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Getting Schooled on Marriage

Recently, I had a friend come to visit me from my hometown. He had just gotten engaged and was bringing his fiance’ to meet us. I was so excited to meet her and wanted to give them a congratulations gift on their engagement. Creating gift baskets is something I’m naturally good at.

There are many different fun candy saying all over Pinterest, and I jumped on this band wagon a while back to write cute sayings to go along with the items in my baskets. This was a perfect timed gift to say the least, since it is back to school time.

My kids were days away from starting school, so it was fresh on my mind. I decided to create a basket for them with a school theme. On the front of the basket, I wrote, “You’re Gettin’ Schooled on Marriage”. This gift was so fun to put together and they absolutely loved it.

Items You Need

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While I was out with the family doing our back to school shopping, I saw a lot of great items to pick up for this basket. I was at the Dollar Tree, so all of the items were very inexpensive. Here are the things I chose to make my basket with their sayings:

-Glue sticks: Love is the glue that holds your marriage together

-Highlighters: Make the highlight of your marriage serving one another

-Laffy Taffy: Make each other laffy taffy every day

-Kisses: Daily kisses keep the heart happy

-3 Musketeers: 2 Lovers+God= 3 Musketeers

-Milky Way: Take time together every day and your love will be out of this world

-Pocket folder: Do your homework (inside of this folder, I included a few sheets of questions they can ask each other. To print that list go here: datingquestions)

 

On each of the items, I printed out these sayings and glued them to pieces of construction paper that I cut out. If you want to print out these candy sayings, go here: gettingschooledonmarriage. They could easily be printed onto decorative card stock. I have done that in the past with other candy grams, but this time, I just cut out the pieces of paper and attached them to colored construction paper.

Putting the Basket Together

 

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For this homemade gift basket, I used a wooden crate and glue for wood to decorate the outside. Often times, over the summer, I find apples being sold in these simple wooden baskets. I save these for such an occasion as this. Since I have been a homeschool mom for a long time, I have a wealth of bulletin board items with a school theme. You can use anything you have on hand, it doesn’t have to be special.

The first thing I did for this DIY gift idea was to hot glue pieces of notebook paper to the wood. These small wooden crates are not very decorative, but they are easy to decorate. After covering the outside with the notebook paper, I added a few gold stars that I had written on. Some of them said things like, “Good Job”, “Way to Go” and things like that. Then I hot glued a piece of bulletin board border on the sides.

Once I was done decorating the outside of the crate, I placed a few pieces of tissue paper inside of it. Then I put each of the items inside, being sure that the messages were easy to read.

 

This turned out to be a wonderful DIY gift basket for their engagement. I think that my friends really enjoyed this surprise. It was my way of imparting some marital advice on a couple that is just starting out. If you are looking for a unique gift basket, this would be the way to go.

 

 

 

 

5 of My Favorite Love Quotes

Any kind of quote tends to stick with you. They are these short little snippets that describe an immense feeling that you have and puts it in a succinct sentence. I’m certainly a huge fan of quotes that bring an emotion to my mind. Here are my top 10 Love Quotes.

1. Your Smile is My Favorite

 
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There is no doubt that a smile is one of the first things that a person notices about you. When you are showing your happiness to the world around you, it makes your beauty shine. When I think about my husband being happy, it brings a smile to my face.

2. True Love

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Even though I have those butterflies that swarm around my stomach when my darling kisses my lips, I never forget what true love looks like. It isn’t those warm fuzzies, but instead it is hard work that requires me to put his needs first. When I am doing that for him and he is doing that for me, neither of us are in want.

 

3. Difficult Days Grow Love

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It is in the hard days of your life that love abounds and shines through. When you are going through something difficult with your loved one, you see what your love is truly made of.

4. Love Is Not A Score

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This isn’t a game, and love does not keep score. When you start keeping score, you both loose. When you are married or in a romantic relationship, working together as a team is what counts.

 5. Love is a Choice

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Love is always a choice, not something you fall in and out of, despite what songs and television teach you. Every day you must get up and decide to stay committed to the ones in your life that you care for. Whether you are in a dating relationship or marriage, love is a decision. There may have been some type of natural attraction at the start, but it eventually becomes something you decide to do.

 

What are your favorite quotes or scriptures about love? I would love to read them in the comments.

 

How To Make Homemade Applesauce

I’m not a big fan of store bought applesauce. In my opinion, it is very gritty and has a kind of weird flavor. I don’t say that to tell anyone that enjoys jarred applesauce that they are wrong for it, but merely to explain why I take the time to make my own DIY applesauce. Since I was a child, steaming hot applesauce covered in cinnamon was a favorite at the dinner table. My mom most often made this anytime she cooked a ham. It is now something that my children enjoy during dinner when we are eating ham. You might be really surprised at how easy it is to make homemade applesauce.

 

Ingredients For Homemade Applesauce

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4-5 Pounds of apples (red, green, or a mixture)

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 of water

 

How to Make Applesauce

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You can make as little or as much as you desire, but I think 4-5 pounds of apples is enough to feed a family of 5. They will cook down substantially in the process.

First thing you will need to do is peel and core the apples. After they are peeled and cored, then cut them in about one inch cubes. Place them in a pot and sprinkle with the lemon juice and add the water. Cover the pot with a lid. Bring them to a boil and then take the heat down to medium for about 30 minutes or until tender. Once they are fully cooked, remove from heat and use a hand masher or fork to mash the apples. This is the same process you would use for hand mashed potatoes.

When the apples are mashed as much as you desire, cut a few pieces of butter and lay on top. Then sprinkle the top with cinnamon.

A Few Pointers

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One thing you need to be careful about when making DIY applesauce, is that it can scorch to the bottom of the pan if you are not careful. You need to watch the pot and make sure that it is not cooking faster than what the apples can produce liquid. The reason you start with 1/2 cup of water at the bottom of the pan is to give the apples the time to create their own juices as they cook down.

The lemon juice is an optional addition, and if you do not have this in your refrigerator, I wouldn’t make a special trip for it. The lemon juice can act as a preservative and give the sauce a little bit more of a tart flavor. I’ve made this recipe plenty of times without it.

Personally, my applesauce turns out sweet enough without sugar. If you have made yours with all green apples, you might consider skipping the lemon juice and adding a bit of sugar to taste. I suggest wait until it is cooked completely and try it out before adding sugar.

I like to add cinnamon to my recipe, but that is also another optional ingredient.

 

Hope you all enjoy this simple recipe for homemade sauce. Please feel free to ask me any questions in the comment section and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

First Day of School

Today was the first day of school for my two older boys. One is going into the 4th grade and the other is going into 2nd. We are all very excited around here for them to attend public school this year. In the past, I have homeschooled them every year. I decided that at least this year, we needed to send them to public school so that I could focus on teaching my 3 year old some pre-school concepts. It had become a bit overwhelming to me to try and work with them all.

What I Have Learned About Sending My Children to Public School 

 

Since my children didn’t attend public schools starting in kindergarten, I was very behind in what it takes to send a child to school. The prospect of sending them to a school each day sounded much less complicated then educating them myself. Turns out, I have no experience in enrolling children, taking them back to school shopping, navigating a school building for open house, or dropping them off and picking them up from school. I felt like it was my first time going to school as well. The teachers do not hold your hand as a parent when you have a 2nd and 4th grader attending school for the first year. They do this with pre-school and kindergarten ages, but not older children.

First Day of School Pictures

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When I was growing up, there was no such thing as first day of school pictures. I blame it on Pinterest that parents feel like they have to take a picture each year of their children heading off to school. Many of my friends post really cute pictures with their kids standing next to signs saying which grade they are going into. I’m lucky that I even remembered to take the picture and that all of my children are facing the same direction when I snapped it.

Difficult Weeks Leading Up to School

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My oldest son was having a very difficult time with the thought of attending public school. He takes after me in that he does not enjoy change, in fact, he fears it greatly. No matter how much we tried to ease his mind that public school is not so different than being homeschooled and attending a co-op once a week, he wouldn’t be consoled. It has made for some very difficult weeks leading up to the first day of school. Even this morning, he was doing what he could to keep from crying. While it is heartbreaking to see him go through this emotional time, it is completely necessary. All of life will bring him challenges and changes that he will have to overcome. Many days, I was very close to telling him he could be homeschooled this year to keep his fears at bay. However, this is the best decision for him and he needs to face these fears. These are the days when being  a parent is very difficult. Making a decision you know your child will hate you for, but you still choose to stick by it, takes extreme perseverance.

 

What about you? How are your children handling the first day of school this year? I would love to hear about it in the comments section.

Raising Boys: Learning About The Critters in My Backyard

I have one of those kids, you know, the kind that catches every creepy crawly thing he can get his hands on. Do you have a child like that? They are completely fascinated with our world and all of the creatures that God put in it. I’m so happy that I have boys that want to learn about the world and enjoy playing in it. This past summer has presented us with a wealth of bugs, reptiles and slithering things.

Encouraging the Learning

Ever since my boys were young, I’ve encouraged them to learn and explore. My oldest son has had to be taught to have the boldness and confidence to explore. My middle child is the one we have to hold back from exploring dangerous areas. My third boy is a beautiful blend of the two older ones. He is confident, yet reserved at the same time.

I think that the best thing we can do as parents is facilitate an environment that allows our children to gain new understandings. Don’t get me wrong here, I do not have some kind of well thought out plan that spurs them to learn. However, I just make it possible for them and encourage them along. Instead of hovering over them and teaching them what I want them to learn, I allow them to ask the questions about things they curious about. Of course, there are times of instruction they do not necessarily ask for or even want. Whenever possible, though, I let them have a relaxed environment where they can decide what they want to learn about.

The Responsibility of Learning 

So many parents think that it is their job to make certain each one of their children has learned what needs to be learned. While parents are responsible for teaching, it isn’t their job to do the learning. Children need to be taught to take education and understanding into their own hands. It is your child’s responsibility to gain knowledge. At the end of the day, no one can learn for them. That is why the best thing for parents to do is create an environment in which a child can gain knowledge and then teach them it is their responsibility. This is a counter cultural idea in our society, since so many parents have been convinced that it is their’s or the teacher’s job to do the learning for their kids.

When you allow your children to be curious and determine things they learn more about, they will develop a mind for learning. Then, they need to be taught it is their job as a kid to learn. I regularly share with my children what everyone’s role in the home is. It is their dad’s and my role to take care of them in every way we can, and it is their job to grow up so that one day they can care for themselves.

Slithering and Crawling Things in the Yard

Here are just a few of the snapshots we captured each day as my boys caught these fine creatures. My oldest son does not like holding these kinds of things, and the youngest is still a bit uncertain. My middle boy is the one that caught them all and posed for each picture. Thank goodness the other two have him to handle the creepy crawlies.

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3 Ways to Model Good Social Media Behavior

With so many ways to digitally connect with each other without having to have a face to face conversation, I have started wondering some things. I have worked with teenagers for 12 years and I notice more and more that they will post things in texts messages or social media outlets that they wouldn’t have the guts to say otherwise. In a sense, I feel like I see things written out that wouldn’t even be polite or nice to say.

First World Problems

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What do we do with a generation that is learning how to relate through these disconnected means? It is so hard to think that my children will be relating to their friends on a different playing field than I was when growing up. I’m not quite sure how to handle these advances with them. While I do personally enjoy texting, facebook, pinterest, and some of the other social media giants, I am experiencing this in the middle of my life. I’m not a young child being exposed to these ways of communications as my main forms of communicating.

How to Model Good Behavior With Social Media

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I think that we have to model for our children the right ways to handle the advancing technology. Here are some things that I try to implement in my own home:

 

Dinner is off limits– during out meal together at night, I do not answer texts, emails, or phone calls.

Time limit– I try to limit my personal computer time. While I work on my computer much of the day for my job, if I do not have to be on my phone or computer for those reasons, I try to limit my time.

Socialize– even though so many of my friends are busy, I try to make time to go out with them when we can. I invite people over, and let my children have their friends over. I think it is important to have humans in our home, not just skype or google hangouts.

 

So, do you think that social media and texting allows people to be more bold or more cowardly? Is it better to say things through those outlets you wouldn’t say to someone’s face? Or would it be better to only say the things in those outlets that you would willing say if to someone’s face?

How to Make a Galaxy Design on White Canvas Shoes

About two years ago, I retired a pair of white converse tennis shoes. I really liked wearing them, but they had become so dirty, that it was a bit embarrassing to wear them. I had washed them over and over in bleach water, to only get a few more weeks of wear out of them before they looked awful again. For that reason, I went with a comfortable pair of walking shoes in black.

Being the frugal person that I am, I kept the white shoes in case I needed them for something. Well, that thing finally arrived. I saw this really awesome idea somewhere about creating a galaxy design on your clothing and shoes. I got really excited when I found DIY galaxy instructions of how to decorate my shoes with a few simple items.

Items You Need to Make Galaxy Shoes

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white canvas or cloth shoes

blue sharpie

black sharpie

purple nail polish

white nail polish

light blue nail polish

glitter nail polish

rubbing alcohol

cotton balls

 

How to Make the Design

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The first thing you will need to do is to use your blue and black sharpies to color the entire surface of the shoes that is cloth. Just be sure that you color all of the areas. It is ok if you overlap the colors and make some areas more blue or more black. Once you have the shoe covered in color, you will need to take a cotton ball and the rubbing alcohol to blend the colors. Wet down a cotton ball and rub over the shoe. You will immediately notice that the color lines start to bleed into one another. Once you have blended the colors together, you need to let the shoes dry.

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Once the shoe has dried, you can use your different colored nail polishes to decorate the shoe. Use the dark colored purple to create darker circular areas. A light blue or white color can easily brighten up areas of the galaxy design. Finish off the design with the glitter to make sparkly stars on the canvas. This DIY galaxy design can be made in whatever colors and way that you most prefer.

 

Check out my video tutorial here to see some extra tips that you can do to make this design.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a message in the comments and I’ll be glad to answer you.

5 Reasons Why You Should Kiss Your Spouse Goodbye

 

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Austin and I have been kissing, “goodbye” our entire marriage, and it has done wonderful things for our relationship. This is a principal that my mom and dad instilled in me while I was growing up. My parents have always kissed each other before leaving one another.

Seeing as how they have been happily married for 40 plus years, I think taking their advice on this one is important. Here are the top five reasons you should kiss your spouse goodbye.

1. You Never Know What Will Happen ambulance-1334534-m

Of course, I’m going to start this out with the cliche’ reason…you just never know what will happen. It is the honest to goodness truth my friends. You do not know if this goodbye will be your last. I have a friend in the ministry that lost his wife to an aneurism this past year.

They were at church together, and she suddenly fell ill in the middle of Sunday School. She was in critical condition by the time he got to her, and she did not wake up. I don’t share this to scare you about losing your spouse or loved ones, but it is important that you know it is a possibility.

2. Non-Sexual Physical Connection is Important little-island-of-love-458411-m

So many times in our marriages, we can forget that non-sexual physical connection is vital. If the only time you are touching your spouse is during those intimate moments, then you are missing something key in your marriage.

Especially for a woman, there needs to be a time when she is able to physically express herself without it leading to intimate moments. Your relationship will be stronger when you make it a priority to be affectionate with one another outside of the bedroom.

3. Kissing is a Great Way to Model a Healthy Marriage to Others IMG_20140406_160554

Kissing your spouse goodbye is a perfect way to show those around you that you are happily married. This is especially important for your children to see. Believe me, they are seeing a great deal of sexual affection being displayed. It is really important that you show them what a healthy relationships look like.

Even it if it a bit weird for you to kiss your spouse in front of your children, it really is a good idea for them to know you love each other. They are seeing plenty of people kissing, and often, those people are not committed to one another. 

4. You Will Be Happier 

There are going to be times that you are mad with your spouse. When you make it a habit to always kiss each other before leaving, you will have to put those differences aside. At least for a few moments, your attitude toward your spouse is going to soften.

This is a great way to keep yourself in check in your marriage. When you have physical affection being displayed toward each other every couple of hours, you will be happier in your marriage.

5. Just Because You Can 

In all seriousness here, why wouldn’t you kiss the love of your life every single day? Remember when you were dating and all you could think about was the next time you could kiss them? You married that man or woman for a whole host of reasons, and one of those reasons was because you loved to kiss them.

When you make it a priority to kiss each other goodbye, or goodnight, you won’t have a single day that passes where you haven’t connected physically. I know there will be days when you don’t have the time or energy to be together in an intimate way, but kissing takes little time and is very effective.

What is your top reasons for kissing your spouse goodbye. Leave me a message in the comments. I would love to hear your thoughts!

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