Priceless

Decorations and Paper Plates $10
Birthday Dress and clips to match at Crazy 8 $22
Pink Birthday cake with bananas and butter cream ordered at La Dolce Bakery $25

Celebrating your only daughter's third birthday....PRICELESS

N I N E T E E N

He always says, cheese for me when we take pics!
Mark is now 19 months old and we are seeing so many changes in our big boy.

Change #1 He says "OK!" When he wants to agree with you!

Change # 2 He can call out for "Grandpa!" (Christmas Morning my dad's heart melted)

Change #3 Yesterday (Dec 29) He said "Grandma!" When my mom came over, as clear as a bell!

Change #4 He can climb up and down the steps no problem, been doing this for awhile, but now he likes to try to go forward by stepping down, and because his legs aren't as long as Julia's at this age, we are afraid he will fall, so we have to constantly remind him to go down on his legs or his bottom the way we taught him.

Change #5 He goes in the nursery and stays without any crying!!!

Change #6 He loves to give every one a fist pump (it is the cool way of giving a high five or a pound, the kids at church taught him).  He goes over to you and holds out his fist and says, "Pump!"  It's adorable.  He makes friends everywhere, the grocery store, the post office, the library, he's quite the mayor.  If he really likes you he just walks right over and gives you a big toothy smile and waves.

Change #7 This little boy loves cars and trucks and trains.  He's always saying "Car!"  Thank goodness he got lots of boy toys with wheels this Christmas.
No one taught him how to slam dunk...he's awesome

Change #8 He loves going into his new and improved room.  He's had his own room since birth and has been sleeping in his crib since the beginning, but my scrapbook desk and table and chair were taking up so much floor space the kids always played in Julia's room.  But now Mark has a spacious room with his own basketball hoop, all his cars, his little zhu zhu pets track and stuffed animals.  He crawls up the stairs to his room and can be found on the floor playing or reading a book.

Change #9 Mark is very aware of the potty.  He has been asking to go on the potty like Julia for a month now...but I"M not ready to do this just yet...but he tells us when he has done number 1 or 2 in his diaper and wants to be changed pronto...another sign (SIGH) I guess I have to break out the blue and white potty we have in the garage for him and start watching Elmo's potty video...

Change #10 Mark has had to go in time out occasionally (usually for being rough with my Julia) and because of watching Julia be disciplined he is very obedient and just sits tight.  He can't say "I'm sorry" yet but he hugs you and now calls out Mommy when its time to get up. 

Best friends

 Change #11 He copies everything Julia does, EVERYTHING, he wants to be big like her and thinks she is the bestest!  He loves her very much.  You can just tell.

Daddy's twin
 Change #12 He looks more and more like his daddy.  We call him John's little action figure!

Trixie Uncle Mike's dog looks JUST LIKE our dog Paris.

Change #13  Mark loves our dog Paris and is very sweet to her.  He likes animals that are calm and just chill. I can't wait to take him back to the zoo for his birthday again...I know he will appreciate it more each time we go.

Aunt Violeta helping mark with cheerios

Change # 14 Mark goes to more people now and is allowing others to play with him and pick him up.

He loves his blanket.
 Change #15 My boy loves his blanky, we call him Linus from Charlie Brown.

curious boy


Change #16 Mark has become so curious lately.  He crawls in tight places, stares at things, points, and then tries to communicate about his findings.  I love how he explores the world around him.  I get a chance to see the world the way he does.

Change #17 Sense of humor...oh my, major improvements have been made in this area.  He is just so silly now, and loves to get a laugh out of you, and my is he ticklish.  We have so much fun chasing him around the house and "biting his hiney" which just means, "Mommy is gonna get you!"  Julia loves it too.  She says "mom, can you bite that boy's hiney!"  And right away he laughs and starts to run.

Change #18 Our bedtime ritual has changed because we put the kids to bed separately sometimes and later than normal.  Bedtime is usually between 8 and 8:30 for Julia, and Mark is so tired by 7:30 or 8.  He will just crawl into my lap and tell me "Nigh Nigh" or he'll start singing "Jeez-us  Jeez-us" for our bedtime lullaby of Jesus loves me.  He loves to sit in my lap and read books now and then he just walks into his room and puts his arms up to go in his crib.  And he loves brushing his teeth!

Mark and Julia love to give each other hugs.
Change #19 Overall, Mark has come out of his shell.  He still clings to momma at times, but usually he is up and about entertaining everyone with his antics like Julia does.  He sings, He dances, He climbs on tops of tables to get all of our attention.  I just love this new Marky!

Marky I love you baby boy!


Christmas Highlights

Christmas Eve and Mark adoring the fire place.
The first time our kids ever saw the fire place with fire...
The two cutest kids on the planet earth!  Love them.
Christmas Eve before going to church.
Bridget gets prettier every time we see her!  What a gem.
Joogie and Uncle Bill!
My happy boy with vivi!
The Weavers got john the fushigi ball and he was learning and playing with it ALL DAY!
Julia was very busy in her kitchen, just like mommy!
Aunt Vivi has a way with Marky, he kept laughing!
Our best friends violeta and adrian came over after the weavers and we had dinner together. 
Mark having egg nog on christmas eve
The Weavers Came over for lunch and gifts on the 19th...um who said they could grow up?
My Ladies Bible Study Group...I love them...I was taking the picture!


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

Jesus is the reason for the season!

This weekend we will be with family and spending lots of time with Daddy!

There probably won't be any posts until the New Year...but I have some great new posts in store for you!

Here are some new topics for the New Year: Home Schooling Goals for 2011, Building Better Relationships: Woman of the Word Bible Study Series, Quick and Easy Recipe Swaps, A Devotional for Couples: Night Light by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson, and just some random Keeping up with Kristi insights!!!

Thanks for Keeping up with me!  Happy New Year!

LAST One! The Power of a Praying Wife: Chapter 30: His Future

We did it! We made it through all 30 chapters of The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie O'Martian.  This has been about my third or fourth or fifth read through of this book, and the message is clear...when we pray for our husbands not only do we bless our husbands, but God in his awesomeness changes our own hearts and lives and blesses us!

Have you enjoyed praying for your husband?  I think that God knew I needed to do this book right at this time, between John's job changes, putting our house on the market, and raising two Toddlers, and added ministry responsibilities at church, God taught me that my priority is my home and especially my husband!  My relationship with God definitely affects all my other relationships, and the three relationships I'm working on right now are that between my husband, Julia and Mark.  This little family God has given me is my MAIN priority, and I found that while praying for protection for John, praying for his job, finances, faith, etc, it really reminded me of things that I need to work on in my own heart and life.  Isn't it funny how we think that other people need to change and when we start praying for them we realize how short we come when compared to our Holy and perfect Father?   

Thank you God for constantly reminding me to pray for John and my little family, and my own short comings.  Continue to use me as the woman of the house to be the loving support and nurturer that I need to be.  Give me patience and wisdom, because I need  A LOT.

His Future

Do you have a vision for your life?  For your family? I do! My vision is: No matter what happens to us we will continue to seek God and trust Him.  We will do our absolute best to serve Him.  We will put God first in our marriage.  We will strive to raise our children in a godly and biblical manner.  And we will laugh, a LOT.  Stormie says, "Having a vision doesn't necessarily mean knowing the specifics about what is going to happen next.  It has to do with sensing the general direction you're moving in and having hope that something good is on the horizon.  It's knowing that you do have a future and a purpose, and that it is bright."

1 Corinthians 2:9 "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."

1 Corinthians 9:24 "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it."

Going through this life on earth has so many uncertainties, Will my house sell? Will my husband's salary be able to provide for all of us?  Will I continue to be a stay at home mom?  Will I send my children to school, private/public, will I home school?  Will we move far away?  Will we have more children?  But knowing that God has amazing things up ahead for us, that He loves us and is in control, knowing that I have a purpose and a responsibility to live in such a way that honors God all gives me hope and enthusiasm and even excitement in each new day.

We may not know what the future holds, but we know who is in control of our future!  We know who will never leave us or forsake us.  We know that no matter what God works all things together for good to them that love Him.

So I will be praying for my family and for YOU and your future.  I pray that God gives you a clear vision for your future.  I pray that God will show you how His plans are for good and not evil-to give you a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).  I pray that you will find the vision for your future in God.

Jeremiah 31: 17 There is hope in your future.

GIVEAWAY WINNER

And my Real Simple magazine subscription winner goes to....the lovely Suzette!!!
Congratulations Suzette!
I know you will read and enjoy every page!

GIVEAWAY!!!Saturday Recipe Swap--Chicken with White Beans and Tomatoes

Last week to comment before the GIVEAWAY is announced!  It is a year subscription to Real Simple magazine.  I believe every woman should read this magazine at least once in their lifetime!  It has such great ideas and simple ways to save money, make meals, clean your home, and enjoy your life!  As a stay at home momma, I'm loving reading it and using the recipes (John loves when I cook a recipe from this magazine, he called this meal a Gourmet Meal).

Ingredients:
2-15 oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed
1 pint grape tomatoes
4 sprigs of fresh thyme (I used my thyme herbs to save money)
4 sprigs of gresh oregano (I used the oregano herbs I had)
2 garlic cloves, smashed (really brings out the flavor!)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (this gives the chicken a real kick...if you aren't into spicy, then skip)
2 tbsp olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
8 chicken thighs bone in and skin on (I bought 2 pkgs of 5 and did not get skin on because I wanted to make this meal during the week and then again on the weekend for guests, and John hates the skin.  Using only 5 thighs still made this dish amazing...John LOVED it and so did me and the kids!)

Directions: 

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees
2. In a large baking dish (or 9 by 13 pan) toss the beans and tomatoes with thyme and oregano, garlic and red pepper, 1 tbsp of oil, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp of pepper.
3. Pat the chicken dry and place on top of the bean mixture, skin-side up.  Rub with remaining tbsp of oil, season with 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp of pepper.
4. Roast until the chicken is golden and cooked through, 35-45 minutes.  Sprinkle with oregano leaves.

* I made this dish with white rice on the side and put the bean and tomato mixture on top!  It was a huge hit at the Mac house!

A new way to clean

Joyce Meyer says in her book, Starting and Ending your Day Devotional, "Expect God to show you something new today.  If we do the same thing over and over, we get burned out on it.  God will keep our lives exciting if we seek Him every day."

Ephesians 4: 23 And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind (having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude).

I've finally been inspired!  I have a problem and that is sometimes I get into a cleaning rut.  I love a clean house, I love having "everything in it's place," but around the holidays and having two toddlers sometimes keeps you from doing every thing you want to do.

And sometimes you get tired of the same old cleaning routine...BUT...I love crossing things off lists, actually the more things I cross off the better (some times I even add things to the list just to cross them off, don't laugh).

Here is my new way to clean, at least until the holidays are over, and sometimes you need to switch up your cleaning routine just so that you like the old one again!

First, as you are going through the house carry a pad and paper and just start jotting down random things you want to get to... (Here was my random list on Wednesday)

1. The dust ball under the coffee table
2. The hair ball in the bathroom
3. vacuum the floor of the pantry
4. clean off toothpaste on the mirror
5. wipe down washer and dryer
6. vacuum basement steps
7. vacuum basement rug
8. empty all garbage pails and put garbage out
9. organize fourth shelf of pantry
10. clean top shelf of fridge

(I actually got to everything except the dusting the picture in the bathroom, because I never made it upstairs, and the vacuuming in the basement because John came home early, and let's be honest, I can vacuum tomorrow!)

What I did find though, was that my kids actually slept from 1pm til 3:45 (always an added bonus) and I was able to do most of the tasks on my lists and do a bit extra!  My pantry got a makeover and with my dust buster I got a lot done around the house in the hard to reach spots!

Okay, that was my list, and my goal is that by the end of the day I get to all those little things that annoyed me throughout the week but that I never had a chance to get to because I was doing laundry, making beds, folding clothes, picking up toys, making a meal, etc...and as you and the kids are going through your day try to do these little things whenever there is a free moment or two!  See how much you can accomplish and start a new list tomorrow, and add more or less, but try to cross off all your goals for that day!

I find that as I go into each room of my house there are always 3 or 4 things I see right away that I want to get to and things that won't take too long, maybe 3-5 minute tasks, but these tasks add up and sometimes become overwhelming.  So for me, keeping an ongoing list keeps me motivated and excited because each time I can cross off my list I feel a little better.  I feel freer to do the things I HAVE to do, as opposed to getting so overwhelmed I just don't do anything.

What is the one small thing that always makes you happy?

Real Simple, January 2011 magazine had a great article with random people saying what little things make them happy...well here are 11 things (2011) that make me happy...

1- When Mark takes both my cheeks in his hands and giggles when I make a fishy face.

2- The smell of freshly ground or freshly made coffee first thing in the morning.

3- Having a completely relaxing hot shower (this only happens on Sundays when I know John is with both kids or both kids happen to still be asleep).

4- John's cologne-filled kiss goodbye on his way to work.  He always looks so handsome and smells so good as he leaves!

5- Julia's smile when I tell her it's time to paint!

6- The sound of the house when everyone is fast asleep.

7- The sound of the house when Paris is with my in-laws for a visit!

8- A text from a friend that is sweet, cheery, and upbeat.

9- The sound of worship in an old cathedral at Oxford University-breathtaking!

10- A trip to Dunkin Donuts for coffee and a bagel with my two favorite kids :)

11- Weekends with my whole family of four close by.

Now it's your turn!!! I want to know what are the small things that always make you happy?

The Power of a Praying Wife Chapter 29: His Faith

Wow!  I can not believe we are almost done with our Power of a Praying Wife series!  It went by quickly...one more week to go.

Thank you to all of my faithful readers!

I can't wait to start our next book study together...after Christmas and New Year's of course!

Every day is a walk of faith on some level...faith in the doctors we go to, faith in the restaurants we eat at, faith in the schools we send our children to, faith in the insurance companies we belong to, faith in our gov't., etc.

Everyone believes in something.  And faith is a choice.  We all choose what we are going to believe in.  You can choose to believe in yourself, the gov't, science, evil, hard work, or God.  We can't live without faith.  Stormie says, " Faith is something we can't die without, either."  Whatever you choose to believe in while you are here on this earth in this life will determine what happens to us when we die.

When I took Evangelism Explosion as a teen I learned two very important questions to ask people when sharing my faith, and that is: If you were to die tonight are you certain that you would go to heaven?  If you were to die tonight and you were to stand before God and He were to ask you, "Why should I let you into heaven?" What would you say?  (I asked these questions to John when we were friends and of course his answer was "I think so, because I'm a good person")  I don't know about you, but I want to know for sure that I spend forever with God when I die.

And I know there is nothing good enough I can do to get to heaven.  Yes, I pay my taxes, I'm a good citizen, I take care of my children, I'm faithful to my husband, and I go to church, but that still does not make me good enough.  I can never be holy as God is holy.  I can never meet his standard of perfection.  There has only been one Man who has been able to live a perfect life and that is Christ.  He is and was fully God and yet fully man.  He came to die on the cross for all the things I've done wrong so that I can have a relationship with God.  He was the bridge I needed to get to God.  So now when God sees me, He sees the price Christ paid for my life.  The life I lead now isn't perfect, but God doesn't hold me in condemnation anymore.  He doesn't hold my faults against me because when I asked him to forgive me for all the things I have done wrong He separates those sins as far as the east is from the west!

The life I lead now is an offering back to Him for all He has done for me.  With his help I can honor him with my life.  My faith helps determine my outcome.  My faith in Christ and what He did for me is what allows me to believe in Him and to obey Him, even when I don't understand why He does what He does.

Do you ever have times of doubt?  We all do.  Those are the times to pray!  Ask God for that extra measure of faith to get you through the day!  And He will give it to you.

Let's pray that:

* God will feed our soul with His word so that our faith will grow
* Help us to believe that all things are possible with God
* Make our faith a shield of protection

Love Dare:

* Ask your husband if there are any doubts, worries, or concerns he may have that you can pray for!

Matthew 17:20 If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

Kristi, did you know?

Today is our Christmas party for Ladies Bible study and I just wanted to share how God worked amongst us women as we met each Tuesday.

Last week after we went over chapters 16 and 17 in The Confident Woman and ended with You Go Girl!  I had the room set up with no tables this time and all the chairs were put in a circle.  There were 21 of us and we each took turns to share how God used this book to change our hearts and lives.

I don't want to share names of the women but I will share some of the issues and the things that God has taught us.  Many of the women discussed how they have been living in fear for many years and didn't realize how much it has controlled their lives.  Some women shared that...

* This book allowed them to have the courage to open up more with their spouse and potentially "save their marriage"

* God taught them to trust him while caring for elderly parents

* God taught them to be confident while raising their children

* God is teaching them to rely on Him for strength during a difficult time of seeing a parent/sibling go through cancer treatment

* Learning that God doesn't want us to be stressed, or live in fear but to have joyful lives

* Being confident enough to love a relative even while being verbally mistreated

I was so blessed as I heard how God worked through the book and through Joyce and allowed all of us to become one step closer to being more confident, bold, courageous women who are living each day with joy and not in fear or stress.

God has reminded me to pray for this group of women and continue to encourage them in the Lord.  Many times I was stressed about my lesson or preparing the room before our meeting but God taught me that people are so much more important than setting up a room or  tea or coffee. 

The day after our meeting my friend Debi who joined our group said, "Kristi, did you know what a huge blessing this group would be?"  And quite honestly, I didn't know.  But as we all shared and laughed together and cried together I thanked God for each woman and can't wait to teach our next study in February!

Thank you for my friends back home who prayed for this Bible Study...God really works in amazing ways!

Mommy Movie Review: Shiloh

This was one of our favorite movies/novels in third grade.  My students loved every bit of reading the novel and then as a treat watching the movie.  We loved to compare and contrast what happened in the book and what was added or left out in the movie.  It is the story of a boy, Marty, who comes across a beagle who he names Shiloh that he can tell has been mistreated by it's owner.  Marty grows to love the dog so much that he ends up lying to his parents and the Judd Travers (bad guy in the book/movie) and hides the dog on his property.  Marty's parents have no idea what he has done and soon one small little lie turns into more lies and big problems. 

Kristi's Positives:

1. Julia and Mark love movies with real people in it and animals.  Julia has liked this movie since she turned 2!  She saw it in my DVD collection and wanted to see it and since it is a great movie I allowed her to see it.

2. I like how involved Marty's parents are in his life.  Marty has chores and helps take care of his younger sisters.  This family has many values and helping out is very important.  Lots of shows today seem to leave out the part where children have to be taught responsibility before they just become responsible.  I like how the family shares meals around the table together and everyone has a voice and is important.

3.  When Marty's Mom catches Shiloh on the property and confronts Marty he asks her to not tell dad.  Mom goes into a long speech about trust, and integrity and how she does not keep secrets from her husband.

4. Marty learns that although his love is strong for the dog, telling the truth and being honest and open with your family is what is more important.  He has a talk with his dad and asks for forgiveness for lying.

5. There is a happy ending where Judd allows Marty to work on his property to pay for Shiloh, although it is hard labor, Marty gladly accepts.  Judd goes back on his word at the end of the week and decides he still won't give the dog away, and as Marty and his dad walk away, Judd lets the dog go at the last moment!

Kristi's Negatives: 

1. There are two scenes where Judd visibly kicks or hits the dog (definitely quick scenes but for young eyes I would fast forward)

2. I'm not a fan of guns and Marty and Judd carry guns around (it was during a time when hunting was super common and they both live on ranches/farms).  

3. A girl Sam is added to the movie and it is clear she has a crush on Marty, not necessary at all.  I don't know why she was added to the movie, quite honestly.

My rating: 8

Be sure to stop by Suzette's blog and read her movie review of Horton Hears a Who.

Sakura Rose...Kristi's Fashion Sense

Last April, when I went to the Home School Conference in preparation for Julia and Mark, I came across a Christian clothing line that gears their modest clothing and jewlery to women of faith.  I really enjoy fashion and so even though all of my attention was supposed to be on books and materials I couldn't help but stop by their booth and pick up their card.  Sakura Rose.

I've posted a link to their website to promote their company because their clothes and jewelry are really beautiful and I hope they do well over the holiday season.  Please tell me what you think of their clothing.  I'm going to see if I can try to post some pics of their clothes...

Vanessa Vest.

I love layering pieces like this vest, especially when it's so cold out!

Violet Tuxedo Top

I love shirts with the tuxedo ruffles and the cute puffy sleeves, it's so feminine!

Little Black Shirtdress

I love shirt dresses!  Especially with a nice belt!  So chic!  Thanks for humoring me guys and looking at some fashion...feel free to go to their website and see their tops, skirts, jackets, dresses, and jewlry, they have so much stuff for great prices!

View Sakura Rose here.

Real Simple Magazine Article

As most of you know, I led a women's Bible study this Fall on The Confident Woman by Joyce Meyer.  In November, I came across an article in Real Simple magazine that I just HAD to share with the ladies in my group.  We have anywhere from 16 to about 32 women show up, it fluctuates because as you know, as moms, and women who are busy with appointments, work, and college, you can't make every meeting.  Anyway, the day that I read this article to the women in our group I realized how special the article was and how powerful it was.  I even got choked up at the end of the article and saw some tears from some of the ladies as I read.

I'm hoping as you read this article it not only touches you in a special way, but it reminds you not to worry about your trials or problems that come up each day.  Bring those concerns and requests to the Lord, because He loves you and is listening and He already knows the outcome.  We can rest assured that He already has it covered and that He knows what is best for us.

I would also suggest that you make your own little God Box.  We are going to make a craft at our Christmas party next Tuesday and decorate little circular Gift boxes from Oriental Trading.  I'm going to copy the article for each woman and have them keep their box or give it away as a gift this year.  What a great gift idea to remind our friends and family members that God is only prayer away.  He doesn't want us to worry or fret.  He wants us to share our life with Him and trust Him, and when we do have requests we need to ask with faith that God's answer is best for us.

Click here to read Inside the God Box.

And let me know what you think!  I was so impressed that a secular magazine would publish such a faith filled article...it gives me hope!

The Power of a Praying Wife Chapter 28: Self-Image

We all want our spouses to have identities that our soundly established in the Lord.

It is a choice to view ourselves the way God sees us and not try to keep up with the Jones or compare ourselves to others.

Stormie O'Martian says, "Our first steps are to be toward Him: seeking His face, following His laws, putting Him first and self centered pursuits last.  When we line up with Him, He leads the way and all we have to do is follow."

Isn't it neat that as we stay focused on God and look to Him the glory of His image gets imprinted upon us.  We become free because we realize who we are in Him, why He made us, and what our purpose in this life is.  And prayer is a powerful way to ask for God's help so that we can keep focused on Him when it is very easy to get side tracked.

You can't find out who you really are until you find out who God really is!  So ask for God to reveal Himself to you and be careful to pay attention and listen when you "hear" His voice speaking to you.

Let's pray that:

* We will find our identities in God
* We can understand our worth through His eyes and by His standards
* Pray that we recognize the unique qualities that God has placed in us
* Enable us to see ourselves the way God sees us
* God will quiet the voices that tell us otherwise and give us ears to hear His voice only

Love Dare:

Remind your husband of his unique qualities that God has blessed him with.  Share an encouraging scripture.

Our Christmas Tree 2010

I love these kids!!!!!!!!!!!!! Look at that face on my boy!
Julia holding tight to her baby brother.
Julia smiling, and Mark plotting the escape.
Mommy and the peanuts!
It was super cold but everyone needs to capture these precious moments.
Daddy had to wrangle them back in, they were ready to move!
Tina the tree and my three favorite people in the world!!!


Mommy Movie Review: The Jungle Book

Here is another Walt Disney Classic: The Jungle Book.  This movie was always a favorite of mine because of the relationships with the characters and all the fun music.   Each song has such a fun beat that you just can seem to get it out of your head.  Mowgli is an orphan boy who is raised by a family of wolves.  Although you only see him as a new baby in a basket and then a little boy.  But at the very beginning of the movie a problem arises where Shere Khan a man-eating tiger is back in the jungle and the wolves are afraid if they don't send Mowgli back to the man-village Shere Khan will not only kill Mowgli but anyone who tries to defend him.  Bagheera (loyal panther friend) is the one appointed to take Mowgli back to the man village and along the way they meet Baloo, a free-spirited bear, Kaa a snake who is always hungry, and some elephants and monkeys.

Kristi's Positives:

* Bagheera is a loyal friend who just can't seem to let Mowgli go without protecting him and defending him to the very end.  Even if he risks his life he can't rest until he knows Mowgli is okay.

* Baloo learns a valuable lesson that when you love someone you have to stop thinking about yourself and what would make you happy and put the other person's safety and best interest first, even if that means saying goodbye.

* Mowgli learns that listening and obeying authority protects you from harm.

* Kaa the snake is always trying to deceive and trick the animals in the jungle so he can devour them and it is a great parallel to how our enemy, the d*vil works.  He too is always lurking about seeking to devour us and so we always need to be on guard.  A great lesson to show our children how sneaky and evil he is.

* King Louie the orangutan wants Mowgli to teach him how to make fire.  He sings a whole song "I want to be like you!"  Here is a lesson that teaches us to be content with how God made us and not desire what isn't meant for us.

* A little girl is drawing water out of the river to bring back to the man-village and Mowgli is captivated by her and ends up following her right into the village where he belongs.  Shows the attraction between a boy and a girl and how God has designed for humans to live with humans and animals to live with animals, the way things should be...

Kristi's Negatives:

* Couldn't find any!  If any of you have seen the movie and there was something you didn't like or agree with please feel free to post a comment.

Kristi's Rating: 10

Stop by Suzette's blog to read her review on Tarzan.

Interview with Julia

Two Year Old

A friend posted on her wall an interview she had with her two year old, so I decided to ask Julia the same questions and hear her responses.  First, I went to her room while she was listening to her story Madeline on CD and so she was sucking her thumb and wide awake.  I sat criss-crossed on her bed pretzel style and said, “Julia I have some questions for you.”  I had a clip board and some paper and a pen, and she must’ve thought this was a part of school because she got so excited to do “homework” she sat up, criss-crossed her legs like me and was bright eyed and beaming.  Seriously, she smiled the entire time.  It was like she was being interviewed by Barbara Walters.  She was so excited.  I tried not to coach any of her answers, so if they don’t make sense, remember she’s only 2!!! Oh, and each question before she answered she said, “UMMMMMMM…and then gave her answer, so I didn’t put the ummmm, but she did say it!

What is your name? “Julia!”
How old are you? “Two!”
When is your birthday? “December” (I was so proud)
Who is your mommy? “Mommy Kristi
What does mommy do? "Mommy writes with the pen" (yup, she’s rather literal, as I wrote down her answers with my pen)
Who is your daddy? "Daddy John" (she paused for a bit on this one, I think she forgot John’s first name)
What does daddy do? “He works with Uncle Tio!” (Uncle Tio is Ev, Debi’s husband, and they both work in the financial district in NYC)
Who is your brother? "Marky’s one"  (she wanted to add more to that question)
Who are your friends? (long pause…I had to repeat this one) “Brody, Capri, Brenna”
What is your favorite color? "Blue!" (this answer shocked me, I think she just said the first color that came to her mind)
What is your favorite food to eat? (she whispered this one, it was so cute) “cake”
What is your favorite song? "Cat in the Hat" (I have no idea what she meant by this, but we do have Cat in the Hat story on CD)
What is your favorite movie? "Madeline" (We just bought this the other day at Target)
What is your favorite book? "Barney’s Soup" (It’s an alphabet book with a different food for each letter and it’s super silly)
What is your favorite animal? "A pig" (Charlotte’s Web is what we were watching tonight)
What is your favorite ice cream flavor? “Pink!” (haha, she likes strawberry like me) “And Marky likes white” (He loves vanilla…how did she know that???)
What are your favorite toys to play with? Red toys (no idea)
Where is your favorite place to eat? Cereal (no idea)
Who is your favorite person? Purple (ok, we definitely lost our focus)
Who is your best friend? Brenna!!! (As she shouted this answer she fell off the bed and cried for about 2 minutes…oh my poor girl! I tried to get the booboo bunny in the freezer but she wanted to do more questions)
Where did your brother come from? “Marky plays with my friends and I jump!” (so cute)
What is your favorite thing to do? “Wear my boots”  (She’s a fashion girl like mommy)
What do you want to be when you grow up? “Go potty” (apparently going potty is what people do when the grow up)
Where will you live when you grow up?(I knew she was going to say this answer) “At Grandma Donna’s house!”
What do Mommy and Daddy do after you go to bed? " (very matter of factly) “Go to sleep!”

Well, that is my little girl…growing up so big and so smart!  I love her! And at the end of this month…she turns 3!!!

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas...

Yay! December is here!  There is so much to do and so much to see!  We are having so much fun picking out gifts together for our friends and family.  And the kids love watching me wrap the gifts.  Julia asks me again and again, "Who's that for?"  And I'll tell her and she'll go, "Oh, it's for _______." And then a few seconds later she'll ask me the same question.  At the Mall and in the stores she says, "Where's Saint Nicholas?"  "I say hi to him???"  She loves waving to Santa and thinks he is so nice to wave back, she'll say, "Awww, That's so nice!"  She really cracks me up!

I'm looking forward to some great times ahead of us this month.  Friday, my mom is coming over to tuck the kids in as I go to a friend's house from my Ladies Bible Study because she's having a pajama party for all of us.  Then Saturday morning we have a Christmas Craft Crop me and a friend put together for the women at our church to make cards and some Christmas crafts.

This weekend John doesn't know it just yet, but I'd love to go to the Giamerese farm in East Brunswick and pick out our tree!

Next Friday is our Christmas Glamour & Gifts gathering at the church for some dessert, tea/coffee, a fashion show and a guest speaker who will be sharing her testimony and the gospel.



Next Saturday our church is having a Christmas Story presentation which I'd love to take my Julia and Mark to see.  Since our church is under construction this year it is the first year in decades that we've had to cancel the Drive Thru the Christmas Story, but this presentation should be really special.  Julia loves hearing about Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus.

I'm really looking forward to Christmas morning with my family coming over in their pjs and all of us eating a brunch meal together.  John and I like everyone coming over relaxed and not dressed up but just comfortable.  We will have a fire in the fire place, a mistletoe hanging, and lots of Christmas music playing.  And Eggnog, without eggnog, it's just not Christmas to John without his eggnog!  He's so lucky he can enjoy every drop, there's like a million calories in one sip.

This year I am thankful for my children and my husband who have taught me so much about myself.  I know it's going to be a great end to the year as we reflect on all the changes God has brought us through and all the blessings He continues to give.

Happy December!!!

The Power of a Praying Wife Chapter 27: Obedience

Obedience is a word that is used very frequently in this house.  While raising toddlers, teaching them to obey is key to them growing up in a safe environment with clear boundaries and clear authority figures.  They know how much we love them, but sometimes their will or their curiosity or their pure selfishness leads them to disobey.  Whether it be disobeying by not sharing, disobeying by not following directions, or disobeying a rule that we have clearly set and stated.

It is the same way with God.  We know He loves us.  We see evidence of that all around us.  He provides for us.  He is faithful to us.  And He is constantly surprising us with "little gifts" and "extras" just to encourage and bless us.  However, what do we do?  We disobey.  He is our authority.  He has clearly stated the boundaries and His law, and yet because of our will, because of our "curiosity" and because of our plain sin-nature and selfishness we choose to disobey Him.  It can be by our words, our attitudes, and our actions.  Whatever it is that doesn't meet His standard is disobedience.

Sometimes we know exactly when we are doing wrong, and other times we have to wait til someone confronts us or we hear the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit telling us, "No, my beloved, I want so much more for you, that is not the way to talk, act, or behave."   So, the power of prayer can once again be our force and strength as we just come before God and ask Him to give us the strength, and the will to want to obey Him.  It is not always easy.  It's easier to gossip, have a bad attitude, and do what is comfortable and what the world says is okay.  It is much more difficult to follow and do what God calls us to do.  Let's pray for our spouses this week that they too, may hear the voice of God and be obedient to what He wants us to do and be like.

Let's pray that-
* We can sense when we have done wrong
* We can find the strength during temptation to flee
* Go to God before we speak or act out in anger, hurt or frustration
* We have the desire to have more of God in our life
* We can live in obedience to God

Love Dare-
Cook your husband his favorite meal or dessert this week! Or find a really fun stocking stuffer for him!

Really Bad Headache

Hi friends,

I went to bed with an awful headache and woke up with it.  I will be avoiding the computer today, but at some point I will post my Power of a Praying Wife...just praying the aspirin kicks in really soon.

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