, we will do our best to care for him. He is 17 years old and almost an adult but has had a rough family life. Today I received a text from him asking if he could stop by and my response was, "Always!" He stopped by I got him something to drink, we chatted about work, school, and college. I asked how things were going living at his aunt's house. He responded that he wasn't living there anymore. "What? Where are you living now?" He told me about his new "home." He said it was fine. He sleeps on a sofa on the living room. I ask if he's hungry and wants some food. His response, like most 17 year old boys, is YES! I heat up some leftovers for him as my three children are going crazy wild jumping on the couch. He eats it all up and then I ask if he wants dessert. His response again is YES! After he finishes he brings his plate into the kitchen. I ask, "How are you really doing? You seem a bit down." He tells me that he doesn't have food and can't pay his cell phone bill. I tell him, "I have some cash. I will give you what I have." I go look in my wallet and I have a $1 and $100 and that's it. Weeks ago I heard God tell me to keep the $100 in my purse just in case, well, it seems like this was the "just in case" God given moment. I hand him the $100. I tell him that's all I have. He says, "I can run and get change for you at 7-11." I respond, "No way. God told me weeks ago to keep it in my wallet, just in case someone was in need." He says thank you, gives me a big hug and then heads on his way. Later on I texted him. "I'm glad you stopped by today. I just want to be clear that you don't owe us anything. We want you to feel free to ask for help whenever you need it and we don't expect anything in return."

Before we started serving our local HS last year I had just watched The Hobbit and the one line that stuck out to me was this, "I found it is the small things, everyday deeds by ordinary folk, that keep the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love." -Gandolph

I have cried a few times this week after being deeply grieved for these High School students that we get to care for. It is hard to hear their stories but there is great joy and hope in watching them come alive, succeed, understand and desire to live a different life. Everyday deeds by ordinary people. It starts with love. It's not hard, love God and love His people. It's the small things.