June 2, 2011

Summertime Ideas!

I love summertime and the freedom it brings with being able to spend more time with my kiddos...but it can also be overwhelming.  Days and weeks can slip away so easily if things aren't planned.  I have NEED to write things down on the calendar so I will actually remember to do them!  So I encourage you to do the same....go ahead and write a few things down of activities you really want to do!  I discussed w/ my kiddos some of the things they want to do.  A few of ours include:  having a treasure hunt outside, making homemade limeades (one of my favorite summer memories w/ my mom), going to campus for a picnic, the zoo, painting on canvas, sleeping outside in the tent.  Some of the things I also plan to do with them is having them pick out new bible verses for the summer, doing some Kids of Integrity lessons, and continuing to practice things learned this past school year.

I always loved my mom preparing fun snacks for us as a child.  She has passed along an OLD cookbook that contains fabulous snacks!  You can buy it here. It has creative illustrations too...very fun!
A couple sites that have calendars of activities are Amanda Bennett and one from Disney.  There are so many....just google summer calendar of kids activities!

My friend, Sarah, of Wildflowers Character Resources, has also created a list of frugal summer ideas from A to Z!  You can find it in her May newsletter (sign up here and even download a free sample).  For example, for the letter B she suggests creating fun with balloons, bubbles, and a big box!  ...it's the simple pleasures of life, right?!!

What are some fun activities or ideas you want to share with us?

February 3, 2011

.Kids of Integrity.

A friend of mine on Facebook posted a link to this amazing website yesterday and I just had to share!  It's such a great resource for parents to use to teach their children different virtues that lead to Godly character.  The site is so fun and very user friendly.  When you click on the lessons tab they have all the virtues on the left with multiple activities/lessons on the right to choose from.  For example, if you choose to teach obedience they give you the resources of a parent's prayer, memory verses, speaking blessings, creative discipline, object lessons, and bible stories.  They even have it set up to where you can download a pdf file for the entire lesson.  They suggest that a week is about the right amount of time to go over each attribute. You can visit their site HERE of their Facebook page HERE.

December 11, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I LOVE the season of Christmas!  I start listening to Christmas music in late October....my hubby has learned to accept this!  I love all the days leading up to Christmas day filled with baking, advent activities, crafts, decorating, parties, and carols.  But most of all, I want my children to know the TRUE meaning for why we celebrate this day....that HE is the reason!  I want them to experience that giving is better than receiving....that it's not all about them and what they want out of the toy catalog.  I've been able to take them to the store to pick out gifts for other children who don't have much and they were just as excited to choose something for another child.  One thing another friend of mine did was kept her nativity scene in a place where the kids could reach it and play with it.  My nativity scene wasn't breakable so I moved it off of a table and put it at their level.  We also have a veggie tale nativity scene that they love to play with.  Both of these give them something tangible to relate to when they hear the Christmas story.  I also keep a bin filled with different Christmas books in the living room that they enjoy reading all month.

Not only do I love Christmas, I also love traditions (whether it be Christmas or otherwise!)  We had a book recommended to us in Sunday school as we were studying traditions by Noel Piper (wife of John Piper).  It is called Treasuring God in Our Traditions.  In this book she explains the importance of having traditions in our family and gives examples of some things that they do.  So far I've only read the chapter she wrote on Christmas traditions, but I can't wait to dive into the rest of it!  You can purchase the book or download it for free on her website HERE.
I would love to hear some of your family's traditions!  Some of ours include an advent calendar, singing "O Christmas Tree" together after we put the lights on the tree, making Jesus a birthday cake on Christmas day, baking appetizers and treats all day on Christmas Eve to enjoy that evening, reading the Christmas story before we open any presents, participating in some sort of organization that gives to needy children/families, watching multiple Christmas shows and going to look at Christmas lights in our town.
Please share with us traditions you've started with your family!  You just might inspire another family to do the same!

October 14, 2010

{Here I Am}

I realize it's been over a month since my last post....aaggghhhh!  Our lives have become significantly crazier busier since school has started.  I feel like I'm running around with my hair on fire most days.  I was feeling overwhelmed, tired, and frazzled.  Is this our new normal??!!  After about a month of feeling like this, I asked myself, "what is the purpose in all this day in and day out?"   As a believer, I know our purpose is to know Him and to make Him known.  The Lord brought to mind a verse from Genesis when God was talking to Abraham.  God simply said Abraham's name and he answered, "HERE I AM."  Personally, this verse has always scared me a little.  Abraham was so ready and willing when God called.  I guess I always thought that if I said 'here I am' God would send me to Africa or something!  But I really began to meditate on this verse and ponder why God gave me this verse.  To say 'here I am'....for me, Kristin Cook.  I think God was trying to remind me that my 'here I am' is different than my husbands, best friends, or Billy Graham!  So how does God want to use me when I am willing to say 'here I am'?  He brought to mind that He just might need me to be that loving mom that wipes noses and changes diapers all day.  The taxi mom by taking my kids here and there.  The helpful wife by picking up my hubby's dry cleaning.  God wants me to be available to Him throughout my busy day and look for opportunities to produce fruit and be an encouragement to others.  My 'here I am' might be something as simple as opening a door for another mom who has her hands full....believe me, it can be a huge blessing!  So, in the midst of all our crazy, busy days...I need to be reminded to look for opportunities of how God wants to use me...even if it's just doing laundry w/ a happy heart.

August 18, 2010


I just have to take a minute to brag on my church, Wildwood Community Church.  I always look forward to going because I know that we are consistently going to be fed the Word of God.   We are being taught sound doctrine and theology...the 'meat' of the Word.  I know our teachers are spending hours in the Word preparing and also reading and sharing the thoughts of respectable Christian authors/leaders such as MacArthur, Piper, Luther, Pack and Sproul.  Especially when it comes to parenting...such great wisdom in our leaders at Wildwood.  Which brings me to share a little of what we've been taught this summer on parents and children in Proverbs.  These things are just some of the highlights, but a few things to think on...

One thing that really hit me and made my heart sink a little was this...
Children will replicate the sins of their parents (sins that they are observing or witnessing) The character of the parents is revealed in their children.  Our children learn from us and reflect who we are. 
I don't know about you, but that made me want to first..throw up, but secondly, to really draw closer to the Lord so my children are observing, not a perfect mother, but one who seeks HIM.

A few more bits and pieces...

*Train them in truth.  Turn their eyes from you to God.  Target and appeal to their heart.
*Let them know we pray because Jesus is the one who meets our needs!
*Train their conscience...listen to Jesus' voice
*We discussed how instucting them at such a young age ultimately prepares them for adulthood.  We are to equip them to become independent, godly, wise and self-controlled adults.
*'Because I said so' or 'If you don't, I'm going to...'  aren't as effective as "Because the Bible tells us that...."
*Prov.13:24, 19:18, 15:32-33, 17:6, 7:1-3, 3:21-24, 2:1-2

We talked about teaching your children the 4 R's of Instruction...
Recognize the situation
Respond...by running from (repent) or running to (faith)
Relying on wisdom....from the Word, parents, and their conscience
Reaping...consequences or blessings

I love this quote from Alistair Begg:
"I would use every ordinary thing that happened in every ordinary day to point them to God."
Such a great example of living out Deut.6:4-9.  What are some experiences you've had w/ your children where you've used ordinary things to point them to the Lord?

July 1, 2010

Memorizing Scripture

Hello!  I have been thinking lately about some different ways to teach my children scripture.  We've always just recited them at random times at home or while we are in the car.  I have a couple friends (Jenn T & Anna G) who will put a scripture verse in their car on the headrest of the front seat so their children can see it while in their carseats.  And it's a reminder to say it to their child while strapping them in!  If your child can read you could put verses on notecards to leave on their bathroom mirror or nightstand.  One resource I purchased was the A Beka ABC Bible Memory Cards.  Not only does it help w/ teaching them their letters, but it also has a corresponding verse.

I also found this site HERE that has some great verses to start out with.

I would love for us to share!!!  Please leave a comment with some different ideas of what you do or ideas you have come across that sound great!  I would love to hear from YOU!!!

June 15, 2010

Lamplighter...Building Character One Story At A Time

One of my dear friends, Amanda O, came across a ministry called Lamplighter Ministries.  Basically, they find old books ..(some were written in the early 1700s!)... that have a biblical theme or spiritual truth and republish them.  Here are a few statements from their website...

The mission of Lamplighter Ministries is “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord, by building Christ-like character one story at a time.” The mission of this ministry is deeply rooted in the truths found in Malachi 4:6 and Luke 1:17.

It is our commitment that each Lamplighter book instills moral values through role models that either demonstrate exemplary behavior or suffer consequences of making wrong choices. Each gripping story, written over a century ago, is character-building and biblically based, filled with dynamic role models and life-giving truths.

Lamplighter books are edited within a Biblical theological framework to ensure that each story reflects the character of God and provides key Scriptures to be stored within the heart. The uniqueness of a Lamplighter book in contrast to other books with the same title is that they have been enhanced with helpful footnotes and woven with threads of Biblical truths that will be etched into an awakened moral conscience.

They also have dramatic audio theatre which would be great for the car or to listen to at home.  You can listen to some samples HERE.  They are offering a free download of one of their great dramatic theater audios until June 30th. You can download that HERE.

Amanda recommends this resource for children around the age of 6, but they also offer books for ages 2 to 99!  She says her girls are listening to The Basket of Flowers and LOVE it and beg her to read the books to them. The depth of the lessons, biblical accuracy, and quality of publishing are a few reasons Amanda and her family appreciate these books so much!

June 5, 2010

Prayers of an Excellent Wife

I can't believe it's been a month since my last post....eeeek!  I wanted to share with you a new find....  It's a book called Prayers of an Excellent Wife by Andrew Case.  I just began reading it last week and will read a few pages each day.  Each page of the book is a prayer to pray over your hubby.  Each prayer is basically the Word of God turned into a prayer.  There are also quotes from many amazing authors such as John Piper, Jonathan Edwards, JI Packer, Charles Spurgeon, & AW Tozer. 

I purchased this book HERE.  But you can also go to Andrew Case's website and download the book as a PDF for free!!  This is what he states on his website:

"These books do not exist to make money. They exist to edify the Church, spread and deepen a passion for Scripture, and adorn the Gospel. This is why we offer them for free online and sell them for as little as possible. If anyone simply cannot afford to pay for these books, there is a Whatever-You-Can-Afford policy. We will accept whatever you’re able to pay—even if it’s nothing. It is our joy and delight to give freely what has been freely given to us (Matthew 10:8). We never want to make cost “an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ” (I Corinthians 9:12). "

He also offers two additional books: Water of the Word &  Setting Their Hope in GOD: Biblical Intercession for your Children.

May 5, 2010

~Character First~

Okay gals...I can feel summer coming on!!! WooHoo!  While that is exciting...I know that it can be easy to let time get away from things we meant/want to do.  My daughter will begin Kindergarten in the fall....which doesn't seem possible at all!!!  Where did the first 5 years of her life go??!!!  This moment came too soon :(  I have this feeling of needing to teach her more before I send her off to school.  I know if I don't plan out what I want to do/teach it won't happen.  I'm one of those people who has to write down everything so I don't forget.  ...and I love checking off lists ;)  So here's my plan...  I'm going to teach a different character quality each week this summer (or try to!!).  Have you ever heard of Character First?  I used some of their curriculum when I taught 1st grade. You can print off a page of character qualities HERE.  I love this because not only does it give the definition of a quality, it also gives the opposite of that.  For example,

Gratefulness vs. Unthankfulness
Letting others know by my words and actions how they have benefited my life

I like this b/c I can also use it in discipline by asking my children..."are you being grateful or unthankful?  Do you think God wants your heart to be grateful or unthankful?
They also have sample character cards you can print out that list a quality and ways they can demonstrate it. You can view those HERE.
I also plan to use my 'Wild Ideas Newletters' to seek activities that relate to that quality for the week. She gives a free sample here.

Anyone else have any fun ideas?? (Elisabeth Hasselbeck from The View mentioned this week that she was planting veggies in a flower pot to teach her kids patience.)

April 23, 2010

Titus 2 Website Resource

A wonderful friend of mine, Jen J, suggested a website to me that she found and wanted to share! (Thanks Jen!  That's one of my intentions w/ this blog...for all us gals to share things that will help us as moms!!)  The website is http://www.titus2.com/  The goal of their site is to encourage, equip and exhort families in Jesus Christ.  This site is full of resources!  ...Books. Articles. Recipes. Conferences...  One thing that Jen really liked was the chore charts.  They also give examples of different families chore charts, which is really helpful if you need ideas of what children should be doing at different ages.  I know some of you that read this blog are homeschooling or are considering doing so.  This site also has many helpful resources that deal w/ this subject.

On a side note...I found another wonderful cookbook!  It's called the Six O'Clock Scramble byAviva Goldfarb. This cookbook has gotten rave reviews!!!  I purchased a used one on Amazon for less than $10 smackeroos!  She has the book divided into four sections...summer/fall/winter/spring.  It's a 300 page book and I'm on page 40 and have already dog-earred a ton of EASY recipes that sound deeee-lish!!  They also have a website  http://www.thescramble.com/  On their site you can sign up for a subscription to receive a weekly meal plan plus grocery list and other fun stuff! (it's $19.50 for a 3mo subscription) She also has a Facebook page.

April 13, 2010

Seeds Worship

My fabulous sister-in-love, Natalie, got my daughters a Seeds Worship CD for their birthdays.  I've never heard of it before. ...now I'm hooked!!!  They simply put scripture verses to music.  And it's not boring, cheesy, or put-me-to-sleep music.  It's catchy and modern and my girls LOVE it!!!  I looked at their WEBSITE and they also have fun family ideas and scripture memory cards to print out!  Take a listen to what is on their CDs HERE.  You can also become a fan of them on facebook

(to follow up on my last post...  we had our recipe exchange tonight and it was FABULOUS!  We all brought 5 recipes to share and one prepared dish to eat. There was close to 20 of us, so we each left with almost 100 new recipes to try out!  ...and a full tummy!!!  Why have we not been doing that every couple months??!!
I only had one person leave a recipe on the last post!!!  C'mon girls...spread the love....leave a recipe in the comments section to share, or even a link to a favorite dish!)

On another note, we will be making the move to Oklahoma this weekend!  We're excited to be going back home, but at the same time sad to leave all our fabulous friends we've made here in TX.  It's definitely a bittersweet move.  Please say a prayer for us as we make the transition :)

April 7, 2010

What's For Dinner??!!

If you're like me, you probably constantly struggle with what to fix for dinner!  I get so tired of having the same things over and over!  I'm not passionate about cooking but I do enjoy it :)  I always grew up w/ my mom cooking wonderful meals that we would enjoy together as a family around the dinner table.  I think that is SO important!  It was a time we were able to sit as a family and share about our day.  To laugh and talk together. And I always remember my grandma Devero being a wonderful cook!  She made a chocolate pie to die for!!!  Both sets of my grandparents had gardens which I thought was awesome growing up!  I hope to do that one day, even if it's just a small garden of carrots and tomatoes!  How fun :) 

Anyway...  when I was preggo with my first I became a stay at home mom a month before I had her.  During that time I watched the Food Network constantly!!  It inspired me to be a better cook and put together better meals.  At that time I bought a three-ring binder w/ clear sleeves.  Before a recipe made it in the binder it had to be tried out first.  If we didn't like it, the recipe didn't make the binder...it went in the trash!  No need to keep recipes around that you'll never use again!  I keep in it recipes I've torn out from magazines, copied from friends, hand-written on a napkin, or copied from a recipe book.  I go through the binder every once in awhile and if I haven't made a recipe in over a year I'll just go ahead and throw it out.

My friends and I are going to have a recipe exchange next week (I'm SO excited to get new recipes!!!)  We're each bringing copies of 5 of our favorite recipes and bringing one of the recipes to eat!  Usually the best recipes are those that come from friends and family.

If you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share please leave it in the comments!  We could all use a new recipe!

Here are a couple of my favs....

My friend Amanda A. gave me this one last year and we have it all the time!!!
Turkey Pesto Sandwich
sourdough bread
provolone cheese

spread on a tablespoon of mayo and pesto on your bread.  Add the cheese and turkey and broil open faced for about 3 minutes. SO GOOD!!!

Greek Chicken
One of my favorite meals and so easy is to take chicken breasts and season them w/ Cavender's Greek Seasoning (grill or cook in skillet).  Serve w/ asparagus seasoned w/ salt and pepper baked @ 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. (On asparagus, grab at both ends and bend.  Where the natural break is is where you'll cut the ends off of the entire group.)  Another side is oven roasted red potatoes (I love red potatoes...baked or mashed!).  Pre heat oven to 450.  Quarter up to 2 lbs of potatoes. Put in ziploc bag.  Add a bag of dry onion soup mix and 1/3 cup of olive oil.  Shake, then put in a medium baking dish.  Bake 40 minutes.

Baked Lemon Pasta
This is one of our new favs!  I make this recipe by the Pioneer Woman HERE.  I also flour and salt/pepper some chicken breasts and cook them in the skillet to put them on top of the pasta. Soooo good.

If you haven't checked out Pioneer Woman's recipes, you should!!  She gives step by step instructions w/ pictures!!  You can find them HERE.  She also has a cookbook out that is excellent!!!
(I've also heard Trisha Yearwood has some fabulous down-home cookbooks.  HERE is a link to them on Amazon.)

Happy Eating!!!

March 29, 2010

Easter Activities

As we reflect this week upon the true meaning of Easter I thought I'd share a couple activities I'm doing w/ my kiddos!  I bought some Resurrection Eggs at Mardel and everyday this week we've been opening a couple eggs.  Each egg contains a symbol of the Easter story. It comes with a booklet that tells a little bit of the story w/ the corresponding egg.  The kids look forward to opening a new egg each day and reviewing the previous days.  You can purchase them HERE or make your own with instructions HERE.

Something else we plan to do is make Resurrection Cookies!  You will need to make these the night before Easter Sunday.  Here's the recipe...

You need to preheat the oven to 300 degrees (this is important--don't wait until you are half done with the recipe!)

3 egg whites
1 cup whole pecans
1 tsp. Vinegar
A pinch salt
1 cup sugar

Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers.
Read John 19:1-3.

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink.
Read John 19:28-30.

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life.
Read John 10:10-11.

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.
Read Luke 23:27.

So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him.
Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16.

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.
Read Isa. 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.
Read Matt. 27:57-60.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.

Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed.
Read Matt. 27:65-66.

GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.
Read John 16:20 and 22.

On Resurrection morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Resurrection, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.
Read Matt. 28:1-9


March 22, 2010

Called to be a Keeper

I have an amazing bible study recommendation!  The first time I took this study it was called Keepers of the Home.  I'm taking it for the second time and it's now called Called to be a Keeper.  If your church offers this study TAKE IT!!!!  If not, look into starting one!  The basic idea of this study is to encourage women to see the value of their role according to God's Word as they carry out Titus 2:3-5 and Proverbs 31.  Some of the topics include:  prayer and obedience, our relationship w/ our husband, our role as a mother, hospitality, spiritual growth, household management and cooking.

There is a study that you can order at http://keepersministry.com/   Then there is a book that we read along w/ the study called A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George that you can order HERE.  I LOVED this book.  If you are not able to do the study soon....buy this book!

More than anything, this study changed my heart.  It changed the way I looked at housework.  It changed my priorities.  It gave me a new outlook as a wife and mother.  It made me think less selfishly.  I was to take JOY in the role God had given me.  Here are some key take-aways I took from this study...
  • What I am today is what I am becoming!!!!  What I am at home is what I am!
  • The impact of my ministry to people will be in direct proportion to the time I spend w/ God
  • I create the atmosphere of my home with my attitude
  • Everyday I am called to manage what God has given me, what HE has provided through my husband's efforts and my own.
  • Does my attitude say 'Here I am' or 'There you are'?? ...become other-oriented!
  • Do my children see me run to the Lord first?
  • Everything I do AND don't do teaches
  • Ask of my actions, will this help or hinder my husband?  Begin a habit of asking yourself before you speak, "is what I'm about to say building my husband up or tearing him down?"
These are just a few of the MANY wonderful things my heart has been taught.  I could go on and on.....really.  It really will change your perspective on your "job" as a mother, wife, and daugher of God!

March 14, 2010

Prayer Calendar

How do you keep track of who you need to pray for and what you should be praying for them?  A couple of years ago I found myself feeling overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the different things I should be praying for my hubby and children.  I had a couple lists of "30 things to pray for_____", but I still didn't put them to great use.  Sooooo.....I figured I needed more structure. I needed just one thing to look at for all my peeps!  So I printed off a copy of a 31 day calendar (doesn't matter which month as long as there is 31 days).  I started off with things I needed to pray for my hubby and added one thing to each day.  For example, the 1st day of the month I would pray for his choices, 2nd day his faith, 3rd day his health, etc... Next, I added the items I wanted to pray for my children for each day. Then I went back and added members of our family and friends, one for each day.  On some days I pray for our nation, pastor, church, our children's teachers, etc...  I look at this calendar kind of as my permanent calendar for the year.  I will committ myself to pray for these items all year.  I keep it in my bible or prayer journal so I see it everyday. I made a separate one for my girls that I keep on the fridge that I've shown below.

If you are looking for specific things to pray for your husband, children and more please visit these sites:

Books by Stormie Omartian also are great as they go into more detail of the different virtues.
You can see some of them HERE.

Click HERE to download a free printable calendar.

"I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer."  Psalm 63:4