3 free family schedule printables for summer

We're only a few days away from summer, and you know I'm excited for the change of pace. :) I made a new printable summer schedule for the older kids, and I thought I would share it with you too! I intend to either frame it or put it on the fridge this weekend! {Yay!!!} :D

Or if you need to change it up for your family, here's the blank copy too. :D 

Oh, and here is our summer schedule from last year- it has a few differences since we had younger kiddos, but you're welcome to download it too! :)

Do you keep a routine in the summer? 
The kids love it when we do, especially now that they can read and I don't have to tell them.

What is one thing you really want your family to remember about this summer? :)
I want them to remember how their mama played with them and wasn't too busy to sit outside and watch them. :)

What's your favorite summer memory?
I remember reading on our porch swing for hours when I was a girl. :) My dad saved the old porch swing and I hope to use the very same swing this summer too. :D

would you be willing to tell your friend they have cancer?

Imagine someone tells you you need chemotherapy. And that this life-saving chemotherapy is going to heal you.

But you have no idea that you have cancer. 

Would you let them give you the IV?

Would you take a medicine with the side effects of losing all your hair, and having extreme nausea, weakness, or possibly even worse symptoms if you had no reason to?

It would make no sense. Maybe you could try it once, but as soon as you felt the first round of effects you'd quit because there was no reason you'd ever endure that kind of suffering for no purpose.

That's what happens when we present the message of salvation without acknowledging our sin and guilt.

A gospel that doesn't show us our sin and sentence is not the whole Gospel.

We cannot neglect the truth of God's Word: we have all sinned. And whoever does not believe is condemned already. John 3:18

None of us our righteous- no, not even one. Romans 3:10

Yet when you go out and meet a stranger and ask them what they think will happen when they die, almost all of them say they will go to Heaven. Everyone thinks that they are good enough to go to Heaven because they are good people.

They have no idea whatsoever that they are sick.

The Great Physician is useless to them, because they have no idea that they have terminal cancer.

If only they knew:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23

and that:

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36

If you knew that you were destined to die because of the cancer you brought upon yourself, you would understand that you desperately needed the medicine to live, and you probably wouldn't hesitate to take it. You would be thankful someone told you before it was too late!

The short term effects of the chemo would be worth the end result, and you would be grateful for the chance to be healed, wouldn't you? If you didn't believe you were truly sick, you'd never feel the need to be healed.

Jesus came to heal the sick, not those who are well.

And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17

He came to bring good news to those who are poor, brokenhearted, and in captivity.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; {Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18}

But please listen- if you don't know you have a need for a Savior, you are lost. 

15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 

19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. Revelation 3

Realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked on your own is necessary to understanding what your Savior has done for you. You must understand you are naked so that you realize you need clothing!

To pretend that we are something when we are nothing is a fool's game.

For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Galatians 6:3

To avoid telling people they have sinned against God is to lead them straight to Hell. To not tell them of their sin is to not tell them they have cancer and will die.

We cannot neglect to share the whole Gospel. The truth is that you and I both have gravely sinned against God, and His wrath abides on us because we have broken His law. We have lied, stolen, coveted, hated, and set up idols of worship in place of the one true and living God.

And we will stand before Him in judgment. There is no question that we must all give an account to God. {2 Cor. 5:10}

The question is, will Jesus take your place on that day, or will you stand condemned because you didn't believe? He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes unto the Father except by Him. {John 14:6} He stood in our place- He took our punishment, so that we could live. The Father's will was to crush Him so that we could be saved:

Isaiah 53:
10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall seei and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Why did Jesus die?

To bear our iniquity. To bear our sin- the righteous one died to make many be accounted righteous!

4Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53

His crushing was necessary because we sinned against the Holy God.

But praise the LORD, by his wounds we are healed!!! By taking our punishment, He brought us peace with God!!!

Though He was perfect, He willingly laid down His life as the sinners deserved and satisfied the legal requirement of death because of sin. Because of OUR sin. He fulfilled the law, and defeated death itself.

And that is the Good News, my friends!!!

That's what the world needs to know- there is only one way to be saved, and it is through the name of Jesus.

12And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among menc by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

Do the people in your life know this? Your friends, your co-workers, your family? Do they know they  are sick and wretched because they have sinned against the Holy God, and that they are condemned if they do not repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?

That's what we are called to share. And we cannot wait another day to obey the Lord's command:

15And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:15

It is more important that they know the painful truth than they perish without the knowledge they were ever sick.

We must love them more than we love what they think of us. WE must love them enough to tell the truth, and we have faith in the Lord enough to obey His command.

We must share the whole truth with them, so that they too can be saved from the wrath of God.

When I fear to share the whole truth, I have to remember- 

In the end, what they think of me means nothing, but what they think of Christ means EVERYTHING.

He is the Good News of the Gospel.

He alone can heal us.

He alone can save us from the wrath of God we deserve.

the long {almost summer} weekend of firsts

You can tell a new season is close upon us- we had so many firsts of the year over the last week! :D

The very first jump in the pool:

The first calling in of the husband to come and kill the bug... {also the first gigantic millipede I've ever seen in the house- that thing was massive!}:

The first time I've cleaned out this drawer in years:

Oh my, it was so sad- I ended up regretting all that cleaning effort yesterday. ;) I found those old potholders from our wedding shower in the back and put them in the front of the drawer again- I forgot they had thin spots. :( Thin potholders= burned hands= dropped all the tater tots in the oven= lots fell in the holes= I can't cook until we unscrew the oven bottom and clean it= no pre-made food today... :( Sandwiches may be all we get to eat for dinner. :P 

Speaking of food- we also had our first summer batch of veggies yesterday:

For dinner last night, we had turkey burgers and lots of veggies, and a few of those oven-bottom tater tots: ;)

Thankfully, my dad came over too. It's always way more fun to share good food. :)

I must be nursing that man-baby even more because I'm suddenly starving all the time. Give me food. I think I'm still hungry from last night. Is it weird that I really crave bread and butter and avocado right now? And meat. I need lots of meat. :) He weighs around 24 lbs. now, and is still mostly nursing so I guess that may be why I'm ravenous all the time?  

I was so glad for the extra day off yesterday. I got the chance to make a few extra meals last night with my good hand while I cooked the turkey burgers. :)

We've actually enjoyed lots of good food these last few days- these pizzas kicked off the weekend. Cream cheese makes a very good base for garlic veggie pizza {fat...mmmm! hahaha}:

Another first-we hunted down this baby's very first ride-on toy:

{Did you know that Toys R' Us will price match Amazon? I didn't, but I was thankful they did! :)}

If I can remember correctly, I think we also had our very first trail hike with Zaner this weekend:

Once we found the wide path, they were off to see the wizard. ;)

I sure do love these munchkins.

Today we're back to school and fitness classes and life as usual. :) Only a few more days, right? That long weekend was a bit of a tease. ;)

We can do this, can't we? Yes or yes?

Just a handful of days to go. I'm ready.

But first I'm going to go find something to eat. ;)

How many more days until summer starts for you?
One more week for us. I'm excited. :)

Have you been swimming yet? How do you decide when to go?
I sure didn't, but the children have twice now already! :P I like to feel like I'm burning before I get in the water. Anything less is freezing.  :)

10 things I'm loving right now

10 things I'm loving right now in two words each:

1. This face.

2. Sight words.

3. Mess makers. :)

4. Caramel heaven.

5. Easy dinners.

6. Passion tea.

7.  Summer dresses.

8. Savory snacks.

9. Dried apples.

10. Brotherly love. :)

What are you loving right now? :D

Have you tried those garlic parmesan pretzels? Crazy good, aren't they?  :)

Are you happy for dress weather too? 
It's the first time I've worn one all year, and I was surprised how much my husband liked it. :D

it couldn't have been better than this

If there were a way to choose the weather, I would pick this weekend's perfect temperature, lovely slight breeze, and gorgeous blue days. It was the best weather Texas could ever offer. :)

May, I might be in love with you.

We had a very outdoor sort of weekend. We drove around after dinner on Friday evening, and found this gem of a lake just in time for sunset. 

Who knew a pond could be so lovely in the spring? :)

The fish were biting. We need to remember the kids' fishing poles the next time we go because the fish were EVERYWHERE.

 I threw a flower in the water and look what happened:

God's creation is too crazy. The fish know what to do. The birds know what to do. The plants know what to do when the sun comes out. I'm amazed by our Creator.

Even the bunnies came out on the trail to show us His handiwork- this little guy wasn't afraid of us at all: 

I needed this Vitamin D big time:

We went to the park after church and lunch yesterday. We're determined to take in as much of this weather as we can. :D

The kids worked out doing hills and trails. I love their little red faces {which they totally get from their mama. I turn bright red when I'm working hard too! :P}:

While the kids played, I pushed the Zaner:

And blessing upon blessing? Free blackberries on the trail! {my favorite berry, by a landslide}.

And we finished the day with an outdoor dinner at our very favorite place:

I looked at Rob after we ate dinner and we agreed: we didn't know how it could get better than this while we're on this earth. :)

Oh, such joy I felt these last few days! I think the Lord must have known what I needed. I'm always amazed how His word is proven at every turn.

I saw His proverb come true for me this weekend: a joyful heart was good medicine.

How was your weekend? Is your May going well?

If you could choose the perfect weather what would you choose?
Hawaii. :P And if in Texas, this weekend.

a huge thrifting score {that I'm still swooning over}

Every spring and fall in East Texas, this magical thrifting goodness called the CCC sale happens:

The sale is four days of shopping in a convention center full to the brim of children's clothing and toys, with a little furniture and maternity clothing thrown in for good measure. :) It's kind of like going to Goodwill with only the better stuff to choose from {most of the time, anyway!}.

When Abbie scored free preview passes to this year's spring sale and texted me to see if I wanted to go, I think I responded with "Oh, yes" followed by multiple exclamation points. {I sometimes wonder if I speak in exclamatory sentences as much as I write in them. :) Had she called me, I know I would have this time!}

You know I brought my shopping cart along for this one. :)

In case you ever wondered, this is what the cart of two die-hard thrifters with 10 children between them looks like after 1.5 hours of thrifting:

Don't worry, we didn't keep all of it. ;) We always follow thrifting tip #5 I shared in my thrifting series: if in doubt, grab it anyway. {note: this is directly in oppostion to the rules of shopping at Target: "if in doubt, keep it out..."} :P

We went through our cart before the night ended and sorted that mountain down to our favorite items.
Here were a few of my winners:

1. Two matching Gymboree dresses, $7, and $10. These were from different people, but by some random chance, I found both of them in the girls' sizes. It was probably more than I would normally pay, but these were too adorable to pass up. :)

2. A fun Old Navy rugby stripe top, I think it was $3, but I can't remember for sure now. It was cheaper than GW, anyway! :)

AND my favorite find of the whole night?

3. This Ballard Designs banker's chair for....


It wasn't exactly a Goodwill price, but we had been shopping for an office chair like this one and I knew at Pottery Barn they run $400! :D

This one was marked Pottery Barn by the owner on the tag, but when we were loading it in the car, I noticed it said Ballard Designs {which is usually more expensive than PB, so it was a good thing!}. :)

I also found a couple of other items I might get to show you later if I can get around to wearing them, and I have a few bargains to pass on to you guys of higher-end clothing that I found too {so keep an eye out!}.

Have you had any luck with big sales like this one? What did you think?
I've heard ours is very good! :)

Where do you like to find your desk chairs? 
My previous best score was $8 from GW, but it was one of those nasty but comfortable antique chairs that broke after a couple of years. We've had to buy a couple of new ones recently because Craigslist prices have been pretty outrageous these days. 

Do you own your own shopping cart too? {heheh!}
I found mine at Goodwill for $5! :)

getting through the valleys of motherhood

I've sort of mentioned it before {and hinted at it yesterday}, but these last months have been pretty tough for me. I'm ready for homeschooling to be over, but we have a couple more weeks left before we change routines and leave behind the lessons for the summer. Just two more weeks. {we can do this, we can do this.}

I'm so ready for a change. The last few months have been exhausting with the baby {and me} not sleeping much at night. It's been a struggle, and even though you know it's going to end, it's still just kind of a hard season, you know? 

If I can remember, there have been at least three periods of major mothering struggle in my life that really stand out in my mind. The first was when I had two children: 18-month and 3-year-old boys; the second period was when I had four: a 5.5, 4, 2, and 3 month old and started full-time homeschooling for the first time; and then the third time has been these last five months of being a homeschooling mama with a 10, 9, 6, 4, and a baby. 

If there's one thing I've learned with five kiddos, it's that some seasons in motherhood are just rough. You feel like you might not survive it at all. You even wonder how you ever thought you could do it in the first place.

You feel like you must have some kind of a blindfold on, because you surely can't see out of this valley. It feels like it's going to be dark from now on. It's there I'm finding you just have to trust that He knows you, and He knows every one of your weaknesses and failures, and that He still has a good plan for you and your little ones. {Even when you can't seem to be patient enough, get up early enough, keep up with the housework, or get ahead on anything, ever...}

He is there with you in the mess of it all, and you can always trust Him to accomplish what He wills.  Sometimes it's supposed to be tough so that you will learn to trust Him- to keep obeying, to keep following Him even when you're in the thick of it and can't see the end result. You may not know what will happen, but you can always know that God is good. He can be nothing less.

As difficult as it is to go through sometimes, it's right there in the valley that you realize this: while the Lord won't always take away the harder times of motherhood, He will always be there to walk with you through them. 

You will make it through the valley, and you will never be alone.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

a special weekend away for Mother's Day

How was your Mother's Day weekend? :)

My gift for Mother's Day was a weekend night away with the kids. :) On Saturday, they took me to my favorite shops and they were all on their very best behavior: 

I usually go there just to browse around Anthro's ridiculously beautiful displays, but this time I ended up with a new volcano candle since my birthday one ran out long ago. :) Do you see the sign in this pic? They actually had 15% off for the ladies this weekend! {score!}

They did very well in the store, and we were all ready to go eat dinner after that excursion! :) It's always a challenge to feed our crew when we go out, so when we spotted a Fuddruckers on the way to our little rental, we knew we had to stop. :) 

It turns out, the 15% off my beloved candle was just the beginning of good things. :) We enjoyed lots of freebies this weekend! I loved having breakfast made for us for free with our stay at the suite/apartment/hotel thing- these scrambled eggs were amazing:

Our kids get the biggest kick out of buffets. :) They're pretty much in heaven when they get to pick whatever they want to eat.

The staff there even handed out Mother's Day chocolate at breakfast. :) They know how to speak a mother's language, I tell you. Even Zaner was eating fresh hash browns and loving it:

After breakfast, we were ready to go home {the baby didn't get the memo that mama would like to sleep for Mother's Day}, so we headed out for home, and on the way I had a chance to go here with this:

I haven't had Starbucks in the morning in forever. It was... very pleasant. ;) Like Anthro, I didn't need anything there but it was fun to shop around. {They are like the cheap version of Anthropologie in my mind!} I did find this super cute deep colander that we could use. We also stopped at GW {Goodwill} on the way home and I found a couple of items I hope to tell you about later on this week. :)

We finished out the weekend grocery shopping at Costco, and having a late night dinner using a gift certificate we had to Texas Roadhouse. It was a very full two days of special things. :)

Today, it's back to regular life, and the last couple of weeks of homeschooling are still ahead of us. 

I'm so thankful for a weekend away before we fight through the rest of May homeschooling. ;) It's getting easier and harder all at the same time. {more on that later too- !! :P}

How was your weekend?