Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Currently... (Edition 3--Summer 2012)

Practically the whole summer has gone by without a bit of blogging....sorry followers!  Shame on me! I feel so bad, BUT I've been a little pre-occupied... 

Right after my surgery, I interviewed for a teaching position at Christian Center Elementary and was offered a full time 1st grade position!  So, I (er....WE-- the whole "fam") have been busy as bees getting ready for ME to go back to school.  I'm truly just "giddy" with excitement!

Our family fell in love with Christian Center Elementary when Josiah attended school there as a Kindergartner.  However, due to a variety of circumstances we weren't able to send him there last year (for first grade).  Although Josiah loved riding the bus to and from public school each day, it was a tough year for him & us...we truly missed the school, families, friends, teachers, and culture at Christian Center!  So, when God dropped the opportunity in my lap to apply for a job at CCE...I immediately jumped on it!  In fact, I literally finished filling out my application in a hospital gown during pre-op :) 

I'm so thrilled that God has given me this opportunity!  First grade is my "sweet spot" so I'm anxious to serve and honor Him by teaching my little first graders!  I give thanks that not only has God provided the resources for me to go back to teaching, but also that He has restored my health so I can return to the classroom! (Side note:  As of yesterday, all my "labs" show that all of my blood levels are within NORMAL range.  Yep, that's right friends & family--- I'M NORMAL!!)  ha ha

Since I was offered the job, I've hardly sat idle one moment! So here's just a bit of what I/we have been doing to prepare for back to school.  

  • First up, I had to renew my teaching license so I took 3 classes to accomplish that!  If you want a peek of what teachers learn and do in their classes just click on this link to view one of the assignments I submitted for my online Differentiated Learning graduate level class, in which I had to create a "before and after" unit on place value, showing the difference in differentiating instruction to meet students' varying skills and learning styles..  (Note:  The link is large and cannot be scanned for viruses).  I also attended a phenomenal conference led by Jill Eggelton, in which I became better prepared to teaching oral language, reading, writing, spelling and phonics. During my third class, I learned about a variety of  websites that help teachers extend technological learning in their classrooms.  All of the classes were so beneficial in helping me get back into the groove!
  • I've sat endless hours at my computer researching activities and organizational tips to renew my mind and fill my files with FREE ideas to make me organized and learning more engaging for my students. 
  • After making myself completely overwhelmed, I finally had to break out the post-it notes to brainstorm and organize my wandering thoughts.  I use this brainstorming method often (usually on a smaller scale) because it really helps me focus.  The day I "went to town" with my brainstorming...Rob commented, "I wondered how long it was going to take you to pull out the post-its!".  I brainstorm these types of list when going on vacation, house cleaning, make ahead/freezer cooking, Christmas, etc...  When I have a lot of little tasks that need done, this is the best way I find to do it.  Using post it notes makes it easy to "move" tasks into categories and then I write or type up a master list from that.  
  • Trips to the teaching store to buy 50% off bulletin board supplies equalled lots of punching out for Josiah :) 

  • And all my math, literacy and Bible preparations and printing equalled MEGA amounts of cutting for Rob!  Here is a look at his "office".  I'm really thankful the Olympics are on right now because that makes him more willing to sit and do all my "cutting" :)  He refers to this task as his "2nd job!" :)

  • As of Monday, I was given the "green light" to move into my classroom :)  Here's what it looks like....needs a lot of TLC, organizing, and color huh?   :)  But, I thought it would be fun for you to see before and after pics, so I'll post "after" pics later in August.  I'm centering everything around an ocean/beach theme so it will be a SUNNY and BRIGHT classroom. 

    So that's a peak into what is currently going on in our lives.....SCHOOL, SCHOOL, SCHOOL!!  I report to school on Friday, August 17th and Josiah goes back to school on Wednesday, August 22nd.  So little time, so much to do!! But I'm not doing it alone....I'm so extremely grateful for so many of my family members that have helped me with this journey--- punching out, cutting, providing ideas, building, gift certificates, and babysitting! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Plans For a SeNsAtiOnAL SUMMER


Since the beginning of April I have been suffering with extremely low iron counts.  This is very unlike me, but I can sum up the past 3 months in one sentence-- lots of bed rest, an ER visit, probably 20 doctor & lab visits, blood transfusion, five iron infusions (& counting), and a partial hysterectomy. 

So that's what I have been doing in your absence!  But, I'm happy to report I am feeling much better and healthier, which means we are finally ready to kick off summer at our house!  I definitely owe Josiah some fun given all the boredom he has endured at the doctors, hospital, and home!

Just like last year, I have planned lots of special activities for us to enjoy so we squeeze every bit of fun out of summer!  We call these activities our Summer Bucket List!  I incorporated lots of new ideas with the ol' standard activities that make summer, well, SUMMER!

Here's a glimpse of our Summer Bucket supplies :)

Here's a link to see our list of summer bucket activities

I changed how we are picking & choosing activities.  Last year, we randomly drew an activity out of a bucket.  However, Josiah didn't appreciate the "randomness".  There were very specific activities that he wanted to complete ASAP.  Because I stuck to the rules, he became frustrated and eventually uninterested in the bucket list.

Therefore, in an attempt to complete each and every task before summer "kicks the bucket" AND keep Josiah engaged ALL summer long, I have adjusted our picking-n-choosing format! 

I color coded each activity, cut them out on heavy cardstock, laminated them and put them on the frig.  So, now Josiah can choose any activity he wants and once we complete it, we move it to the "TA DONE" section on our frig :) 

Refrig-- To Done & Ta Done!

There is only one summer bucket rule:  He cannot pick a same color activity 2x in a row!  He has to pick a different colored activity each time, to help keep things a little varied :) 

Of course, there can't only be fun....We've been assigning Josiah specific chores/tasks that he must complete each day, as well. 

This is our first time formally assigning chores and paying Josiah an allowance for completing them.  He is being paid $.25 per each task completed and paid his accumulated weekly allowance on Thursdays. He won't be paid for some of the chores like brushing his teeth, however, if he doesn't do these tasks, $.25 is subtracted from his weekly allowance.

I created task cards vs. daily task lists, so I have been able to "manipulate" what I need help with, needs done, etc... Plus, each morning he will be "surprised" by his assigned chores!  Here is a link to Josiah's chore cards

These are our plans for a successful, sensational SUMMER!  We'd love to know yours!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sweet & Sour Salad

Sweet & Sour Pasta Salad
I had a request for this recipe today, so I thought I would share it with everyone vs just one :) 

This recipe comes straight from my mom's cookbook!  It is one of my favorite salad recipes! 

It's a perfect salad for your a spring/summer cookout or potluck!  But I also like to serve it at a bridal/baby shower because it's so pretty & colorful and yields about 16 servings+. 

The best keeps well for a couple of days :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Helpful Kitchen Hints (including 3 surprises)

I'm always happy to learn about a shortcut or tip that stretches our family's dollars further or simply makes life less complicated.  For example:  laying out your clothes the night before, rotating toys, having a menu plan, today I'm sharing kitchen, food, & eating tips that just might make your life simpler.

I created a printable shopping list (organized by category) that we keep on the fridge at all times.  As we run out of items we immediately add that product to our list so we can always depend on a well stocked pantry.  Feel free to share and make copies of it for your own personal use! 

Gracie & Josiah

Kid Kitchen Tips
  • Cut food into kid sized bites using a pizza cutter .  These are just a few things we cut with a pizza cutter:  spaghetti, pancakes, hot dogs, chicken nuggets/strips, quesadillas, bologna, and cheese slices.  We learned this trick from my brother Rick :) 

  • School Lunch idea-- Josiah doesn't care much for cold sandwiches when he takes his own lunch.  Therefore, I sometimes send milk, cereal and fruit for lunch.  I send his soy milk in a spill-free bottle and put cereal in a Tupperware bowl.  But, for those with kids not requiring soy milk,  your kids could just use their lunch milk to pour into their dry cereal. 
Saving time & money makes every one happier!

    Money & Time Saving Tips
    • Buy fresh herbs in a squeeze tube.  My favorite brand is Gourmet Garden.  You'll find these in the produce's refrigerated section at a major grocery store.  Time to time you need fresh herbs (like basil, ginger, Italian seasonings, etc...), however you only use a couple of stems and the rest ends up spoiling.  Not anymore....just buy a $5 tube of herbs and it will last for several months!  Plus, you don't have to spend precious time washing and finely chopping the fresh herbs either.   

    • Whipped Cream in a Can.  I love a yummy, frothy Starbucks latte but they are spendy!  So from time to time I splurge on a can to add the creamy yumminess to my morning coffees or hot chocolate to treat my craving more economically.  It's also fun to add a dollop of whip cream to your pancakes, waffles or ice cream sundaes. 

      Food Saving Tips/Stretches with 2 New Recipes

      • Use leftover grilled chicken or steak to make quesadillas.  
      • I use leftover rice to make family fried rice.  (Find recipe here).
      • Leftover mashed potatoes makes the following hamburger pie recipe super quick to whip up. 

      Thursday, April 12, 2012

      Easter Fun & Forts

      Logan, Josiah & Kendall
      I had an awesome Easter Break with these 3 dudes!  I cleared everything off my schedule on Friday and Monday to just be Mom and Aunt Becky! 

      On Thursday, I made up a game called Prize Egg/Rotten Egg!  I filled a basket of plastic eggs (with little notes tucked inside indicating a prize or "to do" activity or rotten egg) and the boys took turn drawing eggs from the basket all day.  If we chose a rotten egg they had to occupy themselves until we could choose another egg 15 minutes later!  It proved to be a fun game and broke up the monotony of the day.  I used about 15 eggs--- 5 of them were rotten eggs and the others included prizes/activities such as:  going out for ice cream, dying Easter eggs, play water bottle bowling, going to the park for 35 minutes and playing board games for 30 minutes, etc... 

      Prize Egg/Rotten Egg would a perfect activity to use during a play date any time of the year.  Plus, it takes minimal preparation.  Just make sure you are prepared to follow through on the activities that might be chosen!

      Logan, Josiah and Rob

      We tried three different ways to dye Easter eggs this year!    (Note:  I was lucky this " prize egg" was chosen when Rob was home on Friday afternoon :) 
      • Koolaid Egg Dying--- :( thumbs down
      • Egg Dying with Food Coloring --- :)  thumbs up!
      • Volcano Egg Painting--- :)  thumbs up!
      Koolaid Egg Dying was sure the easiest to prepare but yielded the most disappointing results.  All you do is a take one package of Koolaid and dissolve it in 2/3 cups of warm water.  We never could get the Koolaid completely dissolved so the eggs were speckled because of the undissolved powder.  Upon immediate removal, the eggs were bright but they definitely lost their color by the time we hunted them on Sunday afternoon. 

      Josiah showing an egg dyed with food coloring!

      My favorite way to dye eggs is with food coloring!  This method always yields the best results in the quickest amount of time!  Dissolve 15 drops of food coloring (or 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon) in 2/3 cup of hot water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar. 

      I like to buy my food coloring at Hobby Lobby in the cake decorating section for $1.18/bottle, whether I'm making frosting or dying eggs.  But, McCormick's 4 pack dye box yields great results too!  Use this guide to help you make lots of different colors with a basic 4 pack dye!  However, for egg dying I usually double or triple the amounts to yield bright, bold eggs! 

      Logan painting one of his volcano dyed eggs!

      Rob and Josiah "erupting" the color on a volcano dyed egg!

      Josiah and Logan's favorite formula is Volcano Egg Dying/Painting!  I originally found the idea on Pinterest and found the best how-to directions at "Toddler Approved" blog.  You basically paint your eggs with a baking soda paste (dye added) and pour white vinegar over the eggs to make colorful designs.  You can repeat as many times as desired!  This is also the best way give eggs that marbled effect :) 

      All done!
      (Yes, Josiah is that much bigger than Logie)

      Of course on Easter Sunday-- we celebrated Christ's Resurrection at church!  And I had the incredible opportunity to present the salvation message during Kids Church and had 2 children accept Christ for the first time!  This wasn't a first for me...but it had been a long time since I led 2 kids to Christ!  What an adrenaline rush on Easter Sunday of all days! 

      Eugene popping out of the box during Revolutionary Kids on Easter Sunday!
      April's set theme is "Puzzled"

      We hosted a small portion of my side of the family for lunch and the boys enjoyed their Easter Egg hunt and Josiah's scavenger hunt to find his basket :) 

      On Monday, I had the boys to myself again! In the morning we attempted to fly the kites they each received in their Easter baskets but there wasn't a good enough wind to keep the kites up over a long period of time.  (Shocker!--given SD's wind---) It was windy but too gusty!

      So, in the afternoon--- we built 2 PVC pipe forts!  Another idea I found on Pinterest!  You can find the perfect directions for creating one at Angry Julie Monday's blog.  One of them costs approximately $35 to put together and they are ENORMOUS!!! It is basically a small playhouse vs. a fort!

      Logan & Josiah helping gather the supplies at Lowe's! 
      However, I'm happy to report we had to venture to Ace Hardware as well for a better selection of pipe fittings :) 

      I hoped that Lowe's would cut all the pipe sections for me, however, when this girl came out carrying a little hand saw...I decided I would just take them home and DO IT MYSELF!!!  Yes, I broke out the miter box saw and did it all by myself!!! GIRL POWER!!! After I got all the pipes cut, it really was quite simple to assemble! 

      A picture of the structure/frame!  (Note:  Logan was a pirate all day!)

      Logan, Josiah and I
      Of course, kids always want to pose for one "goofy" picture!

      Monday, March 12, 2012

      Currently....(Edition 2)

      Since my other "current" list was a I'm going to make "Currently" a regular post on my blog.  It's a great way to capture and tell you about the everyday moments in my life and our home :) 

      Books-  Above is my stack of books waiting to be read! It's gonna be a push to get through them before Josiah is out of school, but I'll suffer through it (ha ha).  I just don't seem to get near as much reading done during the summer.  My main focus is finishing up the Hunger Games Trilogy because I'm meeting with a bunch of girlfriends on Friday night to talk about them before the movie opens on March 23.  Overall, I give the Hunger Games books 3.5 stars (I'm not quite as captivated by them as others are).

      Play list-  Right now I'm listening to the Beatles ("Love Me Do" to be exact).  A few weeks ago, Rob requested I load our ipods with some oldies.  So, I scoured our library's Cd's and we've been enjoying some new "older" tunes!  It's fun to mix it up once in awhile, huh?

      Food-  Ate leftover sloppy joes for lunch-- or do you call them BBQ's, taverns, loose meat sandwiches, Spanish hamburgers??? Everyone has a different name for them.  But, I admit, "taverns" is the craziest name I've heard them called!!!  I learned this term when I went to college in NW Iowa.... For supper, we are having fish sticks, a Birds Eye Viola pasta skillet bag, and fresh fruit. 

      Wishin' For- More than I should roof, outside and inside paint jobs, new decks, new garage door opener, new racks in my dishwasher (they have corroded and the rust is staining my dishes), new computer, new bikes for Josiah and I, new TVs, King size bed, and once in awhile, even a puppy :) 

      Needs- Nothing, truly....This past weekend I spent most of my time in the darkness of our bedroom, flat on my back.  Somehow my eyes are having an allergic reaction to the brand of contacts I have been wearing 8+ years.  The inflammation in my eyes was so bad my eyes burned, watered, and it hurt to even open them.  I couldn't do anything enjoyable without feeling miserable-- be outside, read, watch TV, errands, computer work, or church.  So, I've learned to appreciate all that God has provided and that I truly "need" nothing else.  I was so disabled without it. 

      Planning- A baby shower for Stephanie & Chris this weekend in Mitchell.  I'm planning around a bumble bee theme--decorations and food are all theme coordinated :)

      Outfit- My fuzzy purple slippers, Hydraulic jeans with holes worn in them, DKNY shirt, cami from the Loft, and zippered hoodie from NY Company.  And most noteworthy, eye glasses!

      Favorite American Idol Stars-  Right now I'm rooting for Colton Dixon, Erika Van Pelt and Phillip Phillips.  Phenomenal talent this year!

      Excited About- My parents returning from Arizona soon and spending Easter at our house!  (FYI bros & sister--- I called dibs on them!!) And the weather!!!!

      Mood-  Kinda frustrated and slightly overwhelmed....feeling like I have a lot of catching up to do after spending the weekend out of commission. 

      Regretting- Not working out all winter long!  With temps predicted in the 70's this week, it's time to get off the couch and moving again. I've been pinning inspiration on "Off the Couch" pin board but so far I haven't been inspired quite enough to get moving....Oh, how I hate exercise.

      Indulgence- New eye glasses!  Since my old eyeglasses were a prescription from 3+ years ago... What do you think?

      Looking Forward- To a trip to Colorado for a friend's wedding in early May and onto to Salt Lake City, UT afterwards to see visit some "old" friends!  And maybe even swinging back down to Arizona???

      Favorite New Product- Wen Conditioner!  I have been using Wen hair care conditioner since late December (right around Christmas) and have healthier, shinier, even thicker and bouncier hair.  Granted I didn't need thicker and bouncier hair but it's also smoother and less frizzy.  Plus, it extended the life of my hair color another 2-3 weeks.  I order my products from QVC vs. the infomerical.  Definitely recommend--especially for those with thin, limp hair! 

      Monday, March 5, 2012

      Resurrection Planter

      We are starting to prepare our home to celebrate Easter!  It is certainly one of the most important holidays our family celebrates!  We are so thankful that God sent Jesus to this earth to pay the penalty for our sins on the cross so we can have eternal life with Him!  Nothing we can do, be, or say will earn our way into heaven except for believing in Jesus!  That kind of grace is definitely worth celebrating every day!!!!

      On Saturday morning as I was perusing Pinterest I found the inspiration to create a resurrection planter with Josiah.  (p.s. I don't know who to give credit to because the pin only had a google user reference; it didn't point me back to a specific link).  We were both so excited about it that we didn't waste any time putting it together!

      Resurrection Planter Supply List: 
      • bowl shaped planter ($1 hanging planter at the Dollar Store--we just removed the strings to hang it)
      • small terra cotta pot (for the tomb)
      • small rocks (vase filler rocks) to put in front of the tomb
      • small rocks to place around the tomb to keep soil in place
      • large rock to cover the tomb
      • grass seed ($2.50 Walmart)
      • potting soil ($5 Walmart)
      • small twigs and twine
      • hot glue gun and glue
      Here are step by step pictures of us putting it together! 

      Dump soil in the bowl.

      Place "tomb" in bowl after bowl is about half filled with soil. 

        Create a hill around the "tomb".  Add and pat down soil. 

       Place small path rocks and other rock around and in front of the "tomb." 

      Make three crosses out of small sticks, hot glue, and twine. 

      Place crosses in back of planter. (Note:  This was the first cross we made...the sticks were too big, so we had to redo it with smaller sticks.  But we are repurposing this cross in another planter). 

      Plant grass and cover with a layer of soil. 

       A snapshot of how our planter looks with the "tomb" uncovered. 

      View of planter with "tomb" covered. 

      Water grass seeds with small water sprayer. 

      "It is finished!" 

      Well almost, finished...gotta clean up our mess! 

      We are excited for the grass to grow in our Resurrection Planter!  We will enjoy this very special Easter table centerpiece all season long!  It will be a great reminder of the real meaning of Easter! 

      Josiah is pretty excited about trimming the grass when it grows! And he has already been acting the Resurrection story with his little figurines :) 

      More Easter decorating and celebration ideas to follow in the days ahead! 

       P.s. Did you notice the wardrobe change?  Josiah got ready for bed throughout the process, as well :)  

      Skip To My Lou

      Tuesday, February 28, 2012

      Leap Year Family Time Capsule

      Tomorrow is Leap Day 2012!!! It's definitely a day worth celebrating since it only rolls around every four years!  So, besides leaping into a snow bank (since a big ol' blizzard is currently parked over SD) I've been racking my brain on how to celebrate this special occasion as a family. 

      I've decided we are going to create a Leap Year Family Time Capsule!   I wrote up 29 questions and predictions that we are each (Rob, Josiah and I) going to answer or memorabilia we will need to gather.  Then, we'll compile all of our questionnaires and memorabilia together to create a Family Leap Year Time Capsule that we won't open until Leap Day 2016!  (Certainly the hardest part will be remembering where we put it in order to re-open it...ha ha :)

      I've created a colored version and printer friendly version of the questions and predictions we will be making and answering.  Feel free to use these or adapt them to your family's here for the printer friendly version. 

      At the end of the questionnaire I listed three things you'll need to do or gather to make your Family Leap Year Time Capsule complete--
      1)  Take a picture of yourself and/or family on Leap Day 2012.
      2)  Each member of the family should put some money, or a small toy, or a book, etc... in your family's time capsule that you think you might enjoy by Leap Day 2016. 
      3)  Take a video of your neighborhood, house and/or surroundings.  Burn the video to a CD and included it in your Family Leap Year Time Capsule. 

      We also will be celebrating Leap Day 2012 by: 
      • Going for a walk (either around our block four times or around the mall 2 times) in less than 29 minutes!
      • Capture photos of yourselves leaping (maybe include these in your Family Leap Year Time Capsule). 
      • Seeing how many different objects we can leap off of throughout the day (hopefully at least 29 of them!!)
      • Playing a game of Leap Frog. 
      • Going on a scavenger hunt to find four little surprises!  (Adaption suggestions:  Print out 29 little clip art frogs.  Or if you have a large family hide one frog and give each person four opportunities to find it). 
      Whatever you do-- be intentional and have fun making memories on this special day that only comes around every four years! 

      Happy Leap Year/Day 2012!

      p.s. I would love to hear any other ideas or suggestions other families do! 

      p.s.s. Happy Birthday Carson!!! (Yep, we really know a little boy who was born 8 years ago on Leap Day 2004!)  Speaking of such, that would be a great dinner time conversation starter to ask your kids how they would feel celebrating their true birthday once every four years? :)

      Tip Junkie handmade projects

      Sunday, February 12, 2012

      Sharing the Love with Paper Crafts

      This past week I was a paper crafting fool!  (And LOVIN' it...I might add).  :) 

      First of all, our February Craft Club activity was a deluxe card making session!  It was really fun to dig through and dust off my stamping and accessory supplies to design some new cards for my girlfriends and I to make.  Thanks to Kim O'Connell at Paper Perfect Designs I also created a couple of all-occasion gift card holders, too! 

      If want a closer look at the designs and details, you may view my slide show on You Tube, in which I featured each card individually. 

      Of course, with Valentine's Day a mere two days away, we've also been busy creating Josiah's school valentine box and valentines!  I presented Josiah with several ideas from blogs I follow and Pinterest and he choose from there! 

      We created his valentine box out of a Kleenex box with printables from HP Creative Studio.  In fact, you can find lots of other ADORABLE holiday/ special occasion printables here when creativity or time is lacking.  Just be forewarned you'll need lots of colored ink or send the images to a local print shop! 

      And all three of us worked together to create his "smartie pants" Valentines using these printables from Tip Junkie

      On Valentine's Day, we are looking forward to celebrating it with my sister and her 2 kids!  Per Josiah's request, we will be enjoying heart shaped pizzas from Papa Murphy's and homemade sugar cookies!  

      I'd love to hear or see how are you spreading the love this Valentine's Day!  Share your comments below.

      Monday, February 6, 2012

      Honor, Karate and Paper Lanterns @ Kid's Church

      As a mother, I feel one of my most important responsibilities (if not, THE most important one) is to train my child in the ways of the Lord.  I do this in many, many different ways throughout the day, weeks and our lives! 

      Grandma Laurel praying with Josiah

      Therefore, going to church on Sunday mornings is really important to our family!  We attend, The Ransom Church, in Sioux Falls, SD.  We (Rob, Josiah and I) all love our church deeply-- because of it's focus, values, people, pastors, etc...AND our church's kids curriculum! 

      Ransom Kids Room/Wall

      In December, our church transitioned to a new kid's curriculum, called 252 Basics!  Josiah loves it because of the live drama, fun dance songs, and fun games!  Rob and I love it because he learns important values and Bible stories, learns how to read and look up verses in his Bible, memorizes scripture, and learns how to treat others the way Jesus would want us to treat them!  Every week he comes home with devotions and meal time questions that further reinforce the values, scriptures and Bible stories he is learning. 

      In fact, I love and enjoy the curriculum so much--- I help teach and plan all the activities, games, props, and skits that we present to the kids each week!  Rob also helps (running the sound, power point, and filling in any other gaps). 

      Each month we focus on teaching the kids about a virtue!  This month our virtue is--HONOR.  We are focusing on teaching honor through Bible stories in 1 & 2 Samuel about the life of David.  And within our messages, skits, and games we have a karate theme woven in them. 

      Each month we decorate our classroom/meeting space according to the theme!  So, given the karate theme and mental stimulation games Rob and I made the following the decorations: 

      Paper Lanterns

      Hanging paper lanterns
      Honor Code:  Love each other deeply.  Honor others more than yourselves.  Romans 12:10
      February's Memory Verse

      Large view of our room
      If you live near Sioux Falls and haven't yet found a church home--- we'd love for you to visit our church, The Ransom Church!  Service times are at 9 and 11 am with a Happy Hour between services!!! However, Kid's Church is only offered during the 11 am service at this time.  :)  We'd love to see you and worship with you! 

      p.s. The paper lanterns are really easy and cheap to make! I'll post a quick tutorial about how to make them later this week!