2013 Summer Survival Challenge!

Well, summer is just around the corner and pretty soon I will have 4 pairs of feet and 40 little toes running around this house looking for something to do… and they will be looking and running directly to me!

Nerve wracking.

For years I was the working mom – so summer plans consisted of weekend outings to the park, maybe the zoo or the pool.  I didn’t really have to think much about it.  I left the thinking to the grandparents!  But now? Now I’ve been a stay at home mom for two years and summers scare me!  My first year as a stay at home mom, I had my infant son, so we didn’t really do too much. Mostly the pool and trips to the zoo.

But not this year!  My youngest is two years old and LOVES exploring and being outdoors.  So this year, I am going to plan ahead of time and have activities and outings (and also days of rest and relaxation) and be ahead of the game!  So when Susan Heid contacted me with her new 2013 Summer Survival Calendar {affiliate link}, I knew this was for me!  I became a fan of Susan when I started using her Household Planner (which I STILL use and love).  Now she’s back with a great calendar full of ideas as well as strategies to survive the summer with your kids.

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Here’s what’s included:

  •       Summer Goals worksheet
  •       Ideas for Summer Fun checklist
  •       10 Strategies for Your Best Summer Ever Action    Guide
  •       Your Best Summer Ever Audio Workshop
  •       Quiet Time Activities worksheet
  •       Important Summer Dates checklist
  •       Standard Operating Procedures worksheet
  •       Weekly Menu Planner/Grocery List
  •       Summer Weekly Planner
  •       Be Summer Organized checklist

Not only that, but one of my favorite blog sites, HelloMornings, is doing a Summer Survival {mini} Challenge using Susan’s calendar! I love a good challenge, especially one that aims at preparing me for my summer goals with my kids.

Summer Survival HelloMornings

Participation is easy! Just head over to The Confident Mom’s site and purchase the 2013 Summer Survival Calendar, then head on over to HelloMornings every Monday to walk through some prep phases and get your weekly homework!  After just three short weeks, you will graduate and be ready for the summer!

HelloMornings is also offering a free calendar for three participants!  After purchasing your calendar, head over to their Summer Survival {mini} Challenge and leave a comment that you’ve purchased it! You will be enrolled to either get reimbursed or to send a copy to a friend.

I’m so excited about this and ready for this summer challenge!

Joyfully His,

Yasmin

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Raised Hands in Worship…

This past Sunday was so moving for me.  It was the first Sunday of the month, which means communion and no children’s ministry (other than nursery).  It was my eldest daughter’s turn to work in the nursery, so she was there with my two year old.  That left me with Marissa (my 9 year old) and Jeremiah (my 7 year old).  We sat towards the front (Marissa’s choosing) and began singing praise and worship.

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That’s when he did it.  My sweet video game loving, monkey bar climbing, ticklish, funny, seven year old son raised his hands in worship.  My heart swelled and tears just started to flow – I was a crying mess and couldn’t contain myself.  He was singing and raising his hands in worship – and every once in awhile, looking at me sideways for approval.  To see my son standing there raising his hands in worship was just confirmation to me that my God is hearing my prayers.  I pray over all my children every morning – that the Lord would meet me where I fail as a parent and help me to raise these children to have a heart and love for Jesus.  That they would one day make this relationship their own and not just a family one.

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It means so much to me that my son is choosing to follow me in this path.  I pray that there would never come a day that he would refuse to go to church and instead stay home with his father, but rather his father would refuse to stay home and instead go to church with his sons.

DSCN5127The Holy Spirit was definitely moving Sunday morning.  His presence was so thick in that place, I could feel it and could not stop praising or crying.

Thank You, Father for meeting me there on Sunday.  Thank You for hearing my prayers.  I know You are working in my children’s lives – I can see the evidence of Your fingerprints all over their little hearts.

Lift up holy hands in prayer, and praise the LORD. Psalm 134:2

Listen to my prayer for mercy as I cry out to you for help, as I lift my hands toward your holy sanctuary. Psalm 28:2

I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. Psalm 63:4

I lift my hands to you in prayer. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain. Psalm 143:6

Forever His Daughter,

Yasmin

My hearts need for a true Biblical women’s ministry…

I love reading and studying the Word of God.  I’m part of an online study group going through a few chapters of Luke for the next few weeks. Then over the summer I’ll be part of another online study group.  I love the interaction and the sharing of the word.

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But I wish we had something like that in person.  A ministry that would meet weekly or even monthly to encourage and equip women: young and old, married and single, mothers and daughters.  We need more Titus 2, Proverbs 31, 1 Peter 3 type of women to rise up and lead, encourage, pray over, teach, and equip the women of the church.

I’m not talking about a pretty ministry that teaches pretty things and everything is all pink and rosie.

I’m talking about true Biblical Womanhood/Sisterhood.  When I think of Biblical Womanhood/Sisterhood, I think of Deborah, Abigail, Rahab, Sarah, Hannah… these women did not have easy lives.  Abigail especially is someone I really connect with.  She lived with an unsaved husband, but still loved and protected his interest no matter what.  Now that’s strength! To love like that is to know the true meaning of what love is.   Our pastor defines it as: Disinterested Benevolence. I love you and bless you and expect NOTHING in return.  We need to learn that and teach it to the newcomers in our church.  So many married wives and mothers are being saved, but their husbands are not.

Biblical Womanhood is being a Prayer Warrior. It’s not pretty, nice, and elegant. It’s that get down on your knees and cry out to God until you have nothing left within you to cry with; it’s that courage and strength to look the enemy in the eye and proclaim victory over your family through the blood of Christ; and yet and still, it’s that beauty that surpasses all beauty in it’s submission and modesty.

Biblical Womanhood is what I try to attain in this life, it’s the legacy I pray to leave behind to my girls and the generations that may come after that, should the Lord tarry. I haven’t reached it, I don’t think I ever will on this side of eternity, but the Lord will help me to be the best He made me to be in His amazing love and never ending mercy.

I currently don’t have a ministry like that in my life.

It’s heavy on my heart.

Waiting on Him,

Yasmin

Our Saturday

Last Saturday my husband had to run his new truck route and meet all the store managers.

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This is hubby driving. He’s using my phone as a GPS because his phone’s GPS wasn’t working. Thank God I thought to bring my charger with me!

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I was so tickled to see Bethlehem on the map.  My hubby made fun of me and said I was sure to post that I had made it to Bethlehem on Facebook! LOL {I probably would have done it if he hadn’t had my phone the whole trip! lol}

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After a few stops and so many hours driving, the kids (and the parents) were restless. So we stopped at a restaurant to eat and let the kids run around on a hill before going inside.  Marissa ran up and started singing and dancing – typical Marissa style! Amazing how different each one of our kids is.

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Hubby also seemed pretty pent up from being in the car so many hours and started skipping and waving his hands…

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And skipping some more… LOL! We all got a good laugh out of that one.

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In the restaraunt  Sam drank chocolate milk… I think it was his first time drinking it. He wouldn’t put it down!

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Kaitlyn and Jeremiah.

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I love Cherry soda.  But this is Cherry Pepsi, which I don’t enjoy.  I love when restaurants add grenadine to the Coke – the cherry flavor really stands out then.  Sam, Marissa, and I always fight over my cherry.  I think I’ll start asking for three cherries so we can all share!

 

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I loved this photo! I have great memories of The Honeymooners from my childhood. I would always watch it with my dad – it started my love for classic shows and movies.  I love The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy, Happy Days, and I listen to The Great Gildersleeve and Our Miss Brooks on old time radio. Love it.
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We drove by a jail!! It was so weird to actually see inmates walking the yard right by a highway.  What was even crazier was that right next to the jail was a baseball field and childs park!  Can you imagine having memories of playing ball as a kid… right outside a prison?!  Seems kind of sad…

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I took a picture of this because I had never seen this type of ice cream!! I so wanted to try it, but it was too cold outside to enjoy ice cream.

DSCN5054It was such a long day! We stopped at nine stores and drove over 300 miles in our little minivan.  This bridge was like a light at the end of the tunnel! It was our way to get out of PA and into NJ and our humble home.  I LOVE long trips, but this stop and go, stop and go, no place to rest kind of trip wasn’t fun at all. By the time I took this picture I was so done and barely speaking to anyone for fear I might let the grumpiness in my heart come out into the world (though my hubby will tell you that he felt it from his driver seat!).  We were all beat and GLAD to be home!

That was our Saturday.

At His Feet,

Yasmin

My Sister… Amanda

I met Amanda a few years ago at church, a single mom of a very lively 2 year old (at the time) daughter.  It seems like we hit it off right away and we’ve just been close ever since our first encounter.  I love her. She’s been through so much in life and yet she’s always smiling, laughing, and shouting! You can hear ‘Manda from across the church – and you’ll probably hear me right along side her because we are just LOUD.  It’s the Hispanic in us – LOL!

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Amanda loves my kids. And she tells them all the time.

“I freakin’ love you guys!”

She says that constantly. And texts it too.

Here she is taking a picture on our computer with Marissa.

Photo on 2013-04-07 at 18.24And here she is with my eldest, Kaitlyn.

And finally she called out to me, “Sissy! Come take a picture with me!”

I brushed her off and said I was cooking and I had to get us all to church on time for the evening Bible study service.

“Come on, Sissy! Just a quick picture!”

And so I stopped, because I love her, because she’s so persistent that I knew she wouldn’t stop until I did, because she’s fun and spontaneous – and sometimes I need more of that in my life.

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Here we are. My “Sissy” and me (and my Kaity photo-bombing in her usual style!).

God sent her to me.  

A younger woman to bring up and share my faith with.  A younger woman to encourage when she’s going through difficult times.  A younger woman to call and ask if she read her Bible today.  A younger woman to invite over for dinner or BBQ – so she and I can fellowship while our children play.

And while I encourage her, she encourages me.  

When she calls me and asks to come over – I know she finds comfort in my fellowship and it reminds me that someone does like my company.  When we laugh so hard that we literally cannot breathe – it reminds me that I have a sister I can have crazy, fun times with.  When she cries on my shoulder and tells me her deepest, most intimate secrets – it reminds me that the Lord put me in her life for such a time as this.

I was there. And now I’m here.

So I can share that with her. Just like Jesus shares that with us.

He’s not a far off God that doesn’t know our pains, our temptations, our happiness.

No, he became flesh so that He might share that with us.

I’m grateful for ‘Manda.  She’s my sister and I love her and pray for her constantly.

At His feet,

Yasmin

Menu Planning Catastrophe

I’m new to keeping a grocery budget and planning my menus around the sales of the week.  It’s all new to me, but I’m trying my best.  Image

Last night, I spent hours looking through circulars, calling Sam’s club and getting prices of fish by the pound so I can compare to our local supermarket and getting all my coupons together.

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I was pretty tired but satisfied that I had our menu for the week done.  Let me add here that my menu included items that I had already prepped and frozen as well as items that were on sale this week for me to buy.

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So when I came down this morning to find my prepped beef stew meal was defrosted on the counter, you can imagine the emotions that coursed through me!  This beef stew was not for this week at all! It was for next week since we had beef stew already last week! All my hard work! My husband doesn’t appreciate or understand the work that I do while he sits and plays with the kids. This throws my plan completely out the window now. Now I have to rearrange the menu completely (I don’t have us eating meat more than 1-2 a week so I space them out between Vegetarian, fish, and chicken meals) and I was just so upset about it.ImageNot to mention the lovely cans he left out after a midnight snack of soup.ImageAnd the messy plates in the sink that were mostly done after I went to bed.

So yes, I am mad.  But lately I’ve been taking this homemaker business and treating it like it was the job I had previously working for a big company.  If I feel to lazy to do a chore on my daily checklist, I think about how it would be at my previous job.  I would never not do something and tell my boss I was just too lazy to get it done. No! I always got it done and if I couldn’t, for some reason, I had a good reason for it – not an excuse.

So this morning I thought to myself, what if I was back at the office and someone had done this? Would I throw a tantrum to my boss and complain about the person?  (We actually did this in the past when a new worker came in and did things different than what we were used to. My boss looked at me and my coworker and told us to figure it out, this isn’t preschool!  Ah, she was a good boss. Seriously. I grew up a lot under her watchful eye.)

Anyway, so I choose to just roll with the punches – as any good homemaker worth her salt will do.  I will put this stew in the fridge (since I don’t want to refreeze it and I don’t have potatoes and carrots for it today) and use it tomorrow. Yes, I’ll have to rearrange my menu. But I view it as a challenge I can take on.

And yes. I will talk to my husband and explain to him what I do and ask him not to take out any freezer meals in the future. Calmly. Smiling. And with a kiss on the cheek.

Because that’s how a Growing P31 Woman does things around here.

Yasmin

 

eBook Review: Becoming the Confident Mom You’ve Always Wanted to Be by Susan Heid

I have to start off by saying I am a huge fan of Susan Heid.  Not only do I use her Weekly Household Planner on a daily basis, but I listen to her podcast daily while I clean house (her podcast comes out once a week, but since I’ve only recently discovered them, I’ve been playing catchup).

So when I found out that Susan was coming out with a new eBook – I was so excited.  Susan’s ideas on keeping a home and on parenting, all from a Biblical point of view, has been so helpful in the short amount of time that I’ve found her that I was just beyond excited to get my hands on this eBook.  I’m glad I did.

The eBook is filled with great strategies on how you can be a confident mom – like real, everyday strategies that you can actually implement in your life.  My favorite thing about this book though is that for every strategy she uses (and there are 31 strategies), there is also a Bible verse (or two) that goes along with it.  They are all Bible based and that’s important to me.

Susan’s eBook is already an extremely important and valuable resource in my library.  If you’re looking for ways to be more confident in your parenting and in yourself, this is a great resource for you!

The book is currently on sale for $0.99 today only.  Tomorrow it goes to its regular price of $2.99.  Both prices are hard to beat for the value of the information you will be getting.

If you are interested, please use the link in this post (or on my sidebar) to purchase your copy.  I pray this book will be a blessing to you as it is to me.

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In Christ,
Yasmin

I was given a free copy of this book as an affiliate member of The Confident Mom, but all opinions are my own.

Admitting I Have a Problem… and Praising God for His Solution!

I never realized how much I spent money until I made a conscientious decision to NOT spend money.  Oh. My. Lanta.  Every day I caught myself thinking how I needed to go to Walmart for this or to the grocery store for that.  I had no idea that the reason we couldn’t save any money, living paycheck to paycheck, was because I was spending it all!

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I realize now that in my mind I justified my spending because I wasn’t buying anything specifically for me.  Like I wasn’t going out getting my hair and nails done and buying myself clothes and makeup. I was buying things for the house or buying more groceries for the week – so spending money was OK.  But we haven’t been able to pay the mortgage  or some bills, we live paycheck to paycheck and have nothing in savings.  Until this week.

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I decided that for 2013 I was going to be more frugal and be on a strict budget and use what I have in the house instead of going out and buying more things (my pantry is full of cans and boxes!).  And lo and behold, we had money at the end of the week!  We even sent out a check for the mortgage and paid three bills WITH ONE PAYCHECK!  And still had some money left over to last us until the next paycheck (hubby is paid biweekly).  My husband is a truck driver and doesn’t make great money, but his pay wasn’t the problem.  It was my spending!

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I praise God that He has put on my heart to be more frugal this year and to use what we have.  To not throw so much away this year.  He has opened my eyes and our family is better for it.  My goal is to be a permanent homemaker and I pray that if we continue this route, I can be that.  My husband has plans for me to go back to work (at least part time) when our youngest goes to school full time in a few years.  I pray that by then we will be caught up on bills and not living paycheck to paycheck.  With the Lord’s help I think we can do it!

All this goes perfectly with my word and Bible verse for the year:

Intentional

To be intentional means to be deliberate or on purpose.  That’s how the Proverbs 31 woman lived – with intention, with a purpose.  According to Proverbs 31:27, she watched over the affairs of her household and didn’t eat from the bread of idleness.  I pray that’s how the Lord grows me this year: to be a woman of intention.

In Christ,

Yasmin

New Year’s Resolutions… {Goals}

Yeah, I know I’m a little late on writing this but you know the old saying: better late than – OK, OK, you get my point.

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I had actually written down my resolutions the day after New Years.  I really wouldn’t even call them resolutions, they really are goals; things in my life that I want to accomplish and grow in.  You know, growing into the Proverbs 31 woman that the Lord made me to be!  I also wrote down the various areas of my life and my 2013 word.  I also have a 2013 verse (Proverbs 31:27) and a song (The More I Seek You), but that’s a blog post for another day.

Overall, this year is really about me growing into being a true homemaker.  Taking care of my home and making it a place where my family is comfortable being.  No clutter, nice decor, peaceful atmosphere, homemade meals, and lots of love!

I don’t know, but I feel real excited about 2013 – like God has so much in store for me and my family.  He has definitely been giving me a heart for homemaking like never before and I’m putting my all into it.  My husband will tell you there’s a huge difference in our home now than just a month ago.  Little changes, but I’m getting there.

I’m definitely excited to be blogging through my experience.

In Christ,

Yasmin

Last Night I Stopped and Listened…

I have to share how good I did last night!

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So last night we had some vistors over (two nephews and one pregnant fiance).  The men played video games in the living room while me and the pregnant fiance (Lisa, love her like my own niece) were in the kitchen talking and making

Pioneer Woman’s Homemade Pumpkin Puree with a 10lb pumpkin (this guy was big!).  We had a great time, but by the time they left, I was tired, my pumpkin was still half way finished, and my kitchen was a  mess!  I just wanted to be done with it and get to bed!

That’s when our 18 month old started his nightly crying.  He cries because he’s tired, but doesn’t want to sleep. He fights his sleep so bad.  My husband had moved from the main floor gaming system, to the upstairs gaming system and had taken the baby with him. I was so happy because I wanted to finish my puree as quickly as possible.

Not five minutes later, hubby came down the stairs with a screaming baby, dropped him off at the bottom of the stairs, turned around and went back upstairs to continue playing on his gaming system.  I was so frustrated and wanted to go upstairs and yell about how he’s been playing for hours already while I’ve been slaving away in this kitchen all day cleaning, rearranging, cooking, cleaning, cooking again, cleaning again, then doing pumpkin puree! Can’t he just put his game down and put Sam to sleep? PLEASE?!

I really thought about all the things I was going to say as I stomped over to my son and picked him

Imageup.  I was already at the bottom of the stairs ready to stomp my way up… when I really felt like the Holy Spirit just stopped me.  I knew the outcome of that argument: I would be upset, hubby would be mad, lots of yelling, and that’s how the household would end the day.  Not good.  As much as I know in my heart that what he was doing was just unfair and selfish, what I was about to do was just as unfair and selfish to my kids and our family as a whole.

So I turned around, sat down on the sofa, and took 20 minutes to rock my son and quiet him down.  My other three kids came by and we all sang him a lullaby.  It was sweet.  And I cried like a baby.  The choice to not go upstairs is so not me. It’s not the person I am. I am a fighter, a confronter, and when I get angry sometimes I can get into my rage so bad that I don’t hear any outside voices of reason.  But tonight I sensed God’s Holy Spirit – AND I STOPPED AND LISTENED.  That’s what it means to be a Growing Proverbs 31 Woman. These small choices that I make to listen to that small voice.

Just praising God for His Holy Spirit and praying to hear and listen to it more and more in this New Year!

Yasmin

Growing Proverbs 31 Woman