31 October 2011

A good school day

Last week, we only had one day of school. Yep.

A while ago, I decided, if we have visitors in the house, it's not worse trying to do school. The kids are way too distracted. And I am too. So last week was an off week.

So today, we went back to school full force, and it went so well. The last two to three weeks had been a bit tough, trying to find a schedule that will work for us, keeping Coqui interested and motivated.

His favorite subject is Science. So we did two experiments today. One of them was the following.

I got a science experiment book in Target once, for 2nd and 3rd grade. So the explanations are not that age appropriated. But that doesn't matter, it's fun anyways.

Using a plastic bottle of water, empty, we had to put four tablespoons of vinegar in it. Then add some baking soda, actually two tablespoons. We did it wrong, as I poured it in the bottle directly - we were suppose to put it inside the balloon and then add it with the balloon into the bottle. Oh well. Then put a balloon over the opening of the bottle and the following will happen.

It's pretty cool. And Coqui was totally impressed by this.

30 October 2011

Field Trip with the HS group

A bit more than a week ago, we went on a Field Trip with one of our homeschooling groups. I was hesitant at first, but the kids really had a blast. The entire farm was decorated for fall and the harvest and it was fun to finally get into the spirit of autumn. (it's so hard when it still hits the 90s in the afternoon)

So we met everybody at the farm there, or actually what we thought was our group. I only met a few of the moms one other time, and usually I am pretty good with faces, but we went with the group we had found. At first. Because as it turns out, for half the time, we went around the farm with the wrong group. But one that had a tour guide and seemed quite organized. So it was good.

So here are a few pictures: 

There was this author who had written a children's book, so she read it to the children. This was not the only story time they had - we heard many pumpkin stories that day!
For me, the hay ride was the highlight of the day. It was fun to be rocked through the farmland, feeling the breeze in my face and laugh with the kids. There was a 'scary path' included in the ride, but I just told them that it was silly stuff, like seeing a ghost in a toilet. I didn't want Peanut to be too freaked out about it.

We walked through a corn maze and then the kids played ball, waiting for another hay ride to pick us up at this picnic area.
It was a fun filled day!

28 October 2011

My son is awesome

It always just blows me away how a child sees God...

The other day, during school hours in our house, I explained the time and the clock to my son. You know that it has only numbers one through twelve, but that there are 24 hours in a day. Then I had to explain what 24/7 means. So I asked Coqui if he can think of anything that is open and working 24 hours a day. And I certainly expected a five year old boy to think of fire fighters and chasing police cars. But no.

His first answer was: God.

Oh, my son, you are so wise!

Then tonight, we went out to eat to a local Asian restaurant. His aunt is visiting and she was going through the entire sheet of the kids menu that has coloring on it, jokes, and funny questions. Questions like "what goes up and never goes down"? Yes, it is your age, dear friends! Or what would you do with a hundred dollars? And so on.

The last question was: "If you could be the president for one day, what would you do?"

And once again, my son just strikes every other answer out. Because he said: "I would tell everybody about God."Really? Because I think we need a president like that. I'll vote for you, my Coqui!

I am so proud of him.

27 October 2011

Mercy and Grace

These last few weeks have been tiring, emotionally and physically. And I was once again reminded of how gracious and merciful our God is. When we struggle, He simply says: "Put your burdens on my shoulders, I will carry them for you." (Psalm 55:22) It is hard to do that. Sometimes that requires us to sacrifice. On many levels. It requires to trust Him fully. That also means giving up control. Because He is in control. It means to have faith, sometimes blind faith. And no matter what we have done or not done in our past, He loves us and wants to see us rejoicing. He is hurting when we are hurting.

"Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you." (I Peter 5:7)

A Christian walk is not easy. But so far, all I can say, no matter what 'battle' I had to fight, at the end, I am amazed at what God can do and how blessed I am.

He forgave me for so many things. ["Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." (Luke 15:7)]
And usually, I don't drag them around with me, just in the last few weeks, I was reminded of God's forgiveness. I can feel His love for me. To feel God's grace and mercy in my life is such a joy, and brings so much peace. A peace, I was told as a child, didn't exist. But today, my heart is filled with joy and peace. "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23)

He also teaches me to do all this to the people around me. I can see how I have changed over the last few months. How I have matured in my walk with Jesus, but also how I care about others. I know I can forgive. I know I can love and love unconditionally. I know I can pray and He answers me. I have a freedom to know that with God I can do anything.

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6)

I do feel I fought a battle, but it was with gladness. Part of being so tired is that overwhelming experience of comfort and contentment when the battle is over. Now I know that there will be more, but I will be ready because I have God on my side who will fight for me.

Psalms 5:11-12 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O LORD; you cover him with favor as with a shield.

24 October 2011

Are you a shopaholic?

Okay, the question is a bit extreme, but I am sure you know what I am talking about:
the thrill of buying something new.
Sometimes it doesn't even have to be something big, a new shirt will do, or for me a new book. If you've read my post about how I treat books and how much I love them, then you know how hard it is for me to pass by a book that I think I would really enjoy. 

Well, I have found an outlet. (Or should I say I am healed?)

It's called the library.

We try to go there every two weeks, sometimes it will be three weeks when it is more chaotic. So every two weeks, I bring back 'new' books. And guess what, you can put as many books in your bag as you want. Now that is a satisfying feeling.

No, seriously, the library is a great place to find great and awesome books for the kids and for me, and especially in our case, for homeschooling. We like going there.

23 October 2011


"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever." (Psalm 107:1)

This goes along with one other post that I wrote a while ago: Count Your Blessings. I don't do it regularly, but I am aware of all the things that God has done for me and all that I have. And I do enjoy God's creations fairly often. And even though we don't thank Him for nature's beauty every single day, we can enjoy those all the time, year-round. We all have favorite seasons and favorite holidays, favorite weather or favorite days. Nonetheless, God made them all for us to simply enjoy them.

My devotional today asked me to name three things from God's creation and thank Him for them.

So here I go:
1.) God made the oceans.
I love the ocean, it's beauty, the sound of the waves, and the colors of the water (in nice waters like in the Caribbean). The ocean is one thing that I dearly miss from New Jersey where I could go to the beach any day I wanted to..... and I will never miss a visit without going to see the ocean, even in winter time.

2.) God made the sun.
The sun brings warmness, something you long for after a hard winter full or snow and ice. But sun also brings happiness. I love the sun and I love that there are so many sunny days in Texas. On a rainy day, I just get so depressed and passive and apathetic. When the sun comes out, I can feel the flow of energy returning to my body, I feel a smile on my face and it makes me wanna go to the beach. 

3.) God made the seasons, He made Spring.
My favorite season is Spring. It used to be Summer when I still lived in a region that had four seasons and the summer were really nice. (And my birthday is in summer.) But since living in Texas, I had to change my mind. Also because I think I grew older and wiser, maybe?
Spring brings freshness - I love that everything grows anew, everything is green outside. Spring stands for optimism and a new beginning. I love when the flowers start to spring, the bees and the birds are coming back, and their is a business in the air (after the long winter laziness) that is contagious.

20 October 2011

Too many bags?

I am sure you remember when I blogged about my new purse that my best friend made for me?

Well, just before that, I had ordered a bag that I have been wanting for a very long time - probably a year or so. It's handmade - and that is pretty special. It's made by a friend - and I want to support her business. And it's made from recycled fabrics - being green is something that I am pretty passionate about.

So when my husband wanted a new 'toy' - I told him he was only allowed to get it if I could have the bag, finally. He agreed. (Should I mention that the bag was on sale at the time?)

Picture property of Jola V. Designs
Here is a picture of the lovely bag....

And here is the artist's webpage: Jola V. Designs.

She is also advertising on Facebook here.

And you can see her bags on etsy as well here

I know her personally, yes - we used to be very good friends and have shared a couple of good times together. We lost track for a few years, but now we found each other again - the internet made it possible.

She is passionate about what she does and dreamed about it pretty much her whole life. She is the one person that I know has found her calling. She is a true artist. (She used to be my fashion coach - and probably still would be if we lived closer.)
I love to see all her creations, so it was kind of hard to choose from all of the wonderful things she has made so far. And each season, I am looking forward to more.

 I am a happy customer 
and feel blessed that I can surround myself with homemade things.

18 October 2011

My Prayer Language

My thirst for Jesus has increased so much lately. I want to be filled by God's presence. I have so much to be thankful for. I enjoy my morning prayer time with just me and Him. It helps me to focus on the One and Only who can help me in every circumstance, may it be a personal struggle, a fight with health, disobeying children, or financial troubles. Jesus gives love, Jesus gives hope, faithfully.

I am going to a weekly prayer meeting with a couple of women from our church. It's a great time to spend in the house of God, worshiping Him, praising Him, sharing testimonies and asking for prayers.
Last week, I had felt kind of 'bla' - you know not sad and not happy, more like living next to my body. And there was so much going on to be thankful for at this particular time. So I had asked God to show me why I felt this way, or just take it away. Well, the very next morning, something happened at prayer group: I was asked to do something that I had never done, and pray about it out loud. And it worked, immediately. I felt better, joyful and happy, thankful and blessed. And it hasn't stopped since....

Now YOU that know me, know, that I am not very comfortable to pray out loud. And here is way!

It's my insecurity in my prayer language. As a new Christian, I don't have the vocabulary of a  person that has been brought up as a Christian. If you are one of them, I bet that you have never thought about your prayer language being a language of it's own that needs to be learned. So just trust me: it is. (Also learning it as a second language-er is not making it easier!)

So naturally my prayer language is more that of a two-year-old. And it bothers me. The language that hardcore prayers use is quite intimidating. And according to an article that I read and that encouraged me, it is "formulaic". To hear that from a person that is in ministry was shocking but it spoke to the heart....
He referred this to the prayer of his own two-year-old son at dinner time, where what the son said just blew him away, because the son only used simple words, thanked God for his family and asked for healing of a family member. Simple. Honest. From the heart.

So this author also states that adults can get "caught up in the “prayer game” of trying to balance praise and thanksgiving against requests and intercession" - and I know that I have a hard time with that. There were times, when I went through cancer, where there was just no thanksgiving or praising God! I was angry and had to deal with my emotions, my body hurting, and my faith fainting.... Being now a four-year survivor, I can only shout praises and thanksgiving to my Lord, my Savior, my Sustainer. From the rooftops! But at the time, I was happy making it through the day without major breakdowns.

God pulled me through!

When I read that this man was blessed by his son's prayer because it used simple words and it came from the heart, I felt better about my own prayer language. If my cry for help comes from the heart, I think that God will forgive me that I didn't start with 1) praying for my family, 2) praying for my leaders, and so on.... and then only last to pray for myself.
If I tell Him point blank in simple words what is on my heart, I truly believe that He will hear me and answer my prayers. He is our Father, our Daddy, and I believe He rather has a real personal conversation with me, the true me, with the language of a two-year-old-ME, than when I try to come up with big words that are not me at all. It's all about the personal relationship with Him.

This was very liberating. Liberating to know that my words are enough for Him. He hears me. He cares for me. And he doesn't care that my words are not coming from the dictionary but from my heart. Because I do love Him with my heart and with my soul and with all my might.

So I can go to my prayer meeting tomorrow morning, thank my Lord for everything that I have, for Him, for my family, for my church family, and for my friends. I can pray for our church, the sick and my family. I can ask Him for what my heart is longing for.  I don't have to be ashamed of that.


I was a winner

A while ago, I had won something - see the post here.
I had guessed the right (or close enough) number of stitches that my friend Beth had used to make her mother's purse (just like the one I have now). Well, and to be honest, I didn't just guess, I also counted, on the screen. So I knew that I would be pretty close to the actual number, but you never know, they could have been one more accurate than me. I was lucky....

Beth gave me a choice of what I wanted and I said that I could use a little bag for my phone. At the time, I still had my old phone, so I told her to make it a bit bigger - anticipation for my new phone that I ended up getting much earlier than expected! Yeah. I chose the yarn and she made it.With lots of love.

Here is the beauty:

I love the way it came out. The bag is really thick and sturdy, so absolutely perfect to protect my new toy...
Thank you, Beth, for making it. 
I feel blessed.

15 October 2011

My kids love to sing in the car

We always have some kind of music playing in the car.... I mean who doesn't?

When the kids, or actual the first kid only, were young, I started with nursery songs and when they got older with children's song. Christian and non-Christian, English and German (and other languages).
But at some point, I just couldn't hear it anymore. I KNOW that every mom knows what I am talking about.... so I decided (and the kids took it well) that we are also listening to the radio or non-kids CDs in the car.

And now, I love when I hear my kids sing along with the praise and worship songs in the car. They must have heard them often enough. And Coqui has a few favorite ones that he actually asks for. Peanut loves to sing the songs from this summer's VBS "By faith I pray, in the name of Jesus" - she says it so clearly and it warms my heart to hear these words out of my two-year old's mouth.

So when I was driving in the car on Thursday, my new favorite song came on. It's "Purified" from Michael W. Smith. I heard it for the first time a few weeks ago, and instantly fell in love with it. Here is a link to it on youtube. If you've never heard - it's worth it.
So it was playing and all of a sudden I hear Coqui sing the words "I am purified by you".... and I started crying. It just totally overwhelmed me to hear those words out of his mouth. It is so true and yet, I don't always think about it.....
I am blessed with children that love the Lord and shout their praises out loud in singing (even if they are not always aware of their worshiping and only do it because they are copying us).

13 October 2011

Loving My Kids On Purpose

This is a book title.... and I have to say, after just reading the first chapter, I can see all the things that I do wrong as a mother, sometimes. We are reading this book for our book club right know.

Here is the link to the book on Amazon. But I am sure you can find it in other places around your town as well.

I never wanted to make the same mistakes like my parents, and yet, there are days where I catch myself, thinking how did I turn out like them (at least for that particular day). And it scares me, because that is not where I want to be.

Don't get me wrong, they didn't do everything wrong, I mean after all, I did turn out quite alright, right?

But there are things that I don't want to do the same way.
I had my children, because I wanted them. 
I want to be with them. I want to teach them in order to become wonderful children of God and eventually outstanding people of our Father. I want them to prosper. And I don't want to stand in the way of God's blessings in their life by not giving them freedom to choose.

A huge difference to my parents is that I am a Christian parent. A new Christian that is still learning. But nobody said that being a Christian makes you automatically a better parent - it's something that we have to make a conscious decision about, and then act upon it. That's why I love our church so much, because all of them, but especially the people in the children's ministry, know how important it is to raise these children IN the word of God. Our children are not hushed during service. They are a part of it. And I love it. When we have prayer meetings, we actually want our kids around us, so we can be examples for them. After all, kids will copy our behavior - the good and the bad. When we thank God for our food, one day, it will be natural for them to do so as well. If we don't' yell at each other as parents, the siblings (hopefully) won't yell, or at least it's a behavior easily corrected. I mean the list can go on.

SO what's my point of this message?

I am guilty of not following God's plan in raising these kids. And I want to improve my parenting style. I love them and I just want to pour love over them. That is a key in the book.
The amazing thing is that after only two days of just loving them and accepting who they are (and who God wants them to be), I can see a difference. More so in Peanut than Coqui - I guess he has been around my (wrong) parenting style for too long.

Our connection to our children is more important than their obedience. In pouring unconditional love over our children, we give them a safe place to grow up and to make mistakes. When you feel you are loved, it is easier to obey. We are suppose to guide our children, not control them. That was eye-opening. I am a big control freak and always thought that I needed to force them to obey, or else.... I am not saying that I did not love them, but I expected obedience. I didn't give them the freedom to make a choice to obey or not and then live the consequences. When I just gave them more love in ALL circumstances, I gave them more grace (and they were less annoying). I also gave them more freedom to have a choice.... or more freedom to be just a kid! Kids make noise and kids make a mess....

Yesterday, on the way back from the book club meeting, we just goofed around in the car. Coqui started this game "have you ever seen a walking chair" and then you give him and answer. And then I ask him "have you ever seen a floating cow"? It's just being super silly using all kinds of transportable objects. We laughed all the way home. It was liberating not having to yell at them to be quiet, and it felt good to be just that: silly. No purpose but pure fun.

I let him help me more. I mean this is something that I always tried to do, not wanting to discourage him. But we all know: kids make messes, even when they try to 'help' us. So it's hard to say yes, when you really want to shout 'no'! But I said yes each and every time he asked me to help. I did. And he was helpful and he learned. God showed me that I can relax more and the outcome will be awesome. I don't want to be the one holding him back. I want to give him freedom, in this case freedom to make messes and clean them up.

Reading this chapter and agreeing with (most of) it, is very liberating. Once you act it out - oh how liberating it is! After all, we all want freedom, and I want to give it to my children, too. I don't want to be the yellow truck (you will understand this one when you read the book).

Now, this was just after the first chapter - I can not wait to read the rest of the book.

When I am done with the book - I'll have a perfect family! Okay, I know, THAT is NOT the purpose of this book. I was just kidding. But we will have a BETTER family life....

11 October 2011

Science Co-op and Science at home

This week at the co-op, we discovered the three states of matter. You know: solid, liquid and gas. The kids were excited and yet they all sat still listening to the teacher. Very exciting.

So when the teacher started to explain what the three states are, my son had something to say:

"I know all about gas already!" He exclaimed. "My mom is taking gas with her car all the time."
Just writing this I am cracking up, it's so funny. Do you want to know that at the time, I was in the bathroom, so I only heard it through the door, trying not to giggle too loud. I wish I could have seen the teacher's face....

Okay, moving on..... when you are done laughing. After the lesson and a story, we went over to the art center in order to make goo. The teacher used water and cornstarch - and for the 'Halloween-y' effect, they added green color to it.
Can I mention on a side note, that I am so glad that this is not happening at my house!? The teacher is a real trooper in my eyes, having ten to fifteen kids in her house each week, making a mess, sometimes small and sometimes big! But the kids loved it, of course.

When all done, and the goo was suppose to be put away, one of the boys from the class played with Coqui's goo, and of course, spilled it all over the table. So not only did he make a mess, but worse for my son, Coqui couldn't bring his goo home to show to Daddy. Bummer.

After recess, in Art, they made a spooky forest out of shaving cream and, again, green color. It is suppose to harden - but it was still way too wet by the time we had to leave, so we are gonna pick it up next week.

This was all yesterday, so today, I thought, I will just go over it again, maybe then it will 'stick' better. Also, he wanted to have his own goo at home. So to work we went...
I only had neon green. This is with cornstarch again. We also tried to see what would happen with baking soda, and made it pink. (for anybody that cares, baking soda doesn't combine well with water, it stays on the bottom of the container and the water is 'floating' above it.)
It was actually alot of fun for Mami as well.

07 October 2011

Happy belated Birthday

... to me!

On Wednesday, I met Beth for coffee and she brought me my birthday present. I knew about it and I had chosen the fabric and color of yarn. Oh, yeah, it's a pocketbook, or handbag (how they call it down here in the south!).

It's beautiful, it's handmade, and it's mine!

Here is the link to her site: C. Beth Blog.

She has done her very own bag, and then a bag for her mom.

As I said I chose the fabric - it was love at first sight! Together, we went out to find a yarn that would match the fabric, but also that would be durable enough for a bag that is going to be lugged around quite a bit.

She did a fabulous job sewing and crocheting. I love the way it came out.

I immediately moved everything from the old handbag to this new one.... and used it today while going out. I am very happy.

I am so blessed to have a best friend like her! Thank you.

05 October 2011

More Castle and Knights stuff

Remember, two weeks ago, we had our 'Castle and Knights' week? Well, it got extended far beyond what I had planned....

Well, while Mema was here, we didn't do much school, or say workbooks. It was just way too hard to get him concentrate while he heard his sister having fun upstairs with his most favorite relative. It seemed unfair to me. And so I decided to just cut it out while we had our visitor and we will just have to catch up later....

He did play though. He must have liked that week so much that he came up with his own crown and his own castle. Using simple construction paper, he cut out the crown in yellow - or should I say gold. And then he set to work on the castle.

It was fascinating for me to watch him come up with all kinds of things. Asking him questions seems to not get the right answers out of him. But seeing him work on an actual castle, I realize just how much he absorbed in that one week. He know what a floor plan is, what parts belong to a castle, and what an armor is made out. 

I love the decoration of it. You can see towers, windows, and a flag. On the outside, he included trees and a drawbridge even. I love that. So much imagination.
He pulled out his knights and wooden animals, as well as stuff we have from Playmobil or Lego. I mean it was a big mix of everything.
He played it with Mema over and over. He also learned what canons and catapults do.

He also had some sword fights with us (or his sister). He dressed up in the costume that I made him. And he did his race in a knights costume. So you can imagine that I am ready to move onto something else....