Archive for the Category »Just for fun «

Top Ten Things You Need For A Family Vacation Roadtrip That is Extreem on the Mileage

We take a lot of family trips in the Suburban!  I know, SUVs are not so popular these days, but our family of 6 who drives on long road trips is very thankful for the space!!  I thought I would share the things that we bring along that I think make it possible for us to drive thousands of miles.  So here they are in order of what came to my mind first:

1. Igloo full of drinks, and lunch stuff.  This should be placed in the car where you can open it as you are driving.  You could place it next to one of the kids and deem them the Igloo King or Queen!

2. A box or bag or something full of snacks. Throw in a roll of paper towels, some wet wipes and a knife for extra easy sandwich making.

3. A bag of small sports equipment. When our kids were younger we took a beach ball that we could blow up at each rest stop.  We look for a Rest Stop to have one meal a day, either lunch or dinner.  Brian and the kids play some active game, this year it was baseball, while I make sandwiches and the best on-the-road meal I can come up with from my igloo and food storage bin.   Some of our treasured memories of vacation have even happened at these rest stops!

4. Stop by the library and stock up on books and DVDs. Be sure to pack half of them in hiding and pull them out for the return trip!  It works great! (of course you should have a portable or built in DVD player with headphones for each child…but watch videos in moderation or attitudes go bad even faster when the movies are turned off)

5. The Redflix app for your phone. When moral is down we head to the nearest RedBox, aided in locating it from our app, and present a newish movie to watch.  We go back and forth on our trips from a movie to two hours of interactive car stuff.  We travel hours and hours in the car so the movies help bring a break for everyone.

6. The app for your phone.  On our way to Texas we spend one or two nights in a hotel.  Having this app helps us find a place to stay while we are driving.  Sometimes you really do not know how far you are going to make it in a day so easy hotel reservations are a good thing.   We are able to see hotel prices and amenities, as well as ratings.  Great tool!

7. Parenting seminar downloaded or CDs (we got ours at the church library).  While the kids are watching a movie it is time for Brian and I to talk over life stuff, plan better parenting, be inspired, or listen to a good novel together.

8. A good novel downloaded or on CD (church library once again).  Grab a good novel to read aloud as a family as well.

9. A good supply of workbooks from a dollar store.  I love Five Below!  I can always find good workbooks in the summer time and cheap markers to fill my kids car bags with.

10. The patience and perseverance of Job!  No kidding!  These long trips are not for the faint of heart, you have to have some gut to push through the family break down moments…because they do come, and sometimes they come BIG.

Hope the tricks we have learned are helpful if you have a road trip coming up.  I would love to know any tricks that work well for your family, so I can steal them and glean the benefits!  Happy traveling!

I need to add a number 11!

11. Take your husband to WalMart and let him pick a car toy or surprise.  This year Brian got Flarp (noise putty), you know what I am talking about right?  He said, and I quote “this will be hours of entertainment”, and it was!  Brian and I got it out in the car without the kids knowing anything about it and Brian started making the noises.  He and I were laughing so hard we both had tears in our eyes.  Once the kids figured stuff out they did not stop playing with the two cans we bought till the putty had dried out.  Good times!  Husbands have great ideas!!  Don’t forget to ask them 🙂

It Is About More Than Baseball

If you follow me on Twitter, or if you are one of my Facebook friends then you are well aware that I have an obsession, a healthy obsession in my opinion, with the Texas Rangers and baseball!  This season Brian and I have been blessed with the opportunity to see the Ranger’s play three times, once in Baltimore, once in NY and recently in Philadelphia.  It always amazes me that people are surprised that we go to other ball parks dressed in our Ranger best to cheer for the visiting team, our Rangers.  In Philly Brian had a man come up to him and say he respected us for coming to cheer on our team even in an away stadium and that we would do so making our loyalty loudly known by our clothing.   I would not have thought we were a bit unique in that way, but I guess we are.  To date we have never had a bad experience in a ball park, we have enjoyed a little fun razzing, and some colorful words that could have been left out, but that is about it.

The night we went to the Yankee stadium was a profound memory maker for me!

The tickets were given to us by a friend of a friend.  I have no idea who they originally belonged to, but let me just tell you they were AWESOME seats!  You know you are in good seats when the chair is cushioned and the back of the seat in front of you has a sign that reads “Be alert for flying bats and foul balls”.  (for those who would like to know we were located 19 rows back from the Yankee dug out)

When we first received the tickets I felt an overwhelming since of God’s extravagant love for us.  Why in the world would He choose to bless us with tickets to see our favorite MLB team, and I am not talking about the Yankees!  Why would he choose to do so by blessing us with wonderful seats.  There are so many needs in the world, why would he choose to bring this unneeded, just for fun blessing our way?  I had the since that we were suppose to be in NY for a reason, besides learning that God loves to love on us.

During the game I had the privileged of sitting next to Tom, a Yankee fan who was gracious enough not to be annoyed at the fact that a Ranger fan was seated next to him.  We had fun talking baseball and teasing each other about the game.  He kept blaming me for the on and off rain that happened throughout the game.  In our small talk the Lord opened the way for big talk!  I told Tom how Brian and I had moved away from Texas for Brian to be a pastor in PA.  This opened the door up for Tom to tell me his current beliefs and church practices, which were rather interesting.  We talked off and on about what he is doing now in life after being raised Lutheran.  I was able to share my testimony in a few sentences with him and was thankful I had the opportunity to honor the Lord in that way.

Tom was with his son, Brian who plays little league ball.  After a bit the conversation turned to Josh Hamilton, the Texas Ranger’s left fielder who at that time was on the DL but since has returned and hit a homer off the first pitch he received (now that is what I am talking about!).

Last year I read Josh Hamilton’s book Beyond Belief.  My oldest was interested in reading it and I decided to read it at the same time to check on the content and to be able to have good discussions with her.  I loved reading this book!  First due to my obsession with baseball, the Texas Rangers to be specific, so any book about the Rangers is wonderful to read.  Secondly, Josh is a strong Christian man and his testimony of the dark roads of the drug lands that the Lord pulled him from is inspiring and hope filled!  Since Tom had brought up Hamilton the Lord prompted me to suggest he and his son read the book.  The book includes a beautiful testimony of the Lord’s redeeming work in Hamilton’s life as well as a dramatic picture of the power of the Word of God.  Through out the book Hamilton keeps writing that his life and his talent are about more than just baseball, they are an opportunity for him to point people to the Lord.  Hopefully, Tom and his son will take my suggestion and read the book, you never know what the Lord can do!  It is about more than just baseball.

I think that is what I saw that night.  Getting to go to the game was about more than just baseball…and I love baseball!  It was about getting to talk to Tom and hopefully encouraging him in his walk with the Lord.  What a treasure!  The Lord takes our delights and uses them to spread His word and His love, and that is a home run in my book.

Do you have delights in your life, favorite pastimes?

Are you making them available for the Lord to use?

I hope He is blessing you lavishly and helping us all to see how every area of life can be sacred when He is in it.

Mandy’s Monday – Pumpkin Globe

I came across a neat idea in my kids school news letter, and I would like to share it with you!  It is a pumpkin globe!  Here are the instructions:

“Use a pumpkin “globe” to make learning geography fun.  With a magic marker, have your child draw the equator and the continents.  The North Pole can be the stem.  The pumpkin’s natural grooves can be lines of longitude.  Ask him to tell you about what he’s drawn on his “globe”.”

I thought this sounded fun and plan to make our own family pumpkin globe :)  I thought I might get creative and crazy and try to cut out the continents or practically do so, so that the light of a candle shines through – but don’t hold me to that.  I always dream up stuff bigger than I can accomplish, and the point is for my kids to have fun.  Not for me to WOW everybody!!  They would have fun with markers and probably not need to cut stuff out…

If you give this a try let me know and send pics!!  I will share mine when we have done ours.

Happy Fall everyone!  I just LOVE the fall!!! – and pumpkins too!!  pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin pie dip….mmmmm!!!!

For married couples only!

I came across the following clip of a challenge that Ed Young of Fellowship Church (main campus in Grapevine, TX) and when looking into it further found that his challenge has received some national press, and many people weighing in their opinions.


It seems that when you consider it in context and what they are encouraging in their church that this is a really healthy way to focus on building up marriages.  Check out the comments from he and his wife on his blog.  My biggest concern when I heard this was thinking about all the marriages that have much emotional pain in this area of their relationship and how it wouldn’t go well without some major counselling…I pray (as he and his wife are also) that many will seek wholeness in their relationship through this challenge and that many will be encouraged towards greater intimacy in marriage.

This made me think of the Tommy Nelson sermon series on Song of Solomon that Mandy and I listened to on our honeymoon roadtrip.  Those are great messages, revealing the heart of God when it comes to marriage and sexuality!  What a blessing that God created!

…Now, how about that challenge!?

Owen and The Swing

This will make you chuckle and want to run to the rescue!  Enjoy!


Facebook Status Updates – from Costa Rica

While on our trip to Costa Rica I really wished I could update my Facebook status, but there just was no internet connection in the village!!  So when I returned home I came up with this list and posted in on Facebook, and since many of you are not on Facebook or not my friend yet (for shame!) I am putting it up here.  For those not familiar with Facebook status lines let me explain.  There is a place on each persons page where one can type what they are currently doing.  (Mandy is … working on the computer.)  And it is super fun to write your own updates and read what others are doing or thinking.   So with no further introduction here are my status updates from Costa Rica – enjoy 🙂

is enjoying coffee at the missionaries house in Costa Rica.
is up at 4:30 in the morning heading to the village in Costa Rica.

(we decided all status updates should end with “in “Çosta Rica!”)

is stuck on the side of the road (for three hours) in Costa Rica.
is off roading making it to the village in..CR
is on the side of the road again in .. CR
is hiking in a rain forest in ..CR
is carrying a 2x6x12(? IT IS BIG!) with Anna Schrott in CR
is sleeping on the floor in .. CR

is up and working by 6:00 am in..CR (was this just one day?? it must have been 3!)
is building a bridge in CR
is digging a trench in the wrong place in .. CR

is dead weight for the day in..CR
is totally out of her comfort zone scared in the back of a truck off roading in CR
is singing songs to fix her eyes on Jesus!
is loving hearing about how the Lord works in peoples lives while working in..CR

has ring worm in CR
wonders if she was healed in CR (where did that worm go?)

is crossing the river in .. CR
is collecting rocks in .. CR
is making up songs about rocks in.. CR
is saying too much in CR (sanguine hangover!!)

is headed back to the city in .. CR
is in culture shock!! in a Costa Rican city (there are lights and mirrors)

is hiking a volcano in CR
is buying soccer jerseys for my kids in CR
is loving her pillow in CR

is dancing the salsa in CR!
is doing the dishes in CR (somehow they always find me, those dirty dishes)

is talking to her kids over skype in CR and crying!!
is on her way home from CR
is talking to an amazing bus driver, AJ, who needs prayer!
is home and kissing my kids in bed!


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