Saturday, July 31, 2010

I'll Love Her Forever, I'll Like Her For Always.....

Twelve years ago, she entered my world and I haven't recovered since!  ; )  She changed my life forever....and I am so glad!! 

It seems like I blinked a few times and she suddenly transformed from my sweet little baby girly-girl......

1-2-3....all together now..."Awwwww!"

.....into something altogether different.....

Oh my!  : )

She'll always be my baby girl no matter how big she gets & I count it one of my biggest blessings to get to be a part of her life!  ♥

Since I know she' been checking out this blog ~ in honor of her birthday, I'm giving 12 reasons (in random order) why I think she is one rockin'  kid little lady!  This is for you, ♥Ashlyn♥.......

  • You changed my name to ♥Mom(my)♥
  • You're on my side in a house that's heavier in the male gender
  • You don't just laugh ~ you ♥giggle♥
  • You want to be a cowgirl  : ), which leads me to......
  • You are who you are & could care less if it's the "cool" thing to be
  • You let me hang out in your room because I think it's the prettiest room in the house  : )
  • You share your ♥chocolate♥ with me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • You want all your friends to be friends with each other ♥
  • You're the best helper I've got at home
  • You think it's your mission in life to take care of all the animals in the world
  • You make me a better person because I want to be a really great ♥Mom♥
  • and......You forgive me when I'm not & ♥Love♥ me anyway
I could certainly come up with MANY more, but I thought 12 was an appropriate number! I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, Forever & ever my Sunshine you'll be!!

We had a  fantabulous day celebrating a MAJOR holiday (in my humble opinion)!! 

Click on the pics to enlarge

Mickler's Beach in Ponte Vedra ~ Ashlyn's favorite!  Why??  Horse sightings are not uncommon.  : )

Yep.....she's my little wallflower...

Yes, her gifts from us are wrapped in Christmas paper.  I have heard EVERY SINGLE DAY this summer much whining & complaining, moaning &groaning (ok.....I've done it myself as well) about how hot it is & how she can't wait for I wrapped her presents in snowflake paper!  : )  I guarantee long after she forgets what she got on her 12th birthday, she'll remember the year that her mom wrapped her gifts in Christmas paper because it was so hot & we were longing for relief.....  ; )

Out of all the many wonderful gifts she got, this was her favorite.  She had just complained a few weeks ago about how much she hates Monopoly.  She dramatically exclaimed, "It's sooooooo BORING!  The only way I'd ever play it would be if it was about horses!!!".  Her brothers were so excited I found this, they wanted it to be from them.   : )

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's Time to Make the Doughnuts....

....and so this week, we did!

I've always tried to give my three monkeys ample opportunities to make a mess  cook & bake with me because, well....they like to!  They always have a great time, it builds fun memories & it reinforces many skills that I try to teach them in school {reading, math, science, working together, blah, blah, blah ; ) }.  In the past year, this is one fun activity that did not get tackled very much ~ so burdened down with guilt, I decided at the beginning of the summer it was time to get back on the Fun Track!!  With my three precious angels driving me crazy blessing me daily with frequent whining, arguing, and downright annoying behavior,  I knew a major behavior modification plan was in order. So.....I drew a chart on our handy-dandy dry erase board. Every time they acted "ugly" to one another, were disrespectful, disobedient, etc. they got one tally mark by their name. Whoever had the least tally marks at the end of the week was rewarded with being my assistant chef while making one of their favorite treats. Being the savvy mom that I am, I picked their two highest motivators for the prize......individual time with me (yes ~ the fact that this really is a motivator even for my MIDDLE SCHOOLER does indeed give me warm & fuzzy feelings inside ♥) and making a mess the chance to cook/bake. The competition has been cutthroat and while they still aren't behaving perfectly (sigh), improvement has been sighted!!

The first competition was won by a landslide by ♥Ashlyn♥, who was delighted to make one of her favorite indulgences ~ cinnamon rolls!  I didn't get any photos of my assistant chef in action, but you can see some of the final product......

Can't you almost smell that ooey-gooey cinnamon goodness?  ; )

During the cinnamon roll competition, I noticed that ♥Jacob♥ wasn't nearly as motivated to win as I would have liked ~ so once again, I played the part of savvy mom & chose the next prize to be something he had been asking to make for a VERY LONG TIME.  By "very long time", I mean the first time he asked to make them was about 3 years ago.  I'm such a very bad mom for not making them until now!  : (  Anyway, it turned out that ♥Jacob♥ and ♥Robert♥ both found this prize highly appealing....

The competition was neck-and-neck & resulted in a you can see, with ♥Ashlyn♥ having already won the Cinnamon Roll competition, she felt she could loosen up a bit.  They all probably deserved many more marks that this.....I guess I was a little soft on them this week!  ; )  BUT, we did have their Gram visiting also ~ so the fun times associated with that naturally resulted in better attitudes.

♥Jacob♥ likes using the's like using a power tool for the kitchen!

Assistant Chef ♥Robert♥ sharpening his math skills and coordination skills by measuring ingredients, then posing for a picture and adding the flour to the mixer at the same time.  ; ) 

Some of the doughnuts before getting their oil bath.....and no, that is not a dirty piece of stonware that they are rising on.  All Pampered Chef connaisseurs know ~ it is just properly "seasoned"!

You know you want one  ; )

It looks like he is saying "ewww!", but he was actually jumping up & down saying "Oh, Oh, Oh my goodness...these are so good I can't even stand it!" after his first taste test of his homemade doughnut!
He tends to live on the expressive side of life!

♥Robert ♥ with his eyes closed because he just had to focus and relish every sweet & unhealthy second of his reward!

2 Thumbs Up.....followed by, can we make ♥chocolate ♥ doughnuts next week???

Want to try making them yourself?  Click on the image to see a larger version of the recipe  : )
The recipe states that you will get about 18; we got 12 doughnuts & 11 doughnut holes.

Carnival of Homeschooling


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sweet Diva Sews! and Embroiders!

When you've gotta earn a living & want to be a stay-at-home homeschooling mom as well, you try to find something you're good at, you enjoy doing & happens to be a marketable skill ~ and then you shamelessly try to promote yourself.....not such an easy task for a girl like me.......trying to pull out my sassy side & get the job done!  :)

This is my latest endeavor in my never ending attempts and unrealistic goal of being a Proverbs 31 woman!

It all started with a backpack that my daughter requested for Christmas......we live in Gator country & people keep asking me to make them one after they see hers!!  I'll be glad to make you one, too.  : )  Not a Gator fan?  That's ok.....I ♥ special requests!  ; )  (BTW, you can enlarge the pics if you click on them)

After a few backpacks were seen out and about in the River City, someone requested I make a Gator problem!  : )  And then another......word of mouth is a very good thing!  Ironically, I don't even like sports.....I may have to change my mind about that soon as I'm learning that Team Spirit can be very profitable.  ; )

For those with Team Spirit who need something smaller, wristlets and key fobs are *very* trendy right now!

A few more styles......I ♥LOVE♥ custom orders.....are you feeling ♥Sweet♥  or  ♥Sassy♥  today??

Monday, July 26, 2010

Leaving a Legacy

Monday.  The beginning of a new week.  A fresh perspective.  An altered outlook.

Because of the last two weeks. 

I read about Bryan Turner's accident and it felt like my heart dropped right into my stomach.  My first and only thought was, "No!  Lord, not Bryan!  Of all people....".  Bryan was a dear friend from our high school FBC youth group days, one of my husband's best friends in high school, groomsman in our wedding.  He was the kind of guy that could bring a smile to your face at just the mention of his name because he was so real, so genuine, so in love with Christ that he very literally shared Him everywhere he went.  (You can read more about Bryan in these blog posts, which were written so well I don't feel I could do a better job.....
and  ). 

Over the next ten days I, like many, felt compelled to dig out the old photo albums.....although we had seen Bryan sporadically over the last 15 years, most of our fondest memories were during those high school years.  Mark and I were both thrown into a time warp  as each photo brought back those memories along with smiles, laughter and tears.  Mark even found and played much early 90's Christian music, which made all those memories even more poignant.  The emotional roller coaster that comes with reliving those memories, praying desperately for a miracle and then accepting God's answer, and attending the funeral (ironically on our 15th wedding anniversary) leaves one emotionally raw and questioning the priorities and effectiveness of our own lives.

The last picture I have of Bryan from our wedding ~ he caught my garter  : )

As I looked back at all those photos from youth trips, choir tours, etc., I smiled at those friends that I still see or have had the pleasure of reconnecting with who are still faithfully trying to have a strong Christian walk.  Some of them still go to FBCJax, as we do, and some have moved on to other churches and other states.  I truly love seeing the ones that still attend FBCJax bring their families faithfully and raising up the next generation in the Lord.  My heart is saddened, though, as I look back on those smiling faces in old photos who I know have walked away from the faith in which they were raised.  Some of them were the leaders in the group.   Most were raised in strong Christian homes and were blessed with strong families that lived their faith out loud and raised them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  What happened?  Why have they walked away?  Was their faith never really their own?  I don't look at their choices in a judgemental one knows how hard life is more than I do.  I just wonder.

My family experience was very different from many of theirs.  I met my Savior at 14 years of age while attending my first FBC high school camp.  I came to him with a broken heart and more burdens and hurt than a 14 year old should have to carry.  He took them all and enveloped me in the love I needed more than anyone could possible know.  I was very close to making some choices and heading down a path that would probably have affected my whole future, and from that pivotal moment everything in me, everything I desired, was changed.  I strive to raise my children in a Christ honoring home, to give them every opportunity to grow and develop spiritually in the hopes that they, too, will choose Christ.  I pray that they will each personally choose Him and wish that there was a guarantee.....I wish that I could choose for them.  But I can't.  What can I do to make sure they don't walk away as so many others do?

So many questions.

Am I doing enough for the Kingdom of God?  Bryan left such a legacy of faith few of us could ever match it.  Am I consistently living the love of Christ in a real and tangible way in front of those who are most precious to me, as well as those I come in contact with on a daily basis?  When my time on this earth is over, will anyone's life be better because I was here?  What kind of legacy will I leave?

I'm not completely sure I'm happy with my answers to all of these questions.

If you ask yourself the same questions.........Are you?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Little Sugar, A Little Spice I go, diving into the blogging world I've been thinking of jumping into for months.  I am Sweet Diva by Monica J, but most people call me Jill  ☺.  I am a ♥follower of Christ♥, a ♥daughter♥, a ♥wife♥, a ♥mom♥, a ♥homeschooler♥, a ♥personal chef♥, a ♥friend♥, a little bit shy, a little bit crazy, a little bit sweet, a little bit sassy; a little bit sugar, and a little bit spice......

I am all these things all rolled up into one, and that's ok.....because I know that all these things can work together for good for the One who made me (see Romans 8:28).  I am a work in progress and so thankful that He's not finished with me yet!

I love to indulge my creative side & plan to share my latest projects here....and I'm sure I'll end up sprinkling in a few family stories, ponderings and other domestic pursuits as well.

I hope you'll stop by often, grab a cup of coffee & a ♥chocolate chip cookie♥, relax & enjoy; hopefully laugh, perhaps be encouraged, and maybe find a little inspiration for discovering YOUR creative side as well.  ☺