29 May 2015

Where has the school year gone?

It's hard to believe that Avery is finishing kindergarten today. We are amazed at how well she did in school this year. She enjoys just about every subject, especially reading which she picked up so quickly! I'm especially impressed with her reading, writing and math skills. Her social skills really blossomed, too. She made some great friends that I hope she keeps in her life for a long time, and she showed us that she has a huge heart for others around her.

In the picture above, she looks a little bigger and older at the end of the year. But the biggest difference is Damon! See:

28 May 2015

26 May 2015

2015 official soccer photo

Another soccer season is in the books. We thought this might be Avery's last time to play soccer since it seemed that she had lost interest. But at the last game, she asked Daddy if she could play again! So we'll see what she decides to do!

21 May 2015

20 May 2015

Oven-Baked Fajitas from Real Mom Kitchen

Chris found this fajita recipe in his Facebook feed recently. (The original recipe came from Real Mom Kitchen.) Whenever he sends me a recipe, I know that he really wants me to try it. So we tested it last night, and we loved it!

The recipe didn't specify if the Rotel should be drained. So I chose the middle road and drained most of the can while keeping a little liquid. The fajitas turned out a little soupy (but still delicious), so next time I'll probably drain the can fully.

The chicken and vegetables were very tender, and there was just enough spice in the dish to please both me and Chris. We put the fajitas on soft taco shells and added some taco toppings, such as shredded cheese and sour cream. But you also could add the meat and vegetables to tortilla chips or even eat the filling alone -- it's that good! Enjoy!

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies (Rotel)
1 medium onion, cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips

Preparation Instructions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking dish. Place chicken strips in greased dish. In a small bowl, combine the oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, dried oregano and salt. Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat. Add the tomatoes, peppers and onions to the dish and stir to combine. Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.

14 May 2015

08 May 2015

Ten months old

My baby is 10 months old today. That means it's just about time to start thinking about his first birthday party.

Once again, it was difficult to get Damon to sit still and pay attention long enough for a good picture. It's a good thing he's so photogenic! Here are a few outtakes:

Yes, I tried the remote control trick...the same thing we tried when Avery was on the verge of crawling. They both love the remotes. That's one way they take after their Daddy!

07 May 2015

05 May 2015

BSF 2014-2015: What I learned this year

I so enjoyed studying Moses this year in BSF (for the second time!). I think he may have become my favorite character in the Bible! Here is what I learned this year as we studied Moses’ life:

What I learned in my personal study

I must imitate Moses’ godly character. Moses was humble, obedient and faithful to God. He cared more for other people than himself. He sought out God’s direction before every decision. He persevered, depended only on God and followed God even when those around him wanted to abandon God. Jesus Christ also demonstrated all of these characteristics, and I must imitate Jesus as well.

Just as God provided for the Israelites’ every need, God also is my faithful Provider. God knew exactly what the Israelites needed, when they needed it. Even when the Israelites grumbled and complained, God still provided for them. He provided Moses to lead them out of slavery, He provided the Passover lamb as a symbol of salvation, He provided the pillar of fire and the cloud of smoke to guide them, He provided daily manna to sustain them, He provided the Levites to teach them about His laws and finally He provided the Promised Land. God also has provided for my every need. Because God is sovereign, He knew that I would lose my job last year. He is using that situation to show that He is faithful and He is the only One worth following. He has provided family members to help me care for my children, He has extended our finances more than Chris and I could expect and He has provided an open door for starting my own freelance business. In the midst of chaos and confusion, God has revealed Himself as a faithful Provider.

What I learned by serving in the School Program

God’s difficult truths can be understood by anyone. We tackled some challenging doctrines and situations as we studied Moses and the Israelites this year. But even the youngest children in our School Program were taught these things in a loving, concrete way so they could understand how to apply these truths to their lives. The children also were taught how to defend their faith and answer they may be asked by people seeking to know the truth of God. While God’s Word can be challenging, it also can prick the heart of even a young child.

I hope you enjoyed our study about Moses and the Israelites! Has my experience this year piqued your interest about studying God’s Word? Are you looking for answers to your questions about Christianity? Check out BSF! Find a class near you and commit to learning about God through the our study of the book of Revelation next year. Or find a Bible study at your local church, ask a friend to study with you and hold you accountable or start studying on your own. God will reveal amazing things to you and will change you from the inside out when you commit to studying His Word.

See you in September when we begin our exciting study of Revelation!

04 May 2015

Like me! Follow me! Read me!

In mid-March, I took a huge leap of faith and started my own virtual assistant business, The Wordsmith VA. What exactly is a virtual assistant? A virtual assistant (VA) is a highly-skilled, independent professional who provides administrative, technical or creative business support services. Virtual assistants are off-site administrative professionals.

Virtual assistants choose their niches based on their own skills and expertise. I am focused on providing writing, editing and administrative services for small business owners. I love grammar and writing, and I'm very detailed and organized. All of this translates well into the VA industry.

A few years ago, I began investigating what it means to be a VA. It was a very intriguing prospect, and it sounded like something I could do. But I wasn't sure how to build a business while still working, even though I was working only 30 hours a week. Then I lost my job in December. When that happened, it felt like my world was caving in. I had no idea what the future held for me. And honestly, I'm still wondering what God is doing in my life! But losing my job was a blessing in disguise. It gave me the chance to dive in to the VA industry and owning my own business. I wouldn't have had so much time to organize and create my business if I was still working full time. So thank you, God, for allowing me to get laid off! :o)

Building a new career from the ground up is challenging and time consuming. But so far, it's been very rewarding. By simply reaching out to small business owners I know personally, I've already taken on a few short-term projects. On my list for the near future is networking to other small business owners and showing them how I can make their lives easier. I hope all of that will lead to some more clients. My ultimate goal is to have consistent projects with clients I love to work with!

If you'd like to see what The Wordsmith VA is all about, check out my website and subscribe to my blog. And follow me on Facebook and Twitter. Or contact me if you think I can help you with your own business!

01 May 2015

6-year doctor's appointment

After Damon's full doctor's appointment a couple of weeks ago, it was nice to have a rather uneventful appointment with Avery this week. Here are her latest stats:

Weight – 38.2 pounds, an increase of four pounds since last year (between 10th and 25th percentile)
Height – 42.25 inches, an increase of two inches since last year (5th percentile)

She's growing well, but she's a petite little thing!

Our main concern with Avery is her eating habits. I guess you can call her a picky eater. She does OK at breakfast, and she loves eating lunch at school. But dinner almost always is a challenge. If she had a choice, she would eat either pizza or a peanut butter sandwich every night! She hardly eats anything without a fight. She always complains about what I make for dinner, even if it's something she likes. Case in point: Last weekend, we celebrated cousin Joel's birthday. Lori Anne made a yummy taco bar. Avery scarfed down two whole tacos without any fighting! But when I make tacos at home, she whines and complains and barely eats any of them. It's not very good for this home cook's ego.

Between this article and Dr. Roscoe's advice, Chris and I are going to chill out at dinnertime. We will let Avery choose how much she will eat from the food on the table. If she refuses, it's OK. We've already stuck to our guns about not making a separate meal for her and about no snacking between meals (except for an after-school snack). Hopefully one day she will expand her palate and food choices. Until then, we'll just let her be a big girl and make her own choices!