Friday, December 16, 2011

Teddy Bear Day

This week we had "Teddy Bear Day"!

The kids each brought in a teddy bear (They even laughed at me for bringing one too!)

Our Teddy bears sat with us during calendar time and Bible time. 
I laid a blanket on the floor and we had a picnic for snack time.  
We played "Teddy Bear, May I?"... played like "Mother, May I?"
We had a "Bear Foot Race"... I tapped the ends down and cut an x in the front of 4 cereal boxes.  I cut out construction paper bear prints to put on top... the kids put them on their feet and raced walked quickly across the room :)  So fun!

Before the kids left, I had them put their bears to bed, because they were having a "sleep over".

When they got back to Preschool the next morning, the bed was empty and their bears were found around the room eating breakfast, drawing pictures, and playing in the toy area. :)

Oh! and the student who found his bear said to me "No! He didn't do that!" as he snatched the crayon away from the bear.  I worked hard not to laugh out loud. :)

A Preschool Christmas...

I figured it's about time I update you on what is happening in my preschool classroom.  If you are a parent of one of my students you have seen some of these things and some of them you have not. If you read this, you have to promise me that you will act surprised at the things you have not yet seen. Deal?

So... without further ado, I present Christmas in Preschool. 

The Bulletin board. 
It says "Do you know his name?" and then lists the names of Jesus from Isaiah 9:6 which just happens to be the verse we're learning. :) 

The gifts we made for our parents.  We talked about how Christmas isn't just for getting, it's for giving.  So we made something to give.  

These are the gift bags I found at walmart for $.25!  I punched holes in them and I'll tie ribbon through them once the kids put the ornaments in them.  I had them color these cute tags to add a little more of a personal touch {parents love that stuff... or so I'm told ;)}

So, that's what we have for now.  Next week we will have a little birthday party for Jesus and hopefully I'll remember to take pictures and share them.  

Merry Christmas!

Friday, November 18, 2011

What I have learned...

So, I realized that it has been a while since I've written about what God is teaching me.  Then I realized I wouldn't know where to start because it's been a LOT lately. There have been many changes in my life in the last six months {hard to believe it has been that long already!}.  

I graduated from college. 
I got married. 
I moved to Michigan. 
I am teaching Pre-K. 

A few of these changes have been unexpected.  If you know me, you know that I am a planner.  I also am not a fan of big changes.  And I can't say that it has  been an easy transition for me.  But what I've learned is that God is, once again, faithful through it all.  I don't know why I ever forget or doubt that fact.  He has never failed me yet. He isn't going to start now.  He's got things under control. I really don't have to be the one in charge, even though sometimes I think I do.  I've always been told "He's God and we're not." So, I'm learning to "let go and let God".  I'm being flexible and trying my best to just follow {which is not an easy task for an oldest child}.  

I am just glad that no matter where I go in life, God is already there. I don't know what I would do without Him. 

I know that was a little bit of rambling, but it's what is in my heart. 
You might call it an Echo of my Creator. :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds... Our new favorite

Now, before you decide not to read this post because you don't like roasted pumpkin seeds, hear me out.  I am not a pumpkin seed lover.  I remember trying them a few times when I was a kid, but was never a big fan... until now.  

I found this recipe on my new addiction...time-waster...Pinterest (feel free to follow me!).  I was planning on making them and taking them in to my class to let my kiddos try them.  
You can go to the original blog post here.

I started with rinsing my seeds to get most of the pumpkin goop off of them.  Then I drained them and let them dry on paper towels over night. 

They stuck to the paper towel a little bit, but I just peeled them off and put them in a bowl. I had almost 2 cups.  I put all the seeds in a bowl, then mixed the seasonings together.   

3 Tbs butter, melted
2 tsp worcestershire sauce
3 shakes garlic salt (this cracked me up when I read it!)
3 shakes onion powder

*If you are an exact measure kind of person, just let it go for this one recipe :)

Then I poured the mixture over top and stirred until all the seeds were covered.

I preheated the oven to 250 degrees and lined my baking sheet with foil (this made for easy clean-up!). I placed the seeds in an even layer on the baking sheet and popped them in the oven. I stirred them every 20 min and baked them for a little over an hour.  Next time, I'll probably let them go a little longer.  They were not quite as dark as I wanted them. You may need more or less than an hour depending on your oven. 

Here is the finished product. They tasted like chex mix and were delicious!

In just a few hours the bowl looked like this... needless to say, my kids didn't get to try them. oops! ;)

Happy Fall!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Going back to Preschool

I know I sort of dropped off the planet for the last couple months and I will try to fill you in soon... The short story?  

{I got married in May and am now a "MRS"...}   

{My husband and I spent the summer working at camp in Michigan. He also did an internship at a church here too.}

{At the end of the summer, Jerrod became the full-time "Children's Ministry Director", and I became the Preschool Teacher at camp.}  

This brings you basically up to date, and to the reason for my post today... I have never taught Preschool officially (although I've worked with kids of all ages for years!), but so far it has been going pretty well, I think.  My mom has been a HUGE help with ideas and advice, since she is teaching K-3 this year and has experience in K-4 as well.  It is perfect because I have 3 and 4 year olds in my class!  

Here is a little peek at some fun things I've done so far... 

 This is my "seasonal" bulletin board.  I'm planning on changing it throughout the year. This is how we started off the year...

This is what my "seasonal" board looks like now.  The kids made the apples and leaves (yes, I know the leaves are huge).  The paper bag owl in the corner was inspired by my friend at An Aroma of My Savior.  The kids loved making them, and they all turned out adorable wish I could show you all of them!

Well, just thought I'd catch you up on life... I figure if I start somewhere I'll probably get back to doing this a little more, and I'm sure I'll have ideas and funny stories to share this year!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Today is a first for me.  I am going to post my first DIY project recipe.  Today, I'm tackling microwave popcorn!

So as I was surfing my some different blogs today, and I discovered you can make your own microwave popcorn!  Of course, after reading it I just had to try it myself.  I am not a HUGE popcorn lover, but I do enjoy an occasional bowl.  I prefer to have it made in a popper instead of just the store-bought microwaveable bag, so this seemed like it could be a good alternative.  

So, without further ado... 
**drum roll please**
...and in true blogger fashion... 
I bring you Microwave Popcorn! 
Although, a true blogger would post pictures along with the instructions,  I decided my new "friend" Jessica went through all the work of taking pictures I'll just let you see hers here. :)

Here is what you need: olive oil, popcorn kernels, brown paper bag, toppings

1. place 1/4 to 1/2 cup of popcorn in a paper bag
2. add 1/2 to 1 tbs of olive oil to bag and shake it up
3. fold over the top of the bag a couple times
4. place in the microwave for about 2 minutes
5. pour into a bowl and add your toppings of choice

Voila! Popcorn!

I tested it out and had fun doing it!  I think it would be a fun thing to do with kids too.  

Here are a couple things I learned... 

1. I think 1/3 cup of popcorn would work best with the size of the paper bag. I did 1/2 cup and it was very full.  
2. I used 1/2 Tbs of oil, and it worked well. You could also make it without the oil, but then you miss out on the fun of shaking the bag! :) 
3. I cooked mine for less than 2 min and a few kernels were burned in the middle, but 95% of it was perfect!
4. Toppings... There are so many different things you could use.  I used parmesan cheese and a little bit of salt.  Some other ideas: butter and salt, dry  ranch dressing mix, m&m's, craisins, powdered cheese topping, garlic, cinnamon sugar, seasoned salt, taco seasoning, and I've even heard of lemon or lime juice (haven't tried that one yet) Go here for more topping ideas. 

Overall, I would give this project an A. :) 

Monday, March 28, 2011

quiet in the library...

I'm sitting in the library and a mom and little boy walk by.  I got to over hear their conversation...

Boy: "Mommy, why is it so quiet?"
Mom: "Because people like to read books."
Boy: "Oh, then it should be quiet... I don't hear a single voice."
Mom: "I only hear your voice."

:) Too cute!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My answer is...

a poem by Alyssa
dedicated to her wonderful fiancé, Jerrod 

Last night you asked me to banquet,
and I gave you no reply,
I'm sure you're not surprised,
That I didn't ask "Why?"
I hope that you know,
I can't buy a new dress,
But to answer your question,
I will gladly say........................


Thank you for asking me, honey.  I love you! ;)

Just another echo...

I have about a million things swirling through my mind right now that I want to get out. Hopefully I can make this all make sense in writing.  God is really using this student teaching experience to teach me some things that I never expected to learn... But if I really think about that, when has God EVER taught me what I thought He would through something? Ummm... basically never.  So why should now be any different?  If I already know what I think He is going to teach me, then why in the world would He have to teach it to me?!?! Anyway, with that being said here is what I've realized so far (because I'm pretty sure with 4 1/2 weeks left, He still has more to teach me). 

The realization that God is teaching me came tonight.  I'm on spring break, so I'm at home all week, as opposed to in champaign on week nights.  Since I'm in town, one of my friends invited me to her small group tonight.  To be honest, I kinda didn't want to go.  Since I've been away at college for the last 3 years of my life and about a month of Christmas break is the longest I've been home since then, I don't have very many close friends around here.  I know a lot of people because my dad is one of the pastors at church and I basically grew up here, but I have very few close friends my age here now.  All the rest of my close friends are back in Iowa or on the other side of the world (GERTY and JESS!!!) and I miss them dearly.  Anyway, with that being said, I was reluctant to go tonight.  But I decided that a good friend would go, and that I should try to be a good friend and just suck it up and go.  Little did I know what God had in store for me tonight. 

Lesson #1. God taught me the lesson that I think every Bible college graduate talks about.  "I wish I had worked harder in my Bible and doctrine classes in school and really learned all of it."  That was my thinking tonight.  It is so hard when you are completely surrounded by the Bible and Doctrine all the time to really appreciate it.  I wish that I would have studied during those classes to learn more about God and His Word, instead of doing it to earn a grade.  But then I think, such is life.  Hindsight is 20/20 right?  I know and have seen more now, than when I was a freshman, and I know I will continue to learn more and more about life as I grow older.  I realized this because I started thinking about where God is leading Jerrod and I.  We really think that God is calling us into ministry, and with that realization, I could very well be a pastor's wife in the not-so-distant future.  I may be the small group leader, counselor, mentor, etc.  I want to be ready for that day, when I will be called to give advice to other women and girls and I want to be able to know scripture that I can point them back to.  As I sat and listened tonight to these girls share their hearts with one another, I couldn't help but be thinking "I know there is a doctrine or an attribute of God for this topic."  The challenge to me is, do I know God and His Word well enough to be able to use it to give advice and counsel to others?

Lesson #2.  I realized how much I miss my friends and church in Iowa.  Ok, I know this doesn't sound like a spiritual lesson, but I promise if you give me a second I'll explain.  God has really blessed me with some great friends and a great church there.  These people I have really grown to love in the last three years.  But isn't it interesting, that it takes me having to be away from all these wonderful people for me to realize what I have.  I have friends at school that understand all of the daily stresses that I go through, and I miss being able to talk to them about those things.  I miss my other friends, that know all about the stress of wedding planning that I'm going through or are just fun to hang out with (yes, David, I miss the "fat" jokes too).  I miss my college group at church, where we are constantly being challenged to grow and are learning together.  There are other people in and around that area that I miss.  I've realized that these are people that God has placed in my life that are there to encourage me, to laugh with me, to pray for me, to talk with me, to challenge me, to praise God with me, to sing with me, to be sad with me, and the list goes on and on.  I am so thankful for these people and their place in my life.  I miss that.  I miss all of these great things about the relationships that I have built over the last few years.  Who knew? God did... 

These two lessons are what God really seemed to lay on my heart tonight.  I thought it was neat too because the first person I wanted to share it with was my wonderful fiancé Jerrod who I am also missing because he is in Iowa too, but that is a whole other topic for another day. :)  God is good and He is faithful, and He is definitely at work!  

Hopefully if you took the time to read this novel I have written, it makes sense to you, and maybe God can even use it to echo in your heart what He wants you to learn.  

I pray that I will be just an echo of my Creator... 

Monday, March 21, 2011

if you have it on you...

Yesterday morning at church I had one of the second grade girls come up to me and start a conversation.  She said, "So, I heard you're getting married."

I replied, "Yes I am."

"Well who is he?"

I knew she wouldn't know him but I answered anyway, "His name is Jerrod."

"Oh... Could I see your ring if you have it on you?"
HAHAHA!!! As if I wouldn't have worn it for some reason...

I said, "Of course I have it on me. Here it is."

"Oh that's nice."

I'm so glad she approved :)  

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Food for Thought

       So, last night, I was home alone.  I made myself a nice healthy supper of a bowl of soup and a salad.  I even made it look pretty on my plate (for some reason that always seems to make eating alone a lot better).  A little while later it was time for desert so I made some fresh chocolate chip cookies (ok, the dough was frozen, but it was made from scratch just not by me).  I put my warm cookies in a bowl with some vanilla ice cream and warm raspberry preserves.  It was wonderful! Are you getting hungry yet? 

       The funny part is I was eating my delicious dessert as I watched TV.  First show of choice, America's Next Top Model... one of my favorites because I just think the drama those girls create on there is hilarious!... That was followed by my new favorite, Shedding for the Wedding!  It's basically like the Biggest Loser for engaged couples... Personally, I would like to see someone make a Gaining for my Honey.  I would sign my wonderful fiancé up for that one in a heartbeat. He could stand to gain a couple pounds before we get married! (Just kidding honey, I love you just the way you are!) As I was watching these two very entertaining shows, I just thought it was a little counter productive to be eating cookies and ice cream at the same time. When I told Jerrod about my lovely dessert and entertainment choices, he was kind enough to remind me that I won't be able to do that forever.  I think I would rather live in the moment and enjoy the fact that I can still do this for now!

      Oh! But the fun doesn't stop there... This morning I was working at my desk at school when, out of the blue, my cooperating teacher asked me a question. "Do you consider yourself skinny?"  I started laughing, then realized she wanted an honest answer, so I said, "I wouldn't consider myself fat."  She laughed and proceeded to tell me that she was out buying doughnuts with another teacher.  The other teacher asked my CT if she was going to get one for me.  She said "No, she's getting married in May." (Assuming I'm watching what I'm eating because of that fact.  She hasn't really gotten to know me yet.  I should have told her about my TV and dessert last night!) The other teacher said "Well, I only saw her sitting down, but she looked pretty skinny to me."  And that was that! 

     I guess the moral of the story is, even though I eat cookies and ice cream as I watch other people loose weight, I must be doing something right! Praise the Lord for a good metabolism! :)


Friday, March 4, 2011

The Gospel is Simple...

So I was thinking back on the first half of my student teaching... What have I not shared that I want to share?  So here's the highlights I thought of...

I did a project in Bible with my students.  The unit was on missions and evangelism so I taught them the wordless book, and then they had to make a wordless book and share the gospel with a classmate who would evaluate them. I loved the conversations I had with them as they discussed each color I was teaching them.  I cannot describe what it was like to walk around the room and hear them sharing the gospel.  It was AMAZING!  I couldn't help but think of how cool it is that the gospel is simple enough for a child to not only understand but be able to share it!  Not only did they have fun with this project, but one of my students told me she wanted to use the wordless book she made to share the gospel with her Grandpa.  That is what it's all about!

Another think I did in Bible, was have my wonderful fiancé come in and talk about his growing up as a missionary kid in Brazil.  He did an exceptional job!  The students LOVED all the things he brought that they could touch (and a few things to taste ;)  They asked him all kinds of questions and it was so cool to know that they were enjoying hearing about missions and just having fun.  The best part was after he left when some of my girls came up to me and said "He is so cute!" "You guys are so adorable together!" It got better when one of the girls asked me a couple days later if I was going to tell Jerrod that she thinks he's cute.  I told her that I already did.  She got embarrassed, but still wanted to know what he said.  I said "He just laughed."  She turned a nice shade of pink after that! Gotta love 5th grade! :)

Another memorable moment was my last day with my 5th graders... They threw me a little going away party.  They made me all kinds of cards and little gifts.  It was priceless.  The best part was at the very end.  Before they went home they all gathered around me, put there hands on me, and prayed for me.  It was awesome!  Some of the best things they prayed were that I'd be safe, that I'd come back to visit them, that my new class would appreciate me, and that since I can't teach all the kids in the world that I'd be able to enjoy my new class(I can't imagine teaching all the kids in the world!).  They also told me that they would be praying for me in the next few weeks.  I know they are such prayer warriors that they will not forget and will be praying every single day! :)  How cool is that?!?!

What a blessing they were to me.  I think it just goes to show that God can use anything (and anyone!) to teach us valuable lessons.  Thank you, Lord for 5th graders!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Who is Leading?

Ok, so I've been really bad about this whole blogging thing, but maybe I'll get better when I have more time.  That day will probably be when I'm dead. :)  They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I don't think that principle will apply here.  Anyway, I'm writing now so enjoy it while it lasts!

I'm reading a book by Francis Chan called The Forgotten God: Reversing our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit. It's a great book, and as I read it I'm realizing how much I really do forget about the Holy Spirit.  Even when I do remember that He is there, I tend to forget that He is God just as much as Jesus and the Father.  I read in Chapter 4 this morning and there was one section that really struck me.  It was titled "Followers or Leaders?"

The big question Francis is asking is "do I want to lead or be lead by the Spirit?"  He follows that question with "did God lead you where you are?"  I thought this was very applicable to my life right now.  I know that God lead me to FBBC to study education, but I graduate in May.  I also know that God has lead me to my wonderful fiancé Jerrod, and I marry him a week after graduation.  I know that He has called us to serve this summer at camp, but the question is "where do we go from there?"  Am I willing to let the Spirit lead Jerrod and I where ever He has for us to go?  I like to say that I am, but do I really want Him to change the plans I think I have made to work out so perfectly?  Have I learned over the last 21 years that God's way is best?  Jeremiah 29:11 tells me that He has a plan and that it is for my good, but do I believe that and am I willing to let Him take the lead in my life?  I do.  I want that.  I realize, though, that I cannot do this alone. It is going to take a lot of trust and prayer to make this a reality in my life.  I want God to take my life and make it what He wants it to be.

The set up is pretty much perfect for me (and Jerrod) to be able to put this into practice.  We have no concrete plans for the fall.  We have an idea of what could happen, but if God were to lead us somewhere else (as long as we're willing, trusting, and listening) we could go.  I am excited to see what He has for us, but at the same time it can be a little bit scary.  But I know that I can find comfort in His promises in Scripture.  Hebrews 13:5 reminds me that He will never leave me or forsake me.  Jeremiah 29:11 tells me He has a plan and my best interest in mind. One of my new favorites 1 Thessalonians 5:24 says "He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it."  

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Prayer Warriors...

Ok, so I started student teaching last Monday.  I am in a fifth grade class and I am loving it!  My teacher is great, and the kids are pretty good too.  It’s looking like a pretty fun seven weeks.  I’ve also been challenged already this week, and that’s what I want to share. 
            Being in this class has really challenged me about prayer.  My kids are prayer warriors and every day I look forward to hearing them pray.  Each morning we start the day with a devotional, and then the teacher prays and in the middle of her prayer she says something like “Lord, these 5th graders have some things they’d like to pray about…” and then the kids start popcorn praying.  They each pray for their own requests.  It is so cool!  It saves time on taking prayer requests and it is so cool to hear it.  There’s at least ten if not more requests that they pray about every day.  They have such tender hearts and it is such a challenge to me.  I don’t pray nearly as much as I should, and I really struggle with praying consistently for certain requests.  I can get discouraged or I feel like a broken record praying the same thing over and over again.   I know that I should continue to pray but I struggle with making it a reality.
            I also was challenged with prayer by watching my teacher.  On Friday one of the girls came into class after recess and was worried about her brother who had gotten hurt earlier that day.  The first thing my teacher said was “Well, lets pray for him then we’ll call your mom and see how he’s doing.”  There were a couple of kids around us to the few of us sat there and prayed for a min.  It was such a challenge to me that not only was her first response to pray, but she was teaching here students in that moment to go to prayer first in tough situations. 
            Those were the things that hit me last week, and I am sure there is more to come.  I thank God for the great class and teacher that he has blessed me with!

Rahab the Prostitute...

January 12, 2011
Joshua 2
            Rahab was the second woman mentioned in the genealogy of Christ.  Her story begins in Joshua chapter 2.  This is the story where she hides the spies and lies to the men who are looking for them, etc.  Then she asks for herself and her family to be spared.  I find it interesting though to read through everything she says to the spies.  This is what I’m focusing on today. 
            Rahab understands the power that the Israelites have because of the Lord.  She starts off with “I know that the Lord has given you the land.”  She knew that in the end her people would lose because the Lord had given the land to Israel.  Rahab then goes on to back up her point by listing all the victories they had heard about and how her people were afraid of what would happen to them. 
            As I thought about this, God brought back to mind something He taught me a few weeks ago.  He reminded me of when I was studying Mary and came across the story of Simon and Anna.  Through Anna’s testimony, God really challenged me to look for ways that he is working in my life daily.  The monologue that Rahab gave here, is another good example of God getting the credit for what He’s done.  Now, in Rahab’s story the things He did are pretty big, but I think that the basic concept is the same.  
God is at work all around me.  Am I looking for Him?  Or am I just thinking about myself as I go through each day?  I want to be someone who is able to see God at work in my life daily.  So what has He done for me today? I’m glad you asked!  He kept Jan and I safe as we headed to school this morning through terrible traffic and snow.  He has placed me in a great school with plenty of learning opportunities for student teaching (today was very interesting!)  He gave me a wonderful fiancé and some time to get to talk to him for a little bit.  I also got one last night to relax!  God is good.  And when I take time to stop and think about it, He really has blessed me.  I am glad He is in control of my life.  

*I don't have internet at home right now, so I am posting this a little late.  The next couple weeks will probably be the same way. At least I got it done! :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011


      Ok, so as I studied Mary, the first thing I looked at was the genealogy of Christ in Matthew 1.  I noticed that in the geneology there were 5 women mentioned.  Now I want to take some time to study each of them.  They must have some significance if they were all mentioned in the genealogy.
      The first woman is Tamar.  She seems like an interesting character… I vaguely remember reading some of this story, but not much.  She is found in Genesis 38.  I’ve been reading her story and thinking a lot about her all week, and I’ve kind of been stuck.  I’m not sure what to think of this story.  She isn’t exactly a role model I would like to follow.  The only thing I can think as I read this story is what an amazing God we serve.  He loves us all, despite our faults.  I am a sinner. I do wrong, and yet, God still loves me and still chose to save me.  I couldn’t ask for any more than that.  I don’t deserve his grace and forgiveness, and yet he still gives it to me.  

      My God is amazing!