Winter 2015 Happenings!

Hello, Everyone!

We’ve been busy recently! Here are some highlights. ūüôā

This is the time of year that we end up being cooped up the the house WAY more than we’d like. One way I try to use up some of that endless kid energy is exercise. I recently found an exercise video made for kids that has 5 and 10 minute workouts … perfect! We use this mid-morning to get some movement in and refresh our brains!

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Indoor cardboard rides have been popular! This is just a long piece of cardboard with two cut outs in it. One for the puller to hold and one for the rider to hold. ūüôā

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We’ve had lots of fun in the snow. My children made this awesome snow castle recently!

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And creations are always in vogue here!

My older girls have been doing lots of needle felting and sewing.

This is my 10 year old’s needle felted lady. She made this out of fluffy wool.

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Here’s my 8 year old’s hand sewn felt bird.

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My 13 year old is always continually designing and building R/C Airplanes. IMG_2809

Here’s a finished plane (F-86 Sabre …. he had to tell me what kind of plane it is!)IMG_2997

Painting!

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Here’s one of my children in disguise!

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Dishwasher unloading buddies!

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One of my children got very tiny! ūüėČ

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We’re all looking forward to warmer weather!

How about you? What have you been up to this winter? And are you looking forward to spring, too? ūüôā

 

Blessings,

Noel ūüôā

 

 

 

 

Looking Back… 2014 Painting Project!

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This past summer, I was finally able to begin the long overdue project of painting the interior¬†of my home. I originally was going to just do the entry and front hallway, but once I started, it was hard to stop. Over the course of about 3 months, I painted¬†our entry & hallway, kitchen, powder room, guest bedroom, living room, music room, boys’ bedroom, girls’ bedroom, family/homeschool room, sunroom, and most of the laundry room.¬†While it took lots of time and effort, the results are¬†very exciting.

And I have to give a big thanks to a talented friend of mine who gave me paint color advice, decorating inspiration, and encouragement to keep going. I could never have done it without her. I have never had a decorating bone in my body, but this friend is teaching me, and I think I might actually be learning a little bit! My husband and children also helped out with painting ceilings, taping molding, and cutting in. Also, my dad so kindley changed out several light fixtures for us. I am so thankful for all the help, everyone!

Here are some before and after photos from a few of the rooms:

Entryway

This was the first space I painted and I had no idea¬†what color to paint it. The walls of the whole house were a grayish shade of white, so I wanted COLOR! Around the time I was thinking about what color to use, I visited a very dear¬†friend’s home and just¬†loved¬†the green color that was in her hallway. I never would have chosen green on my own, but this color has been lovely.¬†I painted the inside of the front door white and also¬†changed out the gold color light fixture for a brushed nickel one. (Thanks, Dad!) The difference is subtle in the picture, but it has made a huge difference in the entry area of my¬†home.

Before:

Entryway Before

 

After!

Entryway After

Guest¬†Room —-> Music/Reading Room:

We made lots of changes here! This is the room that you see straight ahead when you walk in the front door. I always thought it was a little funny for that to be a bedroom, so we’ve changed it into a room for piano playing and a quiet spot for reading.

I painted the walls a soft yellow and changed out the brass/wood ceiling fan for a simple white one. I used the bedspread (duvet cover) that you see on the bed in the “before”¬†picture to make the curtains you see in the “after” picture.¬†We found a good home for the cherry bedroom furniture. It was in good condition, but it’s just not at all my style. Then we moved in two items that we already own: a piano that had been in the living room and an old red loveseat that we’ve had for years. (Actually, that red loveseat was my great-grandmother’s!)

Before:

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After!

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Kitchen:

The kitchen is such a high-traffic area, that it was badly in need of a fresh coat of paint. I painted the kitchen a serene blue color, changed out the gold colored light fixture for a brushed nickel¬†one, and put up curtains instead of vertical blinds. (I also cleared off the counter for the “after” photo! ūüėČ )

Before:    

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 After:

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So this year I’m¬†planning¬†to paint my bedroom, but that’s not the BIG PROJECT for 2015. I’ll let you know what that is soon!

So did you have any big projects you worked on in 2014? I’d love for you to comment and let me know!

Blessings,

Noel ūüôā

Deceptive Darkness … One True Light

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I want to share a quick thought about a recent sermon I heard at my church.

The sermon was called I Have Come as a Light to the World  and it was about how Jesus is the one true Light.

It got me thinking …

Some kinds of darkness are painfully easy to see: murder, mayhem, violence. These are obviously all darkness.

But what about the darkness that seems like light, but really isn’t? What if there’s a darkness that looks like light, so you don’t even know to be alarmed?

You see, if we center our lives on morality, we are in darkness. If we seek to be right before God in our own strength, we are in darkness. The only true center for our lives is Jesus Christ. I think it’s easy to think that what we should be¬†seeking is doing good, but that’s not the ultimate goal. Seeking Christ is the ultimate goal, and resting in His good. (And doing good should¬†then flow¬†from a heart of thankfulness for His work, and not from a heart seeking justification by doing those good things.)

I recently read The Reason for God by Pastor Tim Keller, and he talks about how true Christianity, while it can be called a religion, is really different from every other religion, and why the solution has to be Jesus:

The answer is that there is a profound and fundamental difference between the way that other religions tell us to seek salvation and the way described in the gospel of Jesus. All the other major faiths have founders who are teachers that show the way to salvation. Only Jesus claimed to actually¬†be¬†the way of salvation himself. This difference is so great that, even though Christianity can certainly be called a religion in the broader sense, for the purposes of discussion we will use the term “religion” in this chapter to refer to “salvation through moral effort” and “gospel” to refer to “salvation through grace.”

Is it possible that you are falling into the trap of “salvation through moral effort”¬†to make you right with God, instead of “salvation through grace”? Abandon all to him! Only Christ’s goodness will save!

I heartily recommend The Reason for God for believers and skeptics alike. Keller takes on the doubts people have about faith with kindness and integrity. Another book I heartily recommend, that may help with seeing the true Light, is The Prodigal God, also by Tim Keller.

Please feel free to contact me and/or comment to continue this dialogue. ¬†If there is one thing that’s important in this new year, it’s trusting in Christ, and Him alone.¬†I want you to know Jesus, the one true Light!

Jesus said:

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”

John 6:37

 

May your New Year be full of family, friends, but mostly Him!

Blessings to you,

Noel ūüôā

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10 Minute Evening Energy Boost … or How to Not Fall Asleep on the Couch!

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I am a morning person. I love getting up at 5 A.M. However, I am NOT a night person. Not even an afternoon person, really. As I type this at 8:09 P.M., I’m seriously considering hitting the hay soon.

In the summer months, evenings aren’t too bad for me. After dinner, I’ve always got a little energy left to get me through to bedtime. But in the past month or two, as it’s been getting darker earlier, I’ve been SO TIRED after dinner. As in, “I can’t stay awake past 6 P.M.” tired. Well, maybe not that bad, but I did actually go to bed at 7 P.M. one night!

It didn’t take long for me to determine that this winter was going to be a real struggle if I couldn’t stay awake in the evening. So, time to brainstorm some solutions. Coffee wouldn’t work this time of day if I wanted to¬†ever get to sleep. I racked my brain … then, BINGO! Exercise!

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I’ve been exercising early some¬†mornings, just for 10-15 minutes or so, but had been having trouble fitting it in. Exercise really energizes me, and I considered what would happen if I moved my exercise to after dinner.

So, I¬†tried it!¬†After dinner each day, I pop in an exercise video for about 10 minutes and the results have been remarkable. My energy level has been so much better in the evening! And the best part is that I’m not talking about a long exercise session; I’m talking about 10 minutes of exercise, maybe 15. My awesome husband has been supporting me in my efforts by cleaning up dinner with my children while I do a quick workout.

Here are some of my favorite exercise DVDs to give you some ideas:

1. Dance with Me Cardio Fit  by Billy Blanks Jr.

This is my new go-to DVD right now. It has three different 12 minute sections, so I just choose one and off I go. Very fun! (Edited to add: The first of the three workouts on this DVD is just not my style, so I don’t do that one. But the last two are so fun that it makes up for the one I don’t care for.)

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2. Kick Start Your Metabolism by Chris Freytag

This DVD has been a friend for a year or so. I love kickboxing, and this DVD is a great starting place. The best part? One of the workout sections (my favorite!) is only 8 minutes long! Just that little bit is so energizing.

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3. T-Tapp’s Basic Workout Plus by Theresa Tapp

This DVD is an old friend. I think I started T-Tapping 5 years ago. This Basic Workout Plus video is only 15 minutes and really does a great job of toning your whole body with no equipment or weights needed. (Their Total Workout is great too, but that’s 50 minutes long. Broken into smaller sections, it can still fit the bill for a quick, energizing workout.)

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There are so many other options for a quick exercise session too; I just happen to like the convenience of exercise videos. A quick walk or jog, rebounding, dancing to music you love, etc. There’s really something for everyone. And just think, if you do something inside with your children around, they can enjoy watching you flub up the steps … oh, maybe that’s just me!

So, what do you think? Will you¬†give it a try? Now before you say you don’t have time for a ten minute exercise session, think about if you manage to have time to browse the web for at least 10 minutes each evening. (Ouch, I know!)

Let me know if a quick burst of exercise energizes you too! I love reading your comments!

And if you’re a night owl, maybe a quick workout would be just what you need to get going in the morning.

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Blessings,

Noel ūüôā

P.S. The links in this post are NOT affiliate links.

A beginning …

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Well, hello!

This is my very first blog post! My hopes for this blog are to chronicle some family adventures, write about projects I’m working on, and¬†also to share things I’m learning in various realms of my life.

A little bit about me:

I am a follower of Christ, a wife to my kind husband, a mother of 5 creative and energetic children whom I homeschool, and a violinist (at least when I manage to grab a moment to practice).

I also love getting things done. However, ¬†it is unbelievably challenging to try and accomplish anything other than the essentials in this season of my life. But I’m trying to focus on one or two projects at a time so I can make some progress in areas that will yield the most reward in time saved. My ultimate goal is to help things to run more smoothly so I have more time to focus on my family each day.

My desire is certainly to make progress in these tangible areas, but most¬†importantly, to keep my focus on what’s important: LOVE. I want to be willing to drop whatever I’m doing at any moment to serve another and not allow my project de jour to ever take top priority:

Love God.

Love others.

More than anything else in this world.

So simple … yet so impossible without His grace and forgiveness.

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We’ll see where this blog goes. I hope it can be an encouragement to you. I’d love to read¬†your comments!

Blessings,

Noel ūüôā