Summer Kids Scramble

I am so glad that years ago I decided that it was too painful to try to start school back up again from taking the summer off, so my kids go year round with school.  They do not have some of their regular activities during summer so it is somewhat of a break for all of us.  Other kids think that we are cruel to our kids.  But really we try to stay pretty relaxed year round so nothing cruel there.  Also, I’m now holding fast to the idea that since for the rest of their adult life before retirement, they will not get such a long break (unless they become teachers), they shouldn’t get used to expecting freedom that they will eventually lose.  Now that would be cruel.

Talking to other parents, it’s crazy seeing the scramble to find activities to keep the kids occupied during summer especially considering some of the costs involved.  Wow!  No wonder people want to push for year round school.

I could understand in cases where both parents need to go to work that their kids do need some supervision, but for those kids whose parent(s) are home it’s great to just let them be bored for a time.  Remove all electronics, let them get into some trouble (okay it’s more painful for the parents), but like my mom, the child development psychologist always says, let the kids be bored because that’s when they learn to use their creative juices.  Stop doing all the scrambling and structuring their lives for them.  Instead, let them truly explore.  And summer is such a good time for the kiddos to get into extended fun on their own.

Earning true love?

I know often times I fall into the trap that I need to earn love. It’s really hard for me just to sit back and simply enjoy being loved. I think often we want to feel like though we have earned the things in our lives. But if we had earned love, would it still be true love or would it be conditional love that we can lose once we stop trying to earn it.  Then of what worth are those love?

It’s funny that we really do seek true love, but then think that we need to earn it.  Recently I wanted to make a difference for our family and especially for Mark, instead I made a huge mess of things and set things back.  I felt so bad but it was really wonderful to be reminded by Mark that he loves me no matter what.  It’s not what I do but who I am that matters to him.  It’s really comforting to know that I can make a whole bunch of dumb decisions but still be loved.  I’m so glad that is the case.  But oh how often and how quickly I forget it.

It was also a very good reminder that God is even more so with us.  So often we think we can earn God’s love, in reality we really make a muck of things more often than we “help” God, but he still loves us no matter what.  It’s not an excuse to continue to sin, but it’s also really reassuring that once adopted, I will always be a beloved child of God.

I don’t think I’ll ever truly learn this lesson this side of heaven, but in the mean time, I will ask God to enable me to sit back and enjoy the love that is in my life, from Mark, from my kids, from my friends, and especially from God without trying to “earn” them.  And instead of focus on what is lacking since all human interactions are imperfect, that God would cause me to be thankful for all the wonderful people that He has surrounded me with.

Happy Father’s Day

Don’t forget to call your dad and wish him a happy Father’s day. Dads are special and are so important to the development of their kids. Also, encourage a father to do his best. They need lots of encouragement to carry on.

Paper shadow box

What do you get when you cross Pinterest diy paper crafts with an ex-computer geek.  You get variable 3D shadow box templates.  It’s great being able to explore different areas of interest.  Now I’m looking for  a way to make my solution available to others in an user friendly way.  That’s always the trick right?

Always stay engaged.  Life is never boring and even the oddest combinations could result in something wonderful.  What are the things you are or have been interested in?  Take a step today and to become more engaged in the pursuit you never know what awaits you around the corner.  Yes, I never thought that my love of craft and computer programming would come together.

May I Come In?

We always laugh that our dog shows differing levels of desire to come in and they are indicated by her body position.  There’s sitting by the door, sitting by the door looking in, lying down and the different levels of one paw on the step, one paw and a snout and most seriously, both paws, the snout, plus the wag which increases in speed as we approach the door.  And when she finally comes in, she just wants lots of love from us.

I just finished the Cat and Dog Theology DVD series with our youth Sunday school and it’s just such a reminder that instead of striving to be good enough or to do enough or whatever else  to gain God’s pleasure.  I just need to be like my dog to be happy and excited to be with my Master and be happy to let God work through me and rejoice in His success and see His glory being revealed through me.  And to remember sometimes I’m an even bigger klutz than my dog.  When she comes in and knocks over everything in sight, I still love her in spite of all the stupid things she does.  And certainly God loves me in spite of all the childish antics that I may be up to at the moment.  I’m happy today.  I am in His good hands.

Broken board print

I remember reading up on transferring photos to wood in posts such as this.

Wouldn’t it be cool to have this done with the broken boards from testing?  Transfer the photo of the break onto the broken board.  Once done, then secure the gap in the break and hang the board.  Hum.  I think I will give it a try.  We certainly have enough broken boards lying around the house.  Unfortunately, I don’t think any of us knows which board belongs to whom.

After thinking about it yesterday, I stopped by Hobby Lobby and bought some Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium and tried it.  Put down an even layer of the medium and carefully laid a reverse print from the laser printer right on top of the image.  Unfortunately, I’m still trying to get into the habit of taking pictures of the things that I do, so there’s no photo of the process.  After waiting overnight (I was being good), I was able to get much of the paper off by rubbing with wet fingers and yes, had to practice patience between rubbings which was not always successful.

I have not secured the gap  but I figure couple metal strips and liquid nail should work.  Nor have I put a hanger in the back.  But looking at this sample, I think next time I’ll leave the bottom blank and probably add some words on the bottom or maybe an engraved metal tag commemorating the event.

I think this will work fine.  Will definitely explore more in the future.

Crafting makes me happy…

Pop explosion

Did you know that if you leave a soda can in the freezer it can “explode?”  Well, I knew from a number of first hand experiences.  Have I learned?  But this one is very impressive.  The whole can was split open.  Oh I need to stop being so absent minded.

I’m sure there is some lesson here to be learned and the “teacher” in me is dying to make some philosophical point, but I’m too tired right now and I need my caffeine, just not from this can.

UpNaaman Twist pop up card

It’s VBS craft time.  Today I made  a prototype for the craft for the Naaman lesson.  I based it off the twist pop-up cards.  There are lots of tutorials online if there’s some confusion as to what needs to be done.  I’ll include my template for the card.

Naaman in water with leprosy spots.
Open the bottom flap, and Naaman is clean.
Open the top part of the card and it’s a cross.

Okay, this look quite primitive, but as I mentioned, this is just a prototype for test of concept.  Hope this is something that you can use.

Here are the instructions:

Materials needed:
3 pieces of card stock (double sided printing needed)
1 sheet protector cut to 3-1/2″ x 4″
glue stick
double stick tape
1 red permanent marker
markers or stickers to finish decorating the card

1. Print the template onto the card stock, makes sure that the back of the person is blank.
2. Fold along the dotted lines as directed (valley/mountain folds). I usually like to score the paper first and the easiest way is just to trace the lines using a straight edge. This helps a lot with the actual folding process.
3. Take the piece with the word “glue” on it and fold it according to direction and it should look like this when you are done.

4. Put glue on the triangle parts and center it on the card. The side should line up and the tip of the triangle should be at the fold line. Close the card to finish gluing.
5. Open the card and put glue in the squares that says glue.
6. Lay the word strip “Nothing but the blood of Jesus” over the the glue parts and affix.
7. Close the card.
8. Cut the sheet protector apart to get a 3-1/2″ x 4″ piece.
9. Align the piece of plastic with the top of the card.
10. Put a piece of double sided tape below the words “What can wash away my sin?”.
11. Close the bottom flap to affix the bottom flap to the plastic.
12. Put some red dots on the plastic piece over Naaman to show his leprosy.
13. I just drew in some blue waves for the water as a quick illustration (remember prototype only).  You could get really fancy with this part.  Color and decorate the card.

Download the template here.

Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

Life gets busy and though I like to bake and do some cooking, eating is just not at the top of our family’s priority list, other than don’t starve.  So I gravitate towards recipes that are quick and simple and can feed a crowd if necessary.  BBQ pulled pork certainly fills that bill.  I start it before we get going in the morning.  Come home, finish the prep add some cole slaw and relax a bit before eating.  Also, the great thing is that I freeze whatever is left over in individual serving sizes so they become a quick meal just by popping it in the microwave.  So usually I go for the big hunk of meat that would fit into my crockpot and I’ve done this with or without the bone.

For this, i really am not exact about what I’m putting in as it pretty much is just a reflection of the BBQ sauce that I put in.

Print Recipe
Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 hrs
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 hrs
  1. Put pork in your crock pot fat side up.
  2. Put onions on top.
  3. Cover the crock pot and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  4. Take out the pork and shred with two forks or whatever your favorite method, while adding BBQ sauce to taste. If the pork seems too dry, add some liquid from the crock pot.
  5. Discard the rest of the liquid from the crock pot.
  6. Return the shredded pork to the crock pot and cook for 1 hour on low. I've also cooked the pork overnight, prepped it in the morning and just kept it on warm for lunch time events.
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Effective “multitasking”

How many times have you heard that multitasking does not work.  And I totally agree, if the person tries to read text, talk on the phone, type on the computer, eat dinner, and watch their favorite show all at the same time the mind cannot effectively process everything.  The interesting thing is that our brain only have 2 at most 3 short term memory slots and each time we switch tasks, there needs to be a context switch of those slots.  It’s like sometimes when the computer slows way down because it keeps trying to pull things from the disk for different tasks.

But there’s a time to be effective with the idea of accomplishing multiple things in a given period of time if we at least mentally anticipate dead times where they can be filled with other tasks.  I used to stand around and wait for the pot to boil when I plan on making noodles.  Now was that really necessary?  Okay, if it’s things that I don’t want to boil over like making candies where I don’t want the content of the pot to go past certain temperature, of course then I need to be close by, but does it need my full attention especially when I have a digital thermometer that would beep when a certain temperature is reached.  So if I planned ahead, I can leave the dishes until I’m making the candies.  While the syrup is cooking, I can get the dishes done.  But if I don’t think ahead, I may have already spent the time putting the dishes away and got everything else in the kitchen done, in which case I will need to hang around the kitchen with nothing to do.  Or the other thing is when you go on errands, can you attach multiple errands to the same trip and plan the timing accordingly.

All these things takes planning and eventually with enough practice that at least some combinations of tasks become more natural.  I think this is the effective form of multi-tasking.  So next time before you start a task that you’d like to do as part of multitasking, think ahead and ask if there are actual dead time in what you are planning to do.  If not, put away the cell phone and remove whatever other distractions (pomodoro technique).  Otherwise, think ahead as to what can fit into those dead times and be disciplined enough to pull yourself away in time,  instead of just responding to everything as they happen around you and do the first thing that comes to mind.  Now, that’s the only way to be truly effective with “multitasking.”