A Masters course, 1st official class IN University

Adventures, Children's Ministry

This week marked a monumental occasion in my life. I attended my first in-person Masters level class at a University.

Why am I getting a masters?

I have taken two Masters level courses from another school, and will be taking a few more from them, but the school is across the country. Four-hour time difference. As much as I enjoy that… particular the ‘avoiding-dealing-with-people-face-to-face part’… I thought for some courses it may be best to actually be able to attend the class.

Enter school number two! Currently I am enrolled as a No-Program student, so I’m not currently working toward a degree, which allows me to finish the courses I was hoping to obtain from the first school. So, on Tuesday, I attended my first class. Intro to Christian History.

It went well… though I left feeling like the dumbest person in the class. My base knowledge on the subject is nowhere near the other students’. This is stressing me out a bit. Especially since the homework went right over my head. I’m the kind of person who puts so much pressure on myself to keep my grades as high as possible. In high school anything less than 85% was a fail and the end of the world. I think I will have to let that go for this course, and just be happy if I manage to pass!

This mess...masters life

We will have to see what happens, but at this point, I do not have high expectations. It doesn’t bode well for continuing in a Master of Divinity but I will give it my best shot! For those who know me, don’t be shocked if you see me walking around with zombie-eyes and randomly crying for no reason! 😉

hyperventilate Masters
This will be me until April! :S

PLEASE PRAY FOR ME!!!!!!! Pray that I survive this semester and that I do not lose my temper with the kids because I am stressed about my schoolwork.

How do you handle academic stress and feelings of inadequacy?

Resolutions

Goals or Resolutions? Which do you prefer?

Adventures
Resolutions

Are you one of those people who starts a new year off with a long list of resolutions? Or do you set one or two achievable resolutions? Perhaps you don’t bother with resolutions at all. Maybe you just have goals that remain the same throughout the years.

Don’t follow Resolutions Meme - Goals

What do I do?

I am typically one of the first type – the one who creates a long list of resolutions. Usually the same as the ones I set the year before… and failed miserably at.

Resolutions are not to be kept, Goals are

This year I’ve decided to put more thought into my New Year’s resolutions. The hope being that I may actually accomplish something. No more resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, etc, etc. Those are still great goals for the year and ones that I will continue to work hard at. But instead of feeling like a failure because I resolved to change and then didn’t, I will set resolutions that are more achievable. My hope is that this will provide a greater sense of accomplishment.

Explain resolutions/goals

My Goals and Resolutions

So, what are my resolutions for 2019? I have two really: 1. Work hard to serve God with all of my heart in the calling he has placed on me, to the best of my ability. 2. No more dying my hair. I resolve to work at accepting the grey/silver streaks and not base my beauty or self-worth on how many others can see.

I will still plan to eat healthier and exercise more; as is my goal at all times. I will also try to spend less time sitting and doing unproductive things like playing Angry Birds 2 for hours on my tablet. But I will not list these as resolutions to be crossed off a list. I suppose the two resolutions I have listed are not really ‘cross of the list’ items either. They are where I want my focus to be this year.

What resolutions or goals have you set for yourself for 2019? Share some in the comments!

Children’s Ministry and Christmas

Children's Ministry, Crafting

Have you ever wondered what a children’s ministry leaders life looks like around Christmas? 

No?

I’m not surprised. However, I’m going to give you a glimpse into what my life looks like… (I apologize now for the quality of the photos, and for the fact that WordPress isn’t letting me rotate them to the correct orientation. I will work on fixing that.)

Mountain of Costumes
The mountain of costumes awaiting finishing touches.

It looks like an insanely high mountain of animal costumes. Yep. You read that right… animal costumes.

For the last few weeks, we have been rehearsing for our Sunday School Christmas pageant. This year we are using The Noel Critter Motel musical. It is super cute and I can’t wait for the parents and our congregation to see the kids perform it.

box of goodies
Antennae, ears and finished costumes.

What this has meant for me – a lot of sewing. There are 15 kids taking part in the Christmas pageant and each one has to be dressed as an animal who would appear in the stable where Jesus was born. We had four animal costumes on hand that I had made for last year’s pageant but that still left me with 11 to make.

sewing
Sewing away

Of course, I unknowingly picked a somewhat more complicated pattern than I needed to, and it involved some adaptation to add ears and the like. It’s a great pattern though, and free right now at Goober Pea Designs. At this time I believe I have spent more than 10 hours cutting, sewing, and gluing.

Between costumes and a rather involved homework assignment for my Masters course, this week has just about done me in. 

Needless to say, a Children’s Ministry leader does not have a boring life when it comes to the Christmas season! I am very much looking forward to having a bit of a break once our Christmas pageant is over.

A new adventure, a new focus

Adventures, Children's Ministry

Once again, I will be making some changes to this poor old blog of mine.

My focus in life has shifted and therefore the focus of this blog will be shifting as well. I will still leave room here for our adventures in homeschooling and crafting, but now the main focus of my writing will be on my ministry journey. I will be writing about my work in the church (Children’s Ministry in particular), my journey toward a Master’s degree, and the journey to ordination. Yes, that’s right. I have decided to become an ordained pastor… well… that’s the plan right now at least.

Follow along with me as I work through school, ministering, and maintaining my sanity in the process!

Children’s Ministry Decorating Challenge.

Crafting

A CALL INTO CHILDREN’S MINISTRY

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on here yet, but in September I will be starting my Masters in Children’s Ministry. I’ve been running the Children’s programs at our church for about a year and truly feel that I have found my calling. Recently we decided to renovate/redecorate some rooms in the basement to accommodate our growing Sunday School. We made it into a challenge and had three teams participate.

I led one team and we chose the preschool room. Here is the before:

Before

We had many different ideas for our room and changed our direction many times. Finally, we settled on a sea themed room, complete with a boat. Each team had six weeks and a budget of $500 to complete their room. Our team had many unfortunate circumstances and scheduling conflicts, so we were pretty crunched for time. There’s a still a bit of work to be done even though the time is up. We spent very little of our budget which will enable us to do a few touch-ups over the summer before the rooms are put to use in the fall.

HERE COMES THE AFTER PHOTOS:

Here are the pictures for the after:

After I will make you fishers of menFaith keepersRainbow Children's ministry

My team was amazing! They did a hefty chunk of painting the main colors (and all of the cutting in! My least favorite part.) Once we had that done, I sketched out the fish and other murals. It was here that the scheduling conflicts hit. One team member started a new job that prevented her from being available when most of us were. I was down to one team member. She helped fill in some of the mural pictures until her own schedule conflict came up. I was so very thankful for all of the help they gave though and feel we managed to create a really fun and inviting room for the kids.

THE RESULTS:

By now you’re probably curious as to whether or not we won the challenge. I am happy to say we did… but barely!

The Sunday School kids got to be the judges. We had 14 kids and they each picked their favorite room. Four went to the first room, five in the second and five in ours! We had the four from the first room be the tie-breaking votes and we squeaked out a win by one!

Of course, it really wasn’t about winning. We now have three beautiful, inviting, and fun rooms for when our Sunday School starts back up in the fall.

And just wait till you see what I have planned for the hallway! 😉

Toothless the Dragon

Toothless the dragon.

Crafting

Have you seen the movie, How To Train Your Dragon? In the movie, there is a black dragon, a Night Fury, named Toothless. I found a pattern online to make a Toothless stuffy and I set about to do so for an artisan showcase.

This was not an easy sew. The difficulties began with the fabric, minky, a super-slippery fabric. However, it makes the softest and cuddliest stuffies. It took me over an hour just to cut out all the pieces. Toothless has many tiny scales and spikes. Putting him together took quite awhile as well due to lots of fussy sewing. So many tiny pieces, and not only tiny but curved as well! I’m not much for the fiddly sewing like that, but I gave it my best go.

All that said, I could not be more pleased with how he turned out!

Toothless the Dragon

It’s hard to get a good picture of him, since he’s all black, and his nostrils are black glitter felt. Most of the little scales and spikes are on his back. You can get the idea from this picture though. I doubt I will ever make another one because of how fussy it is. Also, I’m super happy I didn’t sell him at the showcase because he’s just so darn cute! I want to keep him for myself… I won’t even share with the kids!

I also made a dinosaur, some elephants, and some owls. I haven’t snapped any photos of those just yet. They’re cute, but not as nice as Toothless here.

If you’re interested in the pattern you can find it here.

Baking up a storm!

Cooking

Life has been a bit hectic lately, but that hasn’t stopped me from baking up quite the storm. It doesn’t help that I’ve fallen in love with the Great British Bake-off. Whenever I see someone making delicious food on tv, it always gets me excited to be in the kitchen. Hubby enjoys this, at least at first. After multiple sweet treats in a row… he may wish I’d stop watching such shows!

Baking Pies:

First I went through a pie making craze.

apple tart

Old fashioned apple tart.

Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie

Apple Pie

British Apple Pie (Less sugar, no spices)

I used a British style pastry, which was so much easier to work with! It allowed me to practice some of my pie decorating without having to worry about it crumbling on me.

At our church, we do a monthly seniors luncheon. Well, this past month the lady who usually runs it was away and the lady who usually makes the desserts was terribly sick. I volunteered to make the pies since I was in this pie-making craze. I made 8 pies, 4 different kinds. Coconut cream, Apple, Custard, and Pecan. I’m told they turned out well.

Tasty Pies

A few of the pies.

BAKING OTHER THAN PIES:

I also made some blueberry muffins, pesto biscuits, and chocolate eclairs during this time. These were purely selfish bakes! 😊 I’ve tried a few different scone recipes as well, but don’t have pictures. Our favorite is a Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Scone. The Eclairs went over quite well with hubby. We may have eaten all twelve within 4 or 5 hours.

Baking

Blueberry muffins

Baking

Pesto Scones

baking

Eclairs!

The baking has settled down a bit… mostly due to an increase in my weight! But I still have a few more treats I want to try out. I just need to find some people willing to eat a few so that hubby and I don’t eat them all.

Volunteers?

Sometimes life gets a bit crazy!

Homeschooling

WHERE HAVE I BEEN?

You may have noticed that I’ve been a bit neglectful when it comes to posting regularly. Well, as the title says, sometimes life gets crazy!

I work part-time/seasonally for a wonderful local accountant. Most of my work comes during tax season, which has just ended. Well, mostly anyway. This year was particularly crazy! So my life lately has looked like this: (please excuse my messy floor!)

Bags of returns

Also, we’ve had a decorating challenge going on at our church for our Sunday School rooms. I was leading one of the teams. Therefore any free time in the last six weeks has been spent at the church. But more on that in another post!

HOMESCHOOLING?

As for homeschooling… we’ve been squeezing in what we can. A little Life of Fred here, a novel there, some spelling practice strewn throughout our day. Mostly, we’ve just been out in the mud enjoying the sun… and a little rain as well.

Mining

Mining rocks, with a hammer of course!

Sleepy muddy boy

What’s a l’il mud?

Silly girl

Don’t you just love that hair sticking out?

Hammering pipe

Gotta feed those ants!

Pirates ahoy!

Grandpy turned the play structure into a pirate ship

silly boy

Not happy about being on the ship. lol

Clean that boat

Waiting her turn to swab the deck.

sandbox

Mr Moo just wants to play in the sand

the plank

Walk the plank! Mr T built this all on his own!

helpers

Helping daddy dig the garden

Muddy muddy

Oh the mud!

There’s been some building: a plank, and an ant feeding tube. There’s been some mining for rocks and ore. Trips to Nanny’s to play in the pirate ship and sandbox. And there have been a few wheelbarrow rides. Best of all, there’s been dirt and mud!

Mr. T has also been working on a quilt. He asked for the Easter Bunny to bring him a sewing machine and set straight to work! As soon as mommy gets the bindings cut we will finish it up.

Quilt top

He’s also decorated his wall in quite a unique way. He was making “machines” on it, though I think most of those are gone now.

Creating

Inventor in our midst!

I wish I could say that life was going to settle down now that tax season is slowly coming to a close. Unfortunately, it won’t, as now we move into birthday planning for Lil Miss and Mr. Moo (they share the same birthday), Vacation Bible School planning and decorating, and planning for a women’s retreat. I do tend to thrive on being busy, but a little break here and there is nice! 😜😂

Cutest Kid ever!

Apple Tree Sewing Patterns Review

Crafting

It was love at first make when I first sewed up Apple Tree Sewings Bunny Hug Hoodie. Since then I have made two for Mr. T and L’il Miss. Mr. Moo has three. Apple Tree has many other wonderful patterns as well, a few of which I have tried and love. I have made the Grow Along Pants, the Grow Fonder, the On the Grow Romper, and the Grow On Romper.

Below are the four most recent Bunny Hugs I’ve made. Are they not just the most adorable things ever?

MY THOUGHTS ON THE BUNNY HUG PATTERN:

The pattern is super easy to follow with plenty of pictures to guide you. It takes very little time to whip one of these up once you’ve got it cut out. I spent roughly 6-8 hours sewing on Thursday and managed to make three of these, three Grow Fonders, and some things for myself. My kiddos are also in love with these hoodies, as is my husband. I would highly recommend this pattern to anyone who makes children’s clothing.

You have a variety of size options (more-so if you buy the bundle with the older sizes added). It is available in 3-12 months, 9 months-3 years, 3T- 6, 6 – 8/9 and 8/9 – 12/13. For Mr. Moo, I made the 9 months-3 years. L’il Miss got he 3T-6 and Mr. T the 6-8/9. I love that they can wear it for a few years, or until it wears out! 

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THE GROW ALONG PANTS:

If you’re looking for a pants pattern for your kids, look no further! This pattern is awesome for so many reasons. You have a few options when you make these. You can put in the reinforced knees to extend the longevity of the pants. You can just sew a plain pair of pants. Or you can choose to do a reversible option. I have yet to try the reversible, but the other two options are super simple.

The best thing is these pants grow with your child, much like the Bunny Hug. Mr. Moo’s (the tractor ones) are size 1-3T. L’il Miss and Mr. T both have the 3-6 version. You can see the difference when they have them on, it’s a looser fit for the smaller kids, and a tighter, legging look for the older.

Another pattern I would highly recommend and the kids also approve of!

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THE GROW FONDER PATTERN:

In the search for nice tee shirt pattern for the kids to wear in the summer, I found the Grow Fonder. I’ve made them tons of raglans but was looking for something a little different. This pattern again comes with different options and size ranges. You can choose your sleeve length, regular neckband or cowl neck. I made each of the kids a cowl neck, and one regular neckband for L’il Miss (I don’t have a picture of that one because she was sick this week and didn’t feel like having her picture taken.)

Once again Mr. Moo is in the size 1-3T, L’il Miss in 3-6, and for this one, Mr. T is also in the 3-6 which is a tad short on him due to how tall he is. Unfortunately, the pattern doesn’t go any larger at this point. Though I imagine it would be easy to add some length. The rest fits him perfectly as he’s so skinny.

 

MY THOUGHTS ON THE ON THE GROW ROMPER AND THE GROW ON ROMPER:

Make all the clothes!

I’m combining my thoughts on these two, mostly because they are similar in a lot of ways.

The On the Grow Romper is the one that looks most like overalls. I love this. These will last the kiddos so long! Only L’il Miss and Mr. Moo got one of these, and they are both at the smaller end of their size ranges so they have lots of room to grow. There are drawstrings on the inside to ruche the sides up and make it smaller. There are two snaps on the shoulders to allow for some adjustment, and an option to add a third. I added the color blocking to mine, that’s not in the pattern. It is super easy to do if you so wish.

I have to say, these look so comfy that I want a pair!

The Grow On Romper I love even more than the other. Mr. Moo looks so adorable in his, the picture does not do it justice! This also has the drawstring on the inside. You can choose to add snaps through the inseam like a sleeper. I added the snaps to Mr. Moo’s to make it easier to get on and off. I love the little hood, though it does hang slightly off to one side due to the crossover. This one I lined with minky, mostly because I forgot to cut it out of the black french terry and had none left when I realized it, and partly because the minky is so soft I thought it would be super comfy.

Mr. Moo calls it his ‘Zebra’.

Both of these patterns I would recommend.

In Closing:

And with that, I will leave you all with some pictures of the most adorable model ever… and urge you to check out Apple Tree Sewing for some amazing patterns!

Roasted Cauliflower Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Cooking

Are you looking at the title and thinking, “say what? Cauliflower on a grilled cheese?” That was my initial thought when I read the recipe in our weekly eMeals plan. However, it turned out to be delicious.

We’ve used eMeals in the past but had taken a break from it. A month or so ago we discovered that they had Vegan and Vegetarian plans so we thought we would give it another go. The recipes have been tasty, though none can hold a candle to the recipes from Oh She Glows.

For our supper tonight we had the Roasted Cauliflower Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Roasted Brussell Sprouts with Carrots and Mushrooms.

Cauliflower ready to roast roasting veggies

Our Review:

Hubby and I greatly enjoyed all of it, except maybe the mushrooms, and the kids really liked the grilled cheese and the carrots. None of the kids were really into the Brussell sprouts, go figure. The grilled cheese is supposed to have some arugula on with the cheese and roasted cauliflower. I figured it best to omit that from the ones I made for the kids, knowing full well they wouldn’t eat it.

To be honest, I was surprised they ate the grilled cheese at all since it was made with Gouda and had the cauliflower on it. All three of them ate their whole sandwich.

Of course, the lure of ice cream for dessert may have played into that as well!

 

Cauliflower Grilled Cheese

 

What have you been cooking this week?