Saturday, November 29, 2008

Disney on Ice

Avery's best friend got her tickets to Disney on Ice for her birthday and tonight was the big night. Luckily we've spent the last week at Grandma's house who has cable, and we've been watching our fair share of Disney's Playhouse in order to get the girls ready and excited to see Mickey Mouse.

We got home from vacation about 12:45, ate lunch, put the girls down for naps, got them up, bathed them and left for our big night. As soon as they heard we were going to see Mickey Mouse, both of their eyes lit up with that magical excitement. Avery decided that she wanted to see all the princesses and so she needed to dress like a princess. Here's what they wore.
Avery stepped into the car at the end of the night, turned around and looked at me with her eyes glowing and said "that was sooo much fun!" She also was a bit concerned we might have lost the tickets because she wants to go back tomorrow =)
Our conversation on the way home:
Avery: "I wanted to go on the ice too"
Brent: "You wanted to go ice skating? Maybe some day we can take you ice skating."
Avery: "But I can't ice skate. I don't have ice skates. I only have shoes. But I really wanted to ice skate with the monkeys and the princesses and the bear and Mickey Mouse."

Elliana's strain of consciousness since we left the arena:
"Monkey's, roarrrr (her way of saying bear), Mickey Mouse, bye bye Mickey Mouse, dance, dance, dance, yeah," This has been repeated about 20 times so far =)

I think the night was a success! Thanks Adam, Jen, Connor, and Bryce for inviting us along for such a fun evening.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Black Friday Music Deals

I love great deals. I actually plan on Christmas shopping on Black Friday this year; this is a first for me because although I love saving money, I hate crowds and traffic! Fortunately this year many places are offering their Black Friday deals online.

Brent just wrote a whole post with links to a site where you can get whole music albums for $5! There are links on his site to get this great deal as well as other great Amazon deals. Go check it out by clicking here.

Happy shopping!

Relaxing

There are two types of vacations.

First type: There is a definite schedule. You wake up, shower, get ready for the day, and spend the day busy going and doing things and visiting people that you haven't seen in a while. This type of vacation is fun, but I often need a couple weeks to recover from this type of vacation. By the time we arrive home, our whole family collapses for a couple weeks while we try to get rested up from our "vacation".

Second type: No schedule. You wake up and sit around talking and enjoying coffee and conversation. There is no place to be and no one expecting you to do anything. You simply get to be. You may make it into the shower during the morning hours, or it may be noon before you shower. You may go do things throughout the day or you may just hang around the house and play. It doesn't matter what you do; its just fun to be with people you love and who love you. By the time we arrive home, our whole family will be able to jump back into real life because we are all well rested and relaxed.

This Thanksgiving I'm thankful that we are on the 2nd type of vacation. Life has been busy and hectic the last few months and I'm so thankful God provided us the opportunity to just be.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, and I hope its a day filled with relaxing in your PJs with a cup of coffee for as long as you like!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Spiritual Journey...Prayer

(To read previous entries from My Spiritual Journey, click here)
Thoughts that I'm contemplating this week:

1. Prayer is the breath of the soul. It is more difficult to NOT breathe than to breathe.

2. Prayer is a state of helplessness. It is an honest assessment of who we are and our inability to be worthy to commune with God. Nevertheless, we approach Him in helplessness knowing only through His power are we able to pray.

3. Our state of helplessness also comes from being unable to understand God fully. Matthew 11:6 warns against our letting this inability to understand God's ways become a stumbling block.

I'm meditating on these three thoughts from the book Prayer that I mentioned last week. Its been an interesting book so far. Lots of things to think about while I'm on vacation. Unfortunately the book reading is going a bit slow while we're out of town. Sharing a bedroom with my kids doesn't allow for time to read before turning off the light at night! I'll keep reading though and update you as I go.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Vacation

Hurray for Thanksgiving vacation! We left last Friday and are enjoying a week with my family as we celebrate the Thanksgiving holidays. I'll post my spiritual journey sometime tomorrow. There's really no concept of time when you're on vacation =) I also forgot my camera cord so no pictures throughout the week. I'll post some fun pictures when we get home and adjust back to reality. But for now, I'm enjoying relaxing and catching up with the fam. You can't beat nephews to entertain your kids, moms to plan the meals, comfy beds, beautiful weather, and great conversation. I love being with my family.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Avery's biggest worry

Tonight at dinner, Avery shared her concern about when the new baby is born.

"Mommy, will you still make us breakfast when the baby comes out?"

Me: "What do you mean?"

"Will you still make us breakfast after the baby is here?"

Me: "Of course"

"The baby won't be too sad and cry if you don't hold it. Daddy could maybe hold him so you could still make us our breakfast?"

Good to know that her biggest concern at the moment is if I'm going to still be able to provide her all the meals she's used to =)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Singing songs

The girls love to sing. They sing all day long. Avery makes up most of the songs she sings. I guess its that 3 year old imagination! Elliana sings actual songs all day long. Her favorite are Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Happy Birthday, and Jesus Loves You.

We make videos every once in a while so I thought I would post a couple for you all to see. Just a warning, when Avery starts to sing, she gets very loud!
video
(when I edited it, I deleted some stuff but I forgot to save the deleted version before I uploaded it. So the video stops at 2 min. 30 and you'll just get a black screen after that.)

My Spiritual Journey...Prayer

It's Tuesday which means it's time for My Spiritual Journey update =)

I'm still working on the discipline of prayer. Last week I talked about the rhythms of life and attaching prayer to each rhythm. Its been a lot harder for me than I imagined! Controlling my mind and focusing seems to be my biggest struggle right now. So I'll continue to work on prayer until it's a definite habit throughout my day.

In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster talks about deepening your prayer life. He spends a lot of time discussing practicing prayer so that you become better at it. The whole concept just fascinates me. If I evaluate my last 5 years of life, I definitely pray more today than I did 5 years ago, but don't know if I could say I pray deeper or better. The whole idea of becoming better at praying is intriguing.God is drawing me into a journey to learn about prayer, so I've started reading this book entitled, Prayer by Ole Hallesby. Honestly, I've had it on my book shelf since college but never felt motivated to actually read it. My goal is to finish it by next week. There's 2 more books about prayer that I want to read next. Its safe to say that God is giving me a thirst for this journey about prayer and its exciting to see what He's going to teach me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Saturday morning we all decided to bake Cinnamon Coffee Cake. It was a simple recipe so the girls could easily help...which they loved!The recipe was so good and so easy, that I'm going to paste it below. (all credit goes to Sara Beth. My family is loving all the cooking from scratch recipes you sent us! Thanks!!!) The bread came out of the oven around 10:30am. I took the picture below at 12:00pm. Do you think our family liked it?CINNAMON SENSATION COFFEE CAKE
¼ cup margarine
¾ cup sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping:
1 cup brown sugar
3 Tbs flour
2 tsp cinnamon
4 Tbs margarine
½ cup nuts, finely chopped (we left the nuts out. I'm not a big fan of nuts in my food!)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 9x9 pan to grease. In a medium bowl, cream margarine and sugar; beat in egg. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Stir in vanilla. Pour into prepared pan.

To make topping: In a small bowl, mix together sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in margarine with pastry blender or fork. Spoon half over batter and swirl. Spoon remaining topping over batter and sprinkle with nuts. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Family Fun Day

Family Fun Day was an exciting day around here. We started the morning with a fun breakfast and then went to see pictures of our SON! He's healthy and weighs 12 oz right now. Avery thinks that's big enough for him to come out; then she decided she doesn't like boys anymore and would rather have a sister. When I reminded her she already had a sister, she responded with "I want a different one." hmmmmmm...I'm pretty sure she meant she wanted ANOTHER one, but we still had to have the talk about sisterly love =)
The rest of the afternoon was pretty shot, so we tried to salvage the evening by having a breakfast for dinner night followed by a game night.
Avery's favorite game is Buckeroo. Its this little horse that bucks every time you touch it too hard while trying to put all the gear on it. The girls could care less about putting the gear on, but boy do they laugh when that horse bucks. Who knew a bucking horse was such entertainment! Elliana's favorite game is Lucky Ducks. Unfortunately there is not an off switch on this game...the ducks just keep quacking and quacking and quacking...again hilarious fun for a 1 year old!

What do you all do for your family fun times???

Friday, November 14, 2008

Its a.....

We went to the doctor this morning and discovered the little peanut growing in my tummy is a
Here's a less personal picture of our little baby =)Now I just need to figure out what to do with a boy. Do you think they like wearing pink clothes, playing tea party, and dressing up like fairies???

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thanksgiving project

Our craft for today was to make Thanksgiving buckets. We covered an oatmeal tin in construction paper, traced and cut out our hands, made feathers, and glued it all together.
Then we wrote on slips of paper things we are thankful for and put them in our tin. We're going to write one every morning after breakfast and every night after dinner.
The idea is to help them discover other things to be thankful for besides just toys. If you can read the slips of paper above, you'll notice we're definitely not there yet. We're still in the bike and toy phone department as far as thankfulness goes! Hopefully we'll progress into other areas throughout the next few weeks =) But we'll put 2 slips of paper in a day until Thanksgiving and then we can take all the slips of paper out of the tin and read everything we have been thankful for over the last month. Just a side note: Credit for this idea is owed to the people at Blissfully Domestic. They post tons of great craft ideas for kids as well as other things. You should check them out =)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One Day

Monday I was so sick that I couldn't do anything. That meant I spent one day not doing laundry, not loading/unloading the dishwasher, not picking up and cleaning the house. One day of doing nothing means today has been an endless day of trying to catch up and get the house back in order and this still awaits me after the kids go to bed. I knew there was a reason I never let myself get sick!

My Spiritual Journey...

Tuesday is my day to update my spiritual journey and hold myself accountable in my relationship with the Lord. This past week has been interesting to say the least. Last Monday, one of the kids I watch was sick which quickly passed to my kids. After a week of bleaching bathrooms and toys, we finally recovered and everyone was healthy...that is until today. Unfortunately the same virus is going around the nursery at church and since I coordinate the nursery on Sundays, I woke up this morning with the sickeningly gross virus! I've never had to call Brent to come home from work before, but today I had to make that call. Both girls were starving and crying and every time I moved, I would have to run to the bathroom. All that to say, my consistently has not been the greatest. But here's the rundown of what I attempted this past week.

1. I continued to implement the discipline of mediation in my life, but added a little more structure and planning to when and where I would meditate.

2. Prayer: last week I mentioned that I was going to work on some structure in my prayer life. Here's what I did
  • Continued my morning quiet time before the girls got up
  • After I got everyone down for naps, I would visit this site http://www.sacredspace.ie It walks you through some scripture and gives some specific scriptural things to pray for.
  • At the Renevore conference, I attended a workshop entitled "Family Spirituality" They gave this suggestion that I have been working to implement daily over the past few weeks.
  1. You list things that you do all day long. For example, shower, fix breakfast, load/unload the dishwasher, fix lunch, check email, etc...
  2. Next attach a prayer request to each thing on your life. For example,
shower = pray for my attitude and focus as I go throughout my day
fix breakfast = pray for Brent, his relationship with Christ, and his
productivity level today at word
Load/unload the dishwasher= pray for the girls to come to faith in Christ
(and so on...you get the point)

Next you list 2 things that frustrate you during the day and attach a prayer request to those:

1. The girls both start disobeying at the same time and I can't get
anything done = pray for some of our friends who are missionaries in
China
2. When a kid that I watch shows up really late without calling and we all sit
around waiting for him/her and we can't go do anything fun = pray for the
mentoring ministry and all my mentors as they invest in their mentees.

This list has helped me to be productive in my prayer life instead of just periodically praying throughout the day. This doesn't replace the sporadic prayers throughout the day that the Lord brings to mind, but it does take those mundane daily tasks and attaches meaning and significance to them. Also, by attaching prayers to my frustrations, it helps those frustrations become more enjoyable as well.

I implemented these 3 things so that not only do I have structured time alone with God at least twice during the day, I'm also spending time in prayer throughout the entire day. I'm excited to be healthy and get a little more consistency this next week!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Family Fun Day

This weekend we did more of a family weekend away than just Friday fun day. We left Friday morning to drive to Tulsa to visit Brent's brother, sister-in-law, and new baby Seanna. The trip was a blast, and thanks to our little story book, we were free of potty accidents and there was no anxiety when it came to bedtime. In fact, we pulled up to Cory and Amber's house and I turned around and announced, we were at their house. Elliana responded with "potty, big girl potty". Maybe the book will work that well other places in public =) Here are some pics from the weekend.Here's Elliana enjoying Seanna's stuffed animals from her crib. Uncle Cory was so fun and played with the girls all weekend. They loved it! So did I because it meant I got to play with Seanna!Elliana loved their dog. Since coming home, everytime I mention our trip, Elli replies with "puppy, puppy."
Here's the sweet little girl herself! Welcome to the family Seanna!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Story Books

This weekend we are going on a trip to see our sweet new niece in Tulsa. However, I have 2 toddlers who are coming with us. Hmmmmm...could be interesting =)


Practicing: Its what we do in the Minter household. We practice everything where there is a certain expectation of behavior on the kiddos part. For example, practicing for a wedding may entail going to the location before the wedding starts, sitting still in the chair, and talking through everything that is going to happen while practicing the expected behavior. Practicing bedtime routines means going over the rules and then practicing those rules over and over until they have them down. Practicing coming when I call ends up being almost like a game of hide and seek except they come running to me when I call. And so on...you get the point =) But we practice everything! And of course practicing is a great game around here with lots of dancing, clapping, high fives, and jumping up and down. Practicing expected behavior eliminates frustration on my behalf, and I think it 's freeing for them to know what is expected of them.

For this weekend though, I was a bit nervous that just practicing wasn't going to work. Being in someone else's house who has a small baby is such an abstract concept for such little minds to grasp.

video
This is the story book I created for the weekend

Story books: My friend and mentor gave me a suggestion to create a story book for the trip. Something where the girls could actually see my expectations and read them and reread them. So this week, I created such a book. I took actual photographs of the girls and wrote a book for them about the weekend. It only took me about 30 minutes to put it together b/c I already had pictures of everything I needed on my computer. After I designed it on the computer and printed it, Brent took it to Staples for them to bind it. That last step probably isn't necessary, but it sure makes it look cool =) It may sound like a lot of work, and I guess it is, but I want to use every possible tool I have to help my children succeed as they enter into new situations in life. We'll see if this is one of those tools that work =)

Here I am reading the book to the girls for the first time. They have now read it at least a dozen times today. They have taken it everywhere with them today. I think they like it =)
video

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Theology from a 3 year old

Me: "Jesus is always there to comfort you when you are scared."

Avery: "Sometimes he's sleeping though and I can't wake him up."

Me: "Jesus never sleeps. He's always awake and ready to listen to you."

Avery: "But in the story, he was sleeping in the boat. But maybe if I scream really loud like this 'JEEEEEEESUS' he'll wake up and hear me." (she's referring to Mark 4:36-41. Jesus Calms the Storm but the disciples have to wake him up)

Me: "Even though his friends woke him up in the story, Jesus is always ready to listen to you and can always hear you. You don't have to scream to get His attention."

Avery: "I probably do mommy. I never see Him when I just whisper."

Me: "Brent, your daughter needs to ask you some questions.

(Brent tells the rest of the story on his blog. Go read it by clicking here)

My Spiritual Journey...

(To read my journey up to this point, click here)

Things I've learned this last week:

1.I must schedule time in my day to practice meditation. It will never happen on a consistent basis if I don't.

2.Meditation involves not just my mind but my imagination. This was a hard one for me to admit. I guess the imagination just seems too pagan or something=) But its helpful to visual God on His throne when I'm mediating on His authority and power in my life. Its helpful to visual creation as I mediate on his ability to create all things perfectly. And so on....

3.Meditation will be a journey that reveals to me my depravity as well as the goodness of God. The more I meditate, the more I am aware of how big God is and how much He can and will do throughout the world and in my life. This awareness also humbles me and causes me to fall into confession and prayer. Meditation seems to be the springboard for these other 2 disciplines at this point in my journey.

4.God can and will speak to me; I just need to be still. Meditation, when scheduled into my day, allows me to be still before God on a consistent basis. That stillness, quietness, and listening to God draws my heart closer and closer to Him which allows me to hear his voice clearer and clearer. The more I practice this discipline on a consistent basis, the easier it becomes to quiet my heart and mind before God.

5.Sometimes taking 5 minutes and writing a to do list for the day before sitting with the Lord seems to help clear my mind and allows me greater concentration and quietness of heart, soul, and mind.

6.Meditation needs to be taught and practiced in our family on a consistent basis. I want my girls to know from the very beginning of their life what it means to allow God to speak to them in the quiet of their heart, to sit and think about what God is teaching them, and to think of the things of God as they walk through their day.

7.No matter how long I practice, God will always be teaching me. That's exciting to me. I will never have “arrived” if I just practice enough. God will just keep drawing me closer to Him as I continue to humble myself, discipline myself, and allow Him to speak to me.

8.This spontaneous, unstructured girl is learning how to be spontaneous in the midst of structure! Who knew the 2 could exists side by side =)


How it looked this past week:

1.I spent time every day sitting in complete stillness before the Lord reflecting and meditating on whatever He had shown me that morning in my quiet time. What I need to do better: Schedule in the time of stillness. The stillness happened at such random times that it was hard to focus and sometimes it felt like I was just trying to squeeze it into a busy day. If I evaluate my day and realize that almost everyday, I have a few down moments at 1:00pm and sit down in stillness then, I think I will have an easier time focusing.

2.The girls and I practiced noticing the things of God everywhere we went. The backyard, out the windows, driving in the car. We had a constant conversation about God's creation and His forgiveness of us.

3.Brent and I focused on giving Avery one idea for the week for her to meditate on. Of course we didn't call it meditating to her =) We just told her and helped her think about God's forgiveness all week. By the end of the week, I didn't even have to remind her to ask God to forgive her. She just did it after she served her consequence for whatever behavior she had done. The power of meditation!


Goals for next week:
1. Continue to practice meditation and implement a consistent time of stillness for me by myself as well as for Brent, me, and the girls together.

2.Implement some structure into my prayer life as well. In the journey of meditation, prayer has become more and more important to me. I need to implement more structure though in order to be able to have a conversation with God and not just a me talking to God time.

I'll let you know how it goes next Tuesday =)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Daddy Home

Its been a day filled with Elliana making some bad choices as far as obedience goes. After her last stint in Time out, she looked at me and said "daddy home. peeeese" Its been a long day for both of us!

Fairies

Remember Avery's best friend? The one in all the pictures next to her at her birthday party? How long do you think his dad is going to keep letting him play with Avery after today?
But to his defense, he was a butterfly and not a fairy. There are boy butterflies!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

She turned 3

Avery turned 3 today! Its hard to believe that my little girl went from this
to thisto this
to this
Happy Birthday Avery! I love you very much.
(for more pictures of her birthday party, click here)

Family Fun Day

Friday means Family Fun Day! This Friday was pretty much all about Avery because she turns 3 on Nov. 1st. She was having her birthday party with all her friends on Saturday, so we made Friday her family birthday celebration.


Of course she picked McDonalds as the place to go for breakfast! Who knew the playland at McDonalds was ever empty? It was a blast and I think it was the first time Elliana ever actually got to play up in the tunnels because there were no big kids scaring her. They were both sweaty and tired by the time we pulled them out of the playland!



We went home and played in the toyroom while daddy put together her present from Gramps. Can you see the smile on her face =) She loved her new big girl bike! Thanks Gramps!







After naps, Avery also got to open her present from mommy and daddy. I had made a scrapbook for her over her 2nd year. Nothing fun like a bike, but one day she'll really like it =)



We ended the night with a fun costume party at some of our good friend's house. Avery was Goldilocks, Elli was baby bear, I was momma bear, and Brent was the hunter...Papa bear didn't make it =)



Another great family day together!!