Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Home as a Haven

I read an article on the Raising Homemakers blog last week entitled "Making Our Homes Havens" and I have been thinking through what I want our home as a "haven" to look like.

Just like the blog writer, I want my home to be "a place of rest, creating a home environment that welcomes a weary worker at the end of the day." I want Erik to come home and know he is wanted, he is appreciated and he is loved. I want him to come home and rest (and enjoy time with the girls!) knowing that the details of our home like having food for dinner and a shirt to wear tomorrow are taken care of.

I want my home to be a haven for Anna and Maddie. A place where they can express their ideas and desires and talents. I want them to know that our home is a place of shelter and that they are loved even when they are disciplined. I desire to be that mom that the girls run to for advice or prayer or just to talk.

I want my home to be a haven for friends, a safe place to talk and find comfort over a cup of coffee and God's word. A place where encouragement flows and "secrets" stay.

I desire for my home to be a haven, a place of safety and refuge.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hershey, PA - Hershey Gardens

On Saturday we decided to walk through the Hershey Gardens to get some fresh air and exercise after being in a car all day on Friday. The Hershey Gardens consists of 23 acres of beautiful roses, seasonal plants, trees, a small butterfly house (which was closed when we were there) and a children's garden.

Hershey Gardens

Much of our time was spent in the Children's Garden where the girls followed a map through Hershey Kiss fountains and pretzel mazes to learn more about gardening.

Hershey Gardens

Here are the girls taking a break during all the walking on these adorable "chairs".

Hershey Gardens

Hershey Gardens

The girls even got to leave with their own gardening tool. It was a beautiful day at Hershey Gardens.

Hershey Gardens

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hershey, PA - Chocolate World

This past weekend we drove up to Hershey, Pennsylvania to spend time with family. It would not be a trip to Hershey without a tour of Hershey's Chocolate World - we went twice :).

Chocolate World

There are a few things at Chocolate World that you can pay to do such as make your own chocolate bar or watch a 3-D movie, we decided just to do the free things. First, the girls pretended they were factory workers and filled Hershey Kiss containers with Hershey Kisses off of an assembly belt.

Chocolate World

Chocolate World

Here are the girls doing a little dance with their Hershey Kiss containers before putting them on the assembly belt (to keep them you have to pay).

Chocolate World

Then we went on the Chocolate Tour Ride which is a sit-down ride that takes you through a mock factory explaining the process of making chocolate. Anna enjoyed it, but Maddie was a little scared and insisted on holding my hands over her eyes the entire time.

Chocolate World

Chocolate World Tour

After the ride, they give you a mini Hershey bar which the girls enjoyed. And then of course there is an entire gift shop and food court devoted to yummy chocolates. What is there not to love???

Friday, September 24, 2010

Take a Child Outside Week

Take a Child Outside - September 24-30

Today kicks-off the fourth annual Take a Child Outside Week which is a "program designed to help break down obstacles that keep children from discovering the natural world. By arming parents, teachers and other caregivers with resources on outdoor activities, our goal is to help children across the country develop a better understanding and appreciation of the environment in which they live, and a burgeoning enthusiasm for its exploration."

And of course, what could be better than taking your children outside and telling them of God's creation!

Here are a few of the local resources/activities to spur ideas on things to do outside:

List of nature programs going on in Raleigh this week.

Activities you can do in your backyard.

List of City of Raleigh playgrounds.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

J is for Joseph

Here is Anna sitting in front of her craft wall one morning. We now probably need to take everything down and start afresh or else soon our entire kitchen will be filled with crafts.

We are going out of alphabetical order a little bit since we were reading the story of Joseph and his brothers (we'll come back to D with Daniel) - it was just easier this way. I found two cute printable activities to make Joseph a colorful coat.

The first was on Christian Crafts and involved the girls glueing tissue paper into a square and then laying another sheet of paper on top, simple!

The second activity was a little more complicated and I let daddy do that with them on Saturday morning. It involved cutting out pieces of Josephs coat and pasting them on a sheet of paper to make the passage from Genesis 37:3, so it was a little advanced for the girls but they still enjoyed using their glue sticks.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

C is for Caterpillar

I could just as easily say C is for neverending crafts. Anna continues to love to do crafts and when I'm not keeping up she comes up with crafts of her own. Yesterday I received a piece of paper that had notebook paper balled up and glued to it. Today during her quiet time I walked in to ask her a question and she told me her little people were pretending to make crafts. I'm guessing tonight she is even dreaming of crafts :).

We made these caterpillars out of cardboard and pompom balls and the girls especially enjoyed using the glue.

We are reviewing one of our memory verses to go with it, 2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation.

Our bible story for this week is about Abraham and Sarah and we are doing these cute little coloring pages from Raising Rockstars

Raising Rock Stars

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ocean Isle Beach

What do you get when you put 10 adults and 8 kids under the age of 3 in a house for 4 nights? A little bit of craziness, but a whole lot of fun. We had the privilege of spending Labor Day weekend with some good friends at Ocean Isle Beach. We were a little worried about the arrival of Hurricane Earl to the NC coast, but the weather was actually perfect.

We rented a house two blocks from the ocean on one of the canals at Ocean Isle Beach. It was a great location that allowed us to walk almost everywhere.

Family Pic

We had a little dock that made a great place for morning coffee and launching the kayaks

Anna & Daddy on the dock

Kayaking in the canal

The kids also enjoyed splashing around in the pool.

Anna at the pool

The Museum of Coastal Carolina was practically in our backyard so we also spent a morning there. The museum itself was very small and a little pricey but it was a perfect indoor spot for the kids with lots of hands-on activities. Friday night there was also live music in the parking lot of the museum which we enjoyed up until the swingset accident.

Coastal Museum: Touch tank

And of course there was the beach. For some reason I never had my camera during our day trips to the beach but here is one when Anna and Erik were out collecting shells at sunset.

Ocean Isle Sunset

Despite the accident, it was a wonderful trip and lots of memories were made.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Accidents Happen

We spent the holiday weekend at Ocean Isle Beach (which I will share more about in a later post) with some fabulous friends. While on the trip we had our first family trip to the urgent care. On Friday night Anna was swinging on the swingset of the place we were staying and flipped out, landing forehead first onto a piece of wood holding in the sand for the play area. A policeman directed us toward the urgent care in the neighboring town and thankfully we made it there 10 minutes before they closed.

I am not so good with injuries, in fact, I get a little woozy myself but Anna was so brave. Her forehead was cracked down to the skull and so she got a little scared when they tried to numb the area but through the stitches she closed her eyes and didn't make a sound. The nurse made her a balloon out of a rubber glove which made her smile and all the nurses commented that she was one of their best patients.

As Anna hopped down from the table after the stitches were done she said "I've had a great day!". Her comment was totally God reassuring Erik and I; it was what our hearts needed to hear. The whole way home we told Anna how proud we were of her and she smiled so big. She even requested to go back and see that doctor again. I am constantly amazed at the heart of my sweet Anna.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Storybook Cottage

I am really excited about our first Craig's List purchase, this Storybook Cottage from Step2. I had been eyeing this playhouse for awhile but the price tag on it new was discouraging. What I really like about this house is that it is taller than most of the other houses at 56.25 inches tall. Inside there is a little table (after posting this I realized we put the side of the house with the table on backwards, so now the table is on the inside :)) and a little play kitchen. There is also a little "doggie door" that Cassie uses from time to time. I am hoping this will be a big hit this fall so that we can spend some more time outdoors.

The Girls Storybook Cottage

Cassie exploring new house

Anna in the kitchen

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

B is for Boat

As soon as we finished our 'A' craft last week Anna was asking me to move on to 'B', so here we are. This week's bible story is about Noah and so we built a boat/ark out of the letter 'B' (you have to imagine it laying on it's humps).

Maddie Glueing

Anna's Ark

Maddie's Ark

Our memory verse has been to review Joshua 1:8 - Be strong and brave for God is with you.

And we also colored a fun Noah's Ark picture from here and found some fun Ark activities at Christian Preschool Printables.