September 28, 2011

When Helping Hurts: Book Review

Without giving too much away about this book, I would like to say that if you are interested in or are doing mission ministry then this book is well worth the read. As this book covers a wide berth of information, you will find that the author writes this book in the same format that you might cover it in a college course. The information is formative, detailed with great examples, and ties it all together with biblical examples and great insight that will leave the reader really looking into their ministry.

Personal Thoughts: The part I enjoyed most about this book were the overarching questions that were provided at the start of each chapter. I enjoy comparing my personal thoughts and beliefs at the start of the book, and then see how they are transformed as I become more knowledgeable or perhaps less ignorant of what is actually taking place. Some may call it the truth or a version of the truth. I guess it really comes down to whose perspective you are looking at. My perspective is tied to my personal truth in Jesus Christ and as I read through this book I felt the authors did a great job illustrating Jesus’ love for each of us, and our ultimate purpose as we interact with each other in a friendly and loving way.

My main focus for reading this book was to get some insight on the effect of Mission trips and the lasting effect it has on the communities they serve and each other. I would like to share a short story from the book:

            Elephant and Mouse were best friends, One day Elephant said, “Mouse, let’s have a part!” Animals gathered from far and near. They ate. They drank. They sang. And they danced. And nobody celebrated more and danced harder than Elephant. After the party was over, Elephant exclaimed, “Mouse, did you ever go to a better party? What a blast!” But Mouse did not answer. “Mouse, where  are you?” Elephant called. He looked around for his friend, and then shrank back in horror. There at Elephant’s feel lay Mouse. His little body was ground into the dirt. He had been smashed by the big feet of his exuberant friend, Elephant. “Sometimes, that is what it is like to do mission with you Americans,” the African storyteller commented. “It is like dancing with an Elephant.”

Personal Thoughts: After reading this story I really began to think how often this is true. American Christian Mission teams can at times be a little too excited, with too much on there plate that the time spent in the community becomes more about the project and the product than it does about the people and the relationships. I truly believe there are times that immediate relief is required and needed, but too often teams look more at what they can report back to their church then on the “lasting” impact they will have on that community. I do understand there is room for differences or focuses for each mission group, I do belief that mission trips should also focus on building up lasting relationships with community leaders, while providing continual support after leaving. This can be done in many forms of monthly communication and can also be done with financial assistance if needed, and always prayer.

This book will raise those questions and provide wonderful opportunity to reflect on your mission trip vision and your objectives. If you keep an open mind, keep Christ as the center of your thoughts, I think everyone can walk away from this book with a little more knowledge or understanding on how we can assist each other without hurting.


Wordless Wednesday

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September 27, 2011

Her new favorite thing...

When Bria was first born, we had trouble with our dog Sierra not leaving Bria alone. Sierra was crazy in the fact that she could not stop pacing around the house. When Bria was being held by anyone, Sierra would try to jump on that person. When Bria was in her playpen, Sierra would actually ram her head into the side of the pen to try and get at Bria. To say things have changed is probably an understatement. Bria and Sierra have become best of friends now. They sleep on each other, Bria gives Sierra Cheerios....And Sierra even lets Bria play in her dog dish:

"You're Caught!"

*Before this picture, she was elbow deep in the water dish.*

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September 26, 2011

Weekend Recap:

It has been beautiful out! With sunny blue skies and most importantly, no bugs (!) we have been racing to get outdoors! We have been getting out more and more now that we have our nifty Kelty Backpack from the inlaws (thanks guys!).

When people say Alaska's state bird is the mosquito, they aren't kidding! They have been huge this year, and I'm tired of getting bitten. No. I'm tired of getting welts when I get bit by a mosquito.

Sunday we were able to go on another walk. We sat and had a fire and just chit-chatted, while Bria played with Sierra and slept in her backpack!

September 24, 2011

We Got Caught In The Rain!

I left the house looking like this:

And took advantage of the weather. We took a walk here:

Saw two moose on the tundra, serious, they were there! Can you find them off in the distance?

We got caught in a downpour and witnessed one of Gods beautiful creations, two rainbows!

It was a perfect Friday!

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September 23, 2011

Spread The Good News!

Sunset over Fish River: Thursday, September 22, 2011
-during Youth Group

If you have been following the blog, or know our family, you know then that we are growing in our faith and our relationship with God. It has been an amazing year and a wonderful adventure. There have been some occurrences that can only be explained as the work of the Lord. I don't believe in coincidences. I believe that God has opened the doors to all sorts of possibilities for my husband and I in our quest for missions. I believe that God has placed a fire in our hearts, and now that fire is burning and growing into a bon fire! Clint and I are currently working on our missionary blog: Alaska Kingdom Karate & Missions where we will be posting everything that has to do with our ministry up here in White Mountain, AK (*please keep in mind that this site is under construction*)

We are working along side the Pastor and his wife in putting together a Youth group for White Mountain. We started holding youth group meetings a couple of weeks ago and are in full swing. We have had roughly about 6 students come at various times. If you missed my first post about the Youth Group, you can read about the story of the guitars here. Trust me. It's an amazing story!

Last night we had 1 more student show up for guitars! 

Singing is such a fun thing to do. Especially during worship:

We have been having a great time. We have been talking about Love the past couple of weeks, which in my opinion is the largest, most important topic to talk about!

working on our memory verse

Our memory verse for the next few weeks.

 I have to mention that we received an amazing love offering from Ketchikan First Assembly for our ministry up here and I am proud to announce that we have ordered 10...10 Teen Study Bibles for every teenager who wants one. I will be updating here about our ministry program, but please bookmark Alaska Kingdom Karate & Ministry blog to your posts so that you may follow all of our ministry work as I will only be writing the highlights and directing you to the blog :)

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September 21, 2011

Bria Stands!!!

We received yet another box for Ms. Bria. I have to tell you, getting boxes in the mail is truly a high light of our days here in rural Alaska! But, the boxes have continuously been for Bria. That's okay. I love that Bria is loved not only by our family, but by our friends as well!

Yesterday, we received a box from my mom (thanks Mom!) and inside was a cute outfit for Bria from her Aunt Jamie. I put it on her right away. When I asked Clint to hold her up so I can take a picture, this is what she did:

Bria Standing?!?! 

Can you believe it?! She stood like this so I can get approximately 10 pictures like this! She is so adorable and makes my heart melt even faster in this cute outfit! 

Thank you Auntie Jamie! You put a smile on our faces and tears in our eyes !!! 

Wordless Wednesday: From The Front Door

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September 19, 2011

The Adventures of Cloth Diapering: Part 3

My small. small. stash: 12 (one's not pictured) Kawaii Baby Diapers, 5 BumGenius, and 2 flip.
I think I need to accumulate a little bit more :) ... 

Missed Part 1: Find it HERE!

Missed Part 2: Find it HERE!

As I mentioned yesterday, we love cloth diapers. LOVE.  When I started researching on how to get started by using cloth diapers I was a little overwhelmed with all of the "must haves" to start diapering. Everything from the diapers to the wet bags, detergent, hang dry racks, covers,  etc. I decided to go the minimal route and just by the cloth diapers. So far, I haven't had the need to buy anything else other than the diapers themselves. Would I love to buy more stuff just for my cloth diapering obsession? Of course! But that would defeat my purpose of going "minimal"!

But if you want the stuff (and I'm sure some of it can make life easier) by all means, go for it. Here is a list of links that I have fell in love with in ordering the accessories for cloth diapering:

Kawaii Baby diaper covers

Diaper Buddy's Accessories (I am going to buy their cloth wipes to use with my homemade baby wipes!)

Modern Cloth Diaper Accessories

Now, here is the routine that has worked well for me.

To wash diapers: I use yellow dish gloves to protect my hands (I have very very sensitive skin)

1)wearing my yellow dish gloves I take the liner's out of the shell or cover (both soiled and poopy diapers!) and put both in the washer. I then put 1Tbs. of my homemade laundry detergent  in the wash and set the cycle on cold/gentle wash. After that cycle is done, I put another Tbs. of my laundry detergent in and set the wash cycle on hot/gentle. After the second wash, I do another hot rinse.

2)I then hang-dry my diapers on our shower curtain rod overnight. This may or may take just overnight or a day 1/2.

3)After they are dry I assemble them. I put the liners in the pocket and stack them. Bria automatically gets into the diapers and "helps" too!

4) For soiled diapers: All I do is take the diaper off and place the soiled diaper in a garbage pail (that is lined with a bag). For poopy diapers, I simply shake the poopy diaper in the toilet (using my yellow gloves) and then put it in the garbage bag.  **I also make sure I close the garbage bag so that the diapers don't dry out.

There are tons and tons of different ways to do cloth diapers (some probably a lot better than the way I do it) but this has worked for me.

** If YOU know of any other ways, perhaps even easier please feel free to let me know in the comment section! I am always looking at others' cloth diaper experiences :) **

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I Have Nothing....

Bria somehow shoved her binky in Sierra's dog toy and was crawling around like this last night. I didn't have the heart to take it away. Nope. I just took a picture and laughed!

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September 17, 2011

Mompact: Review and Giveaway of PaciPlushies- CLOSED


**This post is a sticky one and will stay at the top of the blog until the end of the giveaway. Please scroll down if you would like to read more recent posts from Life As We Know It! :) ** 

Before Bria was born Clint and I made a list of things that she could and could not have/use/eat/play with etc. One of the biggest things (besides all organic food, clothing, and toys) we didn't want her to use a pacifier. That lasted about a week after she was born because we were flying back home and were worried about Bria's ears popping. Since then, she has loved her pacifiers. She now can't fall asleep without one. When she's playing with her toys, she often holds on to her pacifier with one hand, while trying to manipulate her toys with the other. I have counted at least 12 pacifiers around the house, in our school bags, and the babysitters. We have come to the conclusion that Bria absolutely loves her pacifiers and when we don't have on on hand, its horrible.


I was asked to review and be part of Mompact Blog Hop 2011 and of course I agreed because it's an awesome opportunity to connect with other moms who support moms! There are over 120 Moms participating in this bloghop and that means there are over 120 giveaways that are going to be run from September 12- September 17!! 

I was sent this little PaciPlush of a cutie (Thank you Paciplush!). His name is Milo! He is one precious monkey and has been a favorite among Bria's toys. When I first introduced Milo to little Ms. B she didn't really know what to do with the pacifier. Milo came with an orthodontic pacifier nipple that has a round top and flat bottom, which Bria is used to the round pacifiers. No fret though! PaciPlushies are interchangeable! So, I switched the pacifier and she loved him. She swung his arms while sucking on her paci like she had him the entire 8 months she's been alive!

                                                                                "No more monkeying around to find your baby's pacifiers! This soft and silly Monkeys unique style allows pacifier to remain close at all times while teaching baby to manipulate the pacifier without any help."-

She played with him:

She slept with him:

And now he has a permanent place in her diaper bag! I will forever look at PaciPlushies as a gift for expecting Moms!

Want to know more about PaciPlush and the Mom inventor behind the scenes?

Visit Paciplushies to see more adorable friends for your kiddos and click here to learn more about them. And please, please, please visit their Facebook page to learn about upcoming offers, deals, promotions, and to connect to a fabulous group of people!

Want to win your own PaciPlush friend? All you have to do is click the "read more" on the bottom of this post, and enter via rafflecopter click on the "do it" button to enter! Good luck to all participants and the winner will be selected on here Monday, September 19. 

Winner is....

Becky Shaulis! 
Congratulations, Becky! Please check your email box for the email I sent to you.  

**After you enter the giveaway on my blog, hop on over to Southern Yankee Mix and enter another giveaway for another awesome item from Mompact!

Good luck and have fun with this blog hop! I know I will be entering!

Disclaimer: I was given the item for review purposes and was not compensated any other way. All opinions, views, and thoughts are my own.


September 16, 2011

The Adventures of Cloth Diapering: part 2

As most of you know, we are a cloth diapering family. We have been using cloth diapers since Bria was about 4 weeks old. The only reason why we didn't start earlier is she was too small (5lbs. 12oz) for the diapers to work properly (there was leakage down the side of her leg). Since the beginning we have been nothing but satisfied with how well Bria and I are handling the cloth diapers. She has had only 2 minor rashes-ones that just needed a little bit more baby powder! EVER.

If you want to read my first post about cloth diapers, you can check that out here. I talk about which diapers I'm going to use, the different kinds of diapers out there, and all the research that has led me to use cloth in the first place.

After about 7 months of cloth diapering, and three different brands of diapers, here is what we found out.

Overall winner:Kawaii Baby

pluses: Diapers are easy to change. I love the snap button and how you can adjust sizes to your liking. They dry quickly when hang drying. They have all sorts of very cute patterns and colors The liners are made of soft micro fleece and they grow with your baby! One of the best parts? The prices are very reasonable ranging from $5.99 - 14.99 each. This is important as there are so many overpriced cloth diapers out there.

minuses: It is a little big and bulky (this may be just for the Goodnight Heavy wetter diapers).  If you don't do an extra rinse for the laundry, they do tend to leak.

Overall: We have 12 Kawaii Baby diapers in our rotation of about 17. These are by far, my favorite of all. Although we have both the velcro and button diapers, I prefer the button and they hold the diaper together better. I will be ordering more Kawaii baby diapers as soon as they get more diapers for their bamboo, all natural diaper line! So excited! Head on over to Kawaii Baby to order your diapers! Did I mention they have FREE shipping on all orders of $70 or more?  

 Kawaii Diaper


Second Place: BumGenius 

pluses: They are velcro, so they are easier to snap on. The diaper liners are easy to adjust for size with buttons on the inserts. They come in cute colors. They are very easy to use. 

minuses: The velcro attracts lent and hair from the dryer, making the appearance look yucky. Also, the velcro seam is coming undone and is hart to take apart sometimes. Had many leaks due to improper fit of the insert. 

Overall: The BumGenius cloth diapers are good diapers, but they tend to leak they are easy to use and are less bulky than the Kawaii Diapers, but I still prefer the Kawaii diapers because of the no leakage aspect.  I can't get over the quick deterioration of the velcro :( 


Third Place: Flip

 pluses: You can change the inner liner and keep the outer shell for multiple diaper changes. Grows as your child grows. They have disposable inserts that you can buy (I haven't tried these yet, but hope to some day).

minuses: It is a pain in the butt (pun intended) to put this on a little ones behind. With the liner not secure in a 'pocket' it's time consuming and hard to put on a wiggly baby. When I try to put this on Bria (and now it's worse that she's mobile) she kicks her legs around and takes the liner out of the shell. It also leaks if I don't have the liner completely fitted to the outershell.

Overall: These are great diapers to use when you don't have time for the laundry because you can use the outer shell multiple times. I however, will not buy anymore Flip diapers as I already have 2 and that's enough. 

 More about our cloth experiences: It's much easier than I imagined. When I first started to research cloth diapering, it was a little daunting and intimidating, but once I bought the diapers and made the commitment it has become a wonderful experience. I was so surprised at how easy it was, and once I got a system down, I couldn't imagine not using cloth diapers. Not only am I happy that we are saving money, but we are doing our part in keeping unnecessary waste out of our landfills, which, duh, is a huge part in trying to protect our planet! I would still like to get a couple more diapers (as I mentioned above, I'm going to buy from Kawaii Baby) to lessen the laundry load each week. Washing has been an easy process as well. We are lucky enough to have a child that only poops about every 2-3 days (it's normal for breastfed babies). Please, if you are thinking about cloth diapers, make the switch. It's not only cheap, but it's healthier for your baby and the environment. I'm also glad that I have enough diapers to use with the next child we have!

Still need convincing? Please check back tomorrow for a schedule and process of how we use our cloth diapers. 

Have any other brands that I should check out? I know there are tons of options out there, and I only talked about a select  few, but please let me know if you have any other recommendations for me! 
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September 15, 2011

Free Veggietales DVDs!

As Bria is getting older, I am trying to surround her with books and movies that have Christian moral values. 

I was looking for veggieTales DVD's and came across this site! You can get a FREE Veggietales DVD for a limited time offer (until supplies last, or until 12/31/11) Just click HERE and follow the prompts.

I have already ordered her one :)
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September 14, 2011

Brave Bria....

Bria is brave... Here is a video just for you... 

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Kid's Say....

 image from here

I have been MIA lately on this blog and I apologize. With work, baby, husband, chores, bible study, youth group, karate etc. The blog is one the last on my to-do list. However, I am slowly finding more time for this blog and hope that I will be able to post more frequently here soon.

We are on our third week of school! THIRD week already. I was just informed that we only have about 15 weeks until Christmas break. Crazy!

Anyway, I started a new thing for my classroom this year because I can't get over how funny and interesting some of the things my kiddos say. I cut some index cards in half, hole punched them, and put the cards on a loose leaf ring. When I hear something from one of my kiddos, I write it down. After a while I am going to post the index cards around the room to see if parents, other teachers and students can figure out who said what!

I want to share with you what some of the kids have been saying:

"Am I go to China teacher?" 
-student talking about putting his shoes on wrong.

"That one is the penis one." -student
"You mean puniest" -me
"Ya teacher, penis!" -student
"Umm.... Okay." -me
-talking about the size of the fish 
"God just heals everything, right teacher?" 
- talking about a 'boo-boo' that is healing

 -a kiddo talking about his lego creation

"Teacher, I'm taking you to Hawaii! You forgot coconuts, sand and water. Lets go!" -student
"Okay, Iceland, here we come!" 
-another student talking about where to go while playing 'airplane'

"You can kill them [Lions] with a canon!" 
-playing with the puppets

"I have teeth like dinosaurs now, teacher!" 
- after brushing his teeth

"After 100 days we get to party! But, we still have days of life."
-Talking about 100 days of school party

"NO! I am a first grader becasue I am taller!" 

"It's bad will have no heart if you kill."
-Talking about Transformers 

It's amazing how kids' minds work! I mean, they have some pretty fascinating stuff to tell us if we just listen. This is going to be an ongoing project and I hope to have my room full of inspiration and laughs from my kiddos in kindergarten. Which one is your favorite? What is the funniest thing you ever heard from a child? Let me know in the comments!
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September 11, 2011

Always Remember

Today we remember. 
Today we pray. 
Today we will embrace.
Today we will come together.
Today we will always remember.

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