Cute Little Monsters

Jaden turned 5 way back in May, and in honor of that great event, we threw a friend party!

I told Luke that I would not go all Pinterest crazy with this party, since we had other things on our plate, too. (Luke was gone on a business trip the whole week leading up to the party, and I was in the throes of writing our Base Camp curriculum.) But when I started making little monsters, it was just SO FUN! It was hard to stop! :-)

I spent part of that week up north at my parents’ house, so my little sis Alonna helped dream up the monsters’ faces on the treat bags and plushies…especially the eyebrows and mouths. They’re so cute, they make me squeal!

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Then my awesome friend Amber drew the chalkboard sign for the front porch. She is totally hired for all of my kids’ future parties.

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It takes a village, friends.

The photos will speak louder than my words, so I will stop talking and start uploading…

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The "Make a funny monster face!" station

The “Make a funny monster face!” station

The boys with their funny monster faces

The boys with their funny monster faces

The "Draw a monster!" station

The “Draw a monster!” station

You guessed it - the "Decorate a monster cookie!" station, with sugar cookies, frosting, eyes, lips, etc.

You guessed it – the “Decorate a monster cookie!” station, with sugar cookies, frosting, eyes, lips, etc.

D with his monster cookie

D with his monster cookie

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The "Adopt a Monster" station, with monster plushies that I created with felt

The “Adopt a Monster” station, with monster plushies that I created with felt

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Alonna gets the credit for the awesome hair on this guy.

Alonna gets the credit for the awesome hair on this guy.

Party balloons!

Party balloons!

Monstrous fruit!

Monstrous fruit!

Monster eyes (i.e. chocolate-covered marshmallows)

Monster eyes (i.e. chocolate-covered marshmallows)

Monster cake!

Monster cake!

The Birthday Boy!

The Birthday Boy!

Outdoor games made the day complete!

Outdoor games made the day complete!

We are thankful for our 5-year-old boy, who makes us laugh often. He’s a delightful part of our family.

Can you tell?

Happy birthday, Lil' Mario!

Happy birthday, Lil’ Mario!

Budapest or bust!

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Luke and I have been so very blessed to have the opportunity to participate in two overseas missions trips together: Greece/Italy in 2010 and Bulgaria in 2012. We have been so blown away by the financial and prayer support our family and friends have provided in the past. We’re thankful to serve a God who owns the cattle on 1,000 hills (and the hills themselves). :-)

In less than 6 weeks, we’ll be returning to Europe for a third time, to once again serve ABWE’s CEEMed team. (That stands for Association of Baptists for World Evangelism’s Central and Eastern European and the Mediterranean team. A mouthful for sure!) We will be attending their enrichment conference, where the missionaries from all over the region will gather to be refreshed and rejuvenated for the work that God has given them.

If you have been on Facebook, glanced at a newspaper in the grocery store line, scrolled past the 11 o’clock news on the TV…you probably realize how volatile things are in Central Europe right now, especially in Ukraine.

We will have the great privilege of encouraging the missionaries from Ukraine and other countries (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, etc, etc) to keep fighting the good fight. We are officially there to play worship music, but we also love to get to know the missionaries, to hear their stories and their struggles, to pray with them, and to watch their kiddos for a couple of hours one evening so they can have some free time.

Because this will be our third trip, we have already made relationships with many of these families, and we look forward to having a bit of a reunion with them. What an amazing thing it is to be a part of the family of God, where Jesus binds us all together.

So what can you do? As always, there are two big needs.

The first is always prayer.

We need the hand of God on this trip more than we need our next breath. He is the One who sustains us, watches over us, leads us, and orchestrates the events of our lives to bring Himself glory. Please pray that He will allow us to be a great encouragement to these faithful warriors who are on the front lines of ministry every single day.

The second is financial support.

We just found out last week that we will need to supply around $1700 for this trip. That total is lower than in the past because our awesome church family has already taken an offering to cover some expenses, including airfare and extra baggage costs. (You can imagine how much baggage we have to take, with instruments and sound equipment!)

You can help by donating as much or as little as you feel led to do. We are not salespeople. We will not pressure you into donating, nor will we make you feel guilty for not donating. We are just confident that you will be blessed by putting your oar in the water for this adventure! We’d love for you to get a piece of the joy that we can all experience from serving our great God!

I will have my techie husband put up a PDF of the donation slip Oh look, techie husband has put up the PDF donation slip (to be mailed to our church) and the Paypal donation link (for instant donating, but not tax-deductible). Thanks in advance to anyone who is willing to help in this way!

We look forward to coming back from Budapest with joy in our hearts and a story to tell of the great things God does! We are so happy to serve Him in this way! Thanks for being a part of it!

Tall Kid Problems

It feels like I get 1,000 Children’s Place emails every day. Don’t get me wrong; I love it when they have kids’ jeans for $7 or less, shipped free to my door. It’s awesome.

And that’s exactly what happened in July.

Big sale, 4 kids, 7 pairs of jeans…They came to my door on July 24.

I ordered a size 12 and a size 14 for Grace, hoping that the 12 would last a while and the 14 would be backup for later. The size 12 pair fit her perfectly that day, and she put it in her drawer.

Fast forward to yesterday, exactly 4 weeks later. She comes down wearing jeans, and I ask her if they’re the new size 12’s. Nope, they’re a different pair of 14’s that I’d picked up at a garage sale. She ran upstairs to grab the 12’s and try them on…and yes, they are too short. Already. 4 weeks later.

This child will not stop growing! She’s over 5 feet tall now. We’ll find out next week at her next endocrinology checkup just how far over 5 feet she is now. I’m only 5’7″-ish…it won’t be long before she passes me. And she’s not even 10 yet!

Now my dilemma is what to do with the 12’s. They still have tags and have not been worn. I could exchange them for another 14. Or I could save them for Ava, who is currently hovering between a 7 and 8.

Can any of you relate to my tall child problems? [I know my mom-in-law can, because my 6'4" hubby surely had growth spurts like this!] Any advice you would like to share?

It begins again

Rumley Family Homeschool: Year 6, Day 1

Rumley Family Homeschool: Year 6, Day 1

The older I get, the faster life flies by. I know everyone says that. But there’s a reason everyone says it; it’s because it’s true.

So, when our homeschool year ended nigh unto Memorial Day, the whole glorious summer stretched out before us. I envisioned lazy days on the lawn, reading The Secret Garden to the children and eating picnics in the sun. We would fill our days with trips to Frederik Meijer Gardens and Lake Michigan and my parents’ house.

And here we are, on the very first day of the next school year, and all I can remember of the summer months is painting the living room / kitchen / dining room. And coordinating and enjoying Base Camp. I know there was more, but that is all I can remember in my current state of delirium.

I am now a teacher of four students: 5th grade, 3rd grade, 2nd grade, and kindergarten. I’ve never taught four ages before, so that’s a bit overwhelming. The scheduling of this thing called school is trickier. The amount of curriculum has increased. The older kids will not only have more schoolwork to do for themselves, but they’ll be helping me educate the youngers.

I’m just holding on for dear life until all four of them are fluent readers, and then I expect the load to lighten. I celebrate the fact that I don’t have to wipe their tooshies when they use the bathroom anymore; the next step to independence (theirs) and freedom (mine) is for them to be able to read their own stinking math worksheets. :-)

Our first day didn’t start out quite as I’d planned…I had a late night last night getting ready for our educational debut, instead of going early to bed. I set my alarm for 7am, but was awoken by a barfing child at 6am. I got up to read God’s Word after she fell back asleep, and did read a chapter…and promptly fell asleep in the chair until at least 9am.

Welp, if that’s not a sign of how the year is about to go, I don’t know what is. But I repeat, I am hanging on to the Rock of Ages, and not letting go until my kiddos are God-fearing, Jesus-serving, well-educated, funny, fun, productive members of the church. Ah, scratch that, I won’t be able to let Him go anytime after that either. I’m in it for the long haul.

So here we are, standing at the edge of a new year. Every time I turn around, my kids are learning new things and getting taller and more mature. Why don’t more people talk about how FUN parenting is? Sure, it’s a lot of work, but these little people are just so dadgum delighful.

Now, dear readers, have YOU started school yet? Have your children barfed lately? Did you paint your kitchen this summer? These are all things I would like to have answers to. Tell me!

My Pits

It’s been a slow slide. It started with making more food from scratch.

Then I tried to make handsoap from scratch. (It was the consistency of snot, by the way.)

Then I switched my facial cleanser to olive and castor oil. (LOVE IT.)

face wash

I learned to make homemade bread.

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I made some homemade dishwasher detergent. (FAIL.)

And some laundry detergent. (Success.)

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I started milling my own flour.

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And now.

This latest thing really makes me feel like I’m descending (or maybe ascending?) into hippie-dom.

I made homemade deoderant. For my pits. And I like it.

You can find the recipe here. The only change I made was to substitute peppermint extract for the lime oil. Because it’s what I had.

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Coconut oil, corn starch, baking soda, and essential oil (er, extract).

Super easy to make. And at the end of the day, my underarms still smelled sweet like coconut.

That’s better than Degree ever did!

Now it’s your turn! What natural / whole food / homemade thing should I try next? What have you tried – failures and/or successes?

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