Friday, April 27, 2012

DIY cardboard clipboard ~ all about rhythm

Really this post is not just about a DIY idea it is the beginning of a series of posts about the rhythm and rythm of our/my days.  My last post RAW, eluded to some of the post I wanted to share. The posts are overall ideas that I have begun implementing to help bring the things that we value to practical steps in our home. Some of these things we are testing out and some will be things we already see working. 

We used to do chores like THIS, however as my kids are growing and changing I am wanting to help them grow and change in responsibility and producing good habits. Also and just as important it is to encourage them to serve their family (and others) with the help they contribute through the week. 

So here is one creative way we are putting into practice these things:
Here is a picture tutorial for our Cardboard Clipboards. :)

After you have cut out your cardboard to the size you like then prepare the clothes pins like pictured above.
I then decorated the cardboard piece with what I had in my house.

I then glue gunned the clothes pins to the cardboard. Make sure if you try this to measure where you want your clothes pin before you glue. Test it a couple times, attach a piece of paper to see where you want it to hang. 

I wanted to have a place where I could stick on a marker/pencil etc. 
This is what I did:
I used stick on Velcro pieces. 
I stuck on one Velcro piece to the cardboard and one to the marker.

I had been thinking a lot about how to execute the new chore ideas in my home. One thing I really wanted was a permanent place for chores but something I could redo if needed easily.

These sheet protectors are PERFECT. 
Also this great PRINTOUT by Delightful Distractions is what I am using for now. 
You can find the free Chore printable here.

By using the sheet protectors you can protect the printout and also change up things as needed by throwing away the sheet protector and putting on a new one. I tried to show you below how I utilized them.
I used a permanent black marker to write out the chores.

 Also by using the sheet protectors and having that handy dandy marker there, the kids can participate by marking off what they get done. The markers are washable markers. Good thing since my three year really likes to "mark" off things all over his chorechart and has missed and hit the wall a few times. My oldest however especially likes this... I think she may be a future 'list' maker. :)

I included my 5 and 3 year olds chore charts to give an example 
of how I used the Chore chart and the sheet protector. 

I am wanting even the simple mundane tasks in a day to produce in our family (in me) a serving heart and a value of doing things together.  

"I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to your testimonies." Ps. 119:59

In these beginning days with these clipboards and chores I want to help and encourage my kids with follow through. We have always had the "get ready for the day responsibilities" so adding to that I am hoping will help it to congeal quicker for the kids.  I personally have set aside a month in my head to watch, encourage and train for these new chores, not just in getting it done but the attitude in which it is done. Walking in patience for me to see the 'best' results is a challenge, I like quick results. However I am determined in this and the other things we are implementing in our home to have patience with and in the process. 

 "Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty."Proverbs 21:5

Well off I go. I cut out a bunch more cardboard pieces and want to put the kids art work on it and hang it above their beds or maybe above their chore charts??.  We shall see. :)

In my west corner, using what I have and enjoying these moments being home, body and heart. ;)

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Raw and Worn
this is a tale full of vulnerability, raw emotion and honesty. 
(oh the sentiment ;))

This blog is a personal blog... it is in some sense my story, our story as a family. So today this post is one that I need to write, I need to pound out on the keys of my keyboard to not only journal and record this past year but to process it.  

It may be lengthy, it may apply or not apply to you, but tonight I will try to unravel and bring clarity to this past year, and begin to close one page and open another. 

Oh where to begin...
We have lived here in Turkey now for over 7 years and in our little west corner for 3 1/2 of those years. David and I would both say this has been the hardest year of the 7. There is a series of reasons and not just one thing that has led to the hardships of this past year.  

Our life here seemed to take turns that lead us toward one continual challenge after another.  What do you do when the pressures and stresses do not stop? How in the world do you respond properly and walk in inner peace in the midst of constant uncertainty?  

I wrote a post almost a year ago called I Still Dare to Hope where I shared that as a family we were realizing that we were not handling stress in a healthy manner and it was overflowing into our family in a negative way. I would say since that time we have prayed a lot and rearranged our life here and there to adjust better to the pressures we have faced and continue to face. We have learned a lot about ourselves and the healthy and unhealthy ways we each deal with stress.

However for me the pressures and stresses that continued to come (excuse my vagueness I think it is in our best interest to stay vague;)) one on top of another without much time to process the past stress had taken a toll on me. 

In order to cope or deal with the constant strain I stopped being so intentional and possibly withdrew some of the gifts God has given me to reserve energy maybe. I am not sure.  I don't believe I neglected my family this past year per se but since I was one of the ones needed to help bring stability and harmony to our home and yet I was one of  the ones without the energy, I just didn't do anything. 

We have prayed consistently over these past months for help and wisdom.  Some of the things we would try just didn't seem to last.  I had felt so broken and my mommy heart was weighed down. Stress and hardship have a way of clouding perspective. 

I was somewhat aware of my constant lack of energy to make the needed changes. I not only lacked umph but desire and know-how to bring back the harmony and purpose into our home. I have been 'home' but my heart has been distracted with all the concerns and uncertainties that our life seemed to be full of.  It seemed that this time I didn't have the will power or follow through to accomplish anything.

I see now that God has been setting the stage, not for me to fail of course but for me (us) to fail in our own strength and receive His. God has been moving behind the scenes putting things in order, allowing certain hardships to expose areas that needed to be seen and also setting things in order for the next season.

I have changed this past year, the change has been gradual and it has not come out of will power but out of Gods divine help and strength. I (David and I both) have matured and His word has been my constant help this past year.

""I will cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely." Ps.63:8

"I cried out, "I am slipping," but your unfailing love supported me." Ps: 94:18

He has answered our prayers (my cry) and though my life still has several of the stresses and uncertainties they are not pressing on my heart and squeezing out life like they used too. Really "his unfailing love has supported me." Truly this is a miracle of God.  

Little has changed and yet everything has changed. Also our constant prayers for wisdom especially regarding our family and kids have started to take shape and we are becoming more and more confident of where our family needs to be and seeing some very specific steps to get there. I will say however that I am concerned about my kids attitudes and their hearts right now.  It will take time, consistency and Gods wisdom to bring each of them back home, in a way, they are not far off.

We have begun implementing some practical steps for more harmony and rhythm in our home that we have been discussing the last few months.  I would like to share those with you along the way. 

Also for me personally I have found a new understanding of who I am during this time and feel Gods sweet delight in me. One of the things I have begun is keeping a daily planner again.  I decided to try my hand at making my own so that it fit me. This planner is one of the ways I feel I can be more intentional in my home and life right now. This is one of those practical steps I was talking about. 
"She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness." Prov. 31:27

                                                 Here is a sneak peak: 

What I am seeing in our home:
Refreshing me as a person as a mom and wife. Bringing us home (home as in Him and His purposes for us) Refining our values as a family, learning to enjoy a quieter, simpler life. Embracing a creative lifestyle. Finding mutual interests, (me) Learning what it is to be at home with body and heart. Trusting, simply trusting. Togetherness. A plan and intentional living. 

I am now ending this extremely lengthy and time consuming post (at 1 am). I have so many other fun posts I wanted to write however I am taking my moments instead to reflect  and remember before the time passes and I never pen the important things like hardship that mold me along on this path we all call life. 

In my little west corner.
The starting of a new page,

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Our Diorama wanna be ~ with some fabric help

My little guy loves animals, like most children I would think. Animals inspire all of us to curiosity and wonder.  
Well we decided one day to try and put Isaac's hard plastic animals back into the wilderness. 

OuR WanNa bE ~

The only problem is the variety of animals we seem to own. Typically Lions and chickens don't hang out in the same habitat, and a giraffe and chicken don;t tend to be best buds.  ;) But hey we had fun. So this could be  the African wilderness, or some farm land in the mid west. :)

The brown fabric is mud...suggested by Isaac.
The blue fabric is a small body of water. 
The green fabric is the grass.

We used:
long shallow Cardboard box
Recyclables for different ground levels 
Plastic toy animals
Tp tupes, card-stock and crayons for the tp trees

I grabbed a few bits and bobs from the recycle pile for under the grass for different levels of ground.
Isaac and I made some of those tp tube trees that take two minutes and tada very quick simple fun.  The girls liked this too and we all have rearranged it several times.  The great cardboard box came from the same stash as my polka dot cardboard town post. I am also working on another project with this same cardboard stash. (blush ;))

Using what we have in our west corner. and enjoying being together.

Goodnight from here to all you there. (wherever there may be)

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 
2 Cor. 12:9

Thursday, April 12, 2012

2 eggs each ;)

Our Easter. Last Supper reenactment. We also did a Palm Sunday reenactment. (Yes Jesse and Woody teamed up as disciples in this reenactment)

Our 30 Sugar cookies. Representing the thirty pieces of silver that Jesus was betrayed for. 
 Source for this idea: 30 pieces of silver~cookies
This blog had several ideas Christ Centered Easter ideas!

Our basic Easter baskets.

We colored eggs earlier in the week...however I forgot to bye eggs and so we only ended up with 6, and NO they did not look like master pieces or tie dyed like these really fun pictures I have been seeing on our internet world. Nope just the typical colored eggs in dye with a few bits and bobs on them. Yep, pretty simple and the kids loved coloring their '2' eggs a piece.  As a mom I just choose not to feel bad about the egg thing. Really it is called life and in this house life is always happening and so I seized our egg coloring moment and helped the kids enjoy it to its fullest.  We also had an Easter egg hunt...I added some plastic eggs I had, or it would have been one short Easter egg hunt. ;)

I adore Easter. I enjoy so much that we can read the events through the week  that take place from Sunday to Sunday. I love the fact that we who are believers in Christ celebrate a Savior who rose from the dead. We rejoice about the cross instead of avoid it..I mean really you talk about radical and different. This holiday is so unique and special so full of life and power.

We celebrated Easter this year with two other believers. It was quiet but it in NO way lost it's power. Resurrection celebration is something to sing about no matter how many or how few there are to do it.

Purposing to keep a simple life and a life centered on Christ. 

In my West Corner,

Friday, April 6, 2012

Felt tree pillow update

Felt tree pillow ~ finished. :)
This colorful circle tree pillow is for my soon to be niece. 
The wonderful story behind this is we will be visiting in the States this summer and my sisters due date falls on the time we will be in the States. I am so very grateful to be able to deliver this little pillow to my little niece in person, it is a gift both ways. I love you Debby and can't wait to meet you Gracie.

I was trying to figure out which ribbon to use the blue or the purple ric rac and so I asked my girlies. 
And they said both...:)  What do you think? 
The blue ribbon holds the pillow case together at the bottom along with velcro pieces on each side.

Here is a close up of some of the quilting. :)
All all of the quilting is done in white expect the little circle clouds in light blue
and the grass done in green..

Almost forgot the back. :) So here it is.

This pillow was fun to design and great practice for me. 85% of it was done by hand.

So should I create a blanket to go with?  

In my west corner playing 'show and tell',

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Anticipating growth (on our balcony)

Using the space we have to enjoy spring and the miracle of growth.
 Last year was such a success with our Balcony Herb Garden,(check it out here it is fun) we all wanted to get our hands dirty again. We started this year with some flowers. Autty made a chart on her own to check the days off and record how long before we see growth. Autty held her nose to the dirt twice and said it smells so good. :) 

We do not have a big yard or a little yard but we do have a balcony and access to dirt and seeds and containers. For me living a creative life means using what we have. Cultivating a love of something doesn't mean you have to have lots of it, it just means you live it, with a little or with a lot. Even a 'little bit' of dirt can produce amazing growth and wonderful anticipation in the one who planted and is waiting for the seed to sprout.

Just feel like saying what my mom ALWAYS used to say: "Little is much when God is in it."

Shovel up some dirt, grab a bucket and sow a seed!
In our little west corner using what we have... and this week it is our balcony,
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