Monday, September 30, 2013

Weekly Menu Plan {30 September}

Happy Monday and the last day of September! Wow. I cannot believe October is here, but I am thoroughly enjoying the beginning of the autumn season. The temperatures have been wonderful, the early autumn flowers are in bloom, the sun seems more golden and the daylight is starting to fade a little earlier in the evenings.

We have a busy week ahead with some unusual and fun things planned, plus the usual fare. Here is the plan, at this moment:

Monday - Chili, cornbread

Tuesday - Creamy Spinach and Ricotta Manicotti, salad

Wednesday - Leftovers

Thursday - Chicken Caesar salad

Friday - Angel hair pasta with fresh tomatoes, garlic and basil

Saturday - Taco Salad

Sunday - Snack-y supper (Bob and I get to go to the IFA 40th anniversary dinner!)

I'm linking up with the Menu Plan Monday ladies today! Hop on over and take a look at all the plans that are in the works for this week.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Birthday Celebration!

Our little princess turned seven over the weekend! We had a fun celebration at home and then went to a fall festival at an apple orchard for the afternoon (more on that soon). 

Here is our bright-eyed girl, so happy to be turning seven . . .

Maya said, "This is the best birthday I've ever had!" Yahoo! And thank You, Father, for not only the best birthday she's ever had but also for the precious gift of this full-of-sunshine life who is the baby of our family! What a beautiful gift she is! 

We love you, sweet girl! xo

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A Little Time Away

Our family had a little break earlier this week. It was fabulous to get away. I had had an interesting conversation with a dear friend at the park on Friday and found out that she does not relish holiday get-aways. She told me that it simply causes too much stress for her and that she really likes home and her routine. I can relate to that to a point, but I realised after talking with her that I just need a get-away now and again. 

It's not that I don't love home and the haven that I try to create for my family. I absolutely love home. I do normally need some sort of routine. But there are just times, once in awhile, when I need to get out of Dodge. I think it helps me be a better me. It refreshes me. And the need to explore and have adventures is embedded deep down inside. I'm not sure where that comes from or even really when I realised it to be true about me. I know Bob has this need, too, and apparently we've passed it on to our kids, who are all quite the adventurers.

We weren't able to take any holidays in the summer, so when a friend recently gave us a three day/two night holiday to the resort where he owns a timeshare, we were thrilled and thankful!

We had never driven on the infamous Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park, so we made that part of this trip. We are so glad we did! The views were spectacular. 

I had in my mind that the resort was all one building or several buildings located in close proximity. That was not how this one is laid out at all. It is very spread out. There are several thousand acres, with the main buildings and accommodations located quite a distance from each other. The main building is one place. The water park is down the road. The stables are up the road. The hotel is in another location. The condos are spread out in several places. 

Once we arrived at the resort and checked in, we decided to enjoy some of the many, many activities they have to offer. 

Maya's face cracks me up in this one. She is loving this go-cart ride!
Ben was a flying, flipping, bungee jumping machine!

Team 1 . . .
Team 2 . . . 

The water park was pretty impressive . . . 

Hiking is one of our very favourite things to do . . .
Riding time . . .
My horse-loving girl was very happy . . .
Austin had the best looking horse (Cappy) . . . 
Ben was excited to go on his first trail ride . . .

As part of our stay, Bob and I had to sit in on a tour and presentation of the timeshare aspect of the resort. We agreed to do so and were under the impression that it would be a two hour presentation. Unfortunately, the tour lasted three hours and fifteen minutes. Absolutely ridiculous. Our children were waiting for us to take them to the water park and, we were not interested in buying a timeshare at this point in our lives (and with our budget). It was the only negative aspect to our time away. Even though it was very frustrating, we would go back to this resort again (as long as we didn't have to endure the tour  another time). Everything else was enjoyable.

The rest of the time we enjoyed being together, eating in restaurants (which is such a treat for us), meeting delightful people and gazing at the beautiful scenery. The autumn colours were starting to pop and the views were breathtaking. You can see the ski slopes in the background . . .

Autumn in Virginia is a joy to experience. And we are so thankful {to the Father and to our generous friend) for a little refreshing holiday away. 


Friday, September 27, 2013

God is the solution to every problem

Here is the latest update from my husband on what God is doing in our country . . .


One of the communities around the country that IFA enjoys walking with is in Winchester, VA, about 30 minutes from our office.  A local reporter published this article last Friday after attending one of the weekly prayer gatherings and interviewing participants.   It’s pretty encouraging considering she is a neutral observer.

Winchester hosted a Discovery Weekend with IFA this past spring to cast vision for spiritual awakening for their city.  To learn more about Discovery Weekends, visit

I thank each of you for praying for us and investing with us as we assist different neighborhoods across America in preparing for spiritual awakening and revival.


Bob Royce
Intercessors for America
Mobilization Coordinator
PO Box 915
Purcellville, VA 20134
540-317-2097 Direct

Group praying for city, county

Posted: September 20, 2013
By Teri S. Merrill
Special to The Winchester Star
Pray Winchester meets at 8 a.m. Fridays in the War Memorial Building at Jim Barnett Park, Winchester, to pray for blessings upon Winchester and Frederick County.

WINCHESTER — Christians from various non-denominational churches are joining together one morning each week to pray for the city of Winchester and Frederick County, and they believe their efforts are bringing tangible results.

The group, Pray Winchester, meets at 8 a.m. Fridays in the War Memorial Building at Jim Barnett Park, Winchester, to pray blessings upon Winchester and Frederick County, according to Rusty Haws, one of the organizers.

Pray Winchester has been meeting for about three years and has remained fairly quiet and not sought publicity, he said. However, the group would like people from other area churches to join in their prayers, he said.

Each week, about 10 people meet to pray, though the group has had as many as 25 attend, said Haws of Winchester.

This past winter, members of the group decided it was time to “get serious” about their efforts, so they joined with Christians from several area churches in a 21-day prayer service in which they publicly prayed and repented and fasted from distractions that kept them from God, such as television and computers, he said.

Since that time, the group believes that their prayers have helped bring about a “healing of the land,” said Haws.

This area, for example, has had bountiful rains this past spring and summer, whereas much of the nation is in a drought or suffering from wildfires. Many farmers here are reporting abundant fruit, vegetable, and crop harvests as well, he said.

“God changes communities when we ask for His presence. We believe our prayers are a factor,” said Bobby Alger of Frederick County, also an organizer of Pray Winchester.

Last spring, other parts of the region got a late frost, but the apple crops here were spared and are more abundant than ever, he said.

“We prayed for the presence of God and we noticed that the weather improved. We don’t attribute that to us, but to God,” said Frank Oxsen of Strasburg.

They pray for specific areas of leadership or “mountains of influence,” including education, art and entertainment, business, church, government and family, he said.

The group prayed for area businesses as the downtown walking mall was being renovated last winter, said Alger. As the work proceeded, several business owners told members of the group that the work was being done on time and efficiently.

Another business owner said that despite the mall being torn up, sales in January and February were among the best ever, said Alger. “I believe that we prayed for them, and God blessed the business owners.”

“We believe God is the solution to every problem,” said David Anderson of Stephens City. “It’s not government or politics. Who doesn’t want to see God show up and do His thing? The Bible says ‘Ask and you shall receive,’ so we ask.”

“We used to pray about symptoms, but now we pray about the causes,” said Charles Mosholder of Winchester. “Problems in this world aren’t political but spiritual. If God shows up, things change.”

Pray Winchester isn’t about the size of the group, but about having individuals who are connected to God, said Alger. The group typically chats for about 10 minutes then prays for about 45 minutes. There are no leaders or readings, and the prayer is spontaneous, he said.

Nicholas Stiso of Winchester said he was invited to join the group and believes in the power of prayer to change lives.

“I was called to do this and am personally gratified to know that God is working in my life, and I’m able to make a difference,” he said.

“The bottom line is we are moving away from God in this nation. It won’t be government that fixes problems, not food banks, and not all the things that we strive to do, but the will of God,” said Jan Anderson of Stephens City.

“Churches have grown dead and tired. We need to get serious about Christianity, and we need to follow Christ. We pray for the presence of God to come, and He will be the answer.”

Father, we thank You for raising up men and women across our country who are crying out to You for Your Presence to come and transform our lives and our land. We know Your heart is to transform and we ask for an outpouring as we repent and seek You. You are our Answer!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Flip Flop Spanish {Review}

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My Maya (age 6) has been eager to learn Spanish for a couple of years now. I've found several resources for her, but they just weren't getting us very far. She was very serious about learning this language and has asked several times. So when I had the opportunity to review See It and Say It Flip Flop Spanish from Flip Flop Learning, I knew Maya would be so excited!

I'll just start off by saying that this is a fantastic program, and Maya is thrilled with it. She came to my room to show me this just after one week of learning with Flip Flop Spanish . . .

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This two-year curriculum came beautifully packaged in a sturdy, pale-blue cardboard box. It contained three sets of flashcards, 4 audio CDs and notebook pages for the 45 lessons which were already hole-punched and shrink wrapped. There is also a whiteboard paddle (shown in the photo above) and marker, which comes with the set. My paddle was missing, but SeƱora Gose sent another one right away. This program is for ages 3-93 and is priced at $99.95.  

What I love about this program is that Maya started learning conversational Spanish from Day 1. In the very first week she learned three sentences. Wow! I remember taking Spanish in high school and university, and it just wasn't this simple. This is Spanish that she can speak right away, and let me tell you, as excited as she is, she may start speaking more Spanish than English. She is already answering our every-day questions in Spanish. She has also declared 'Me gusta! Me gusta! Me gusta!' regarding this program.

It is easy to complete one lesson per week. Older children would probably be able to do more than one lesson each week. The only "negative" aspect is that the CD lessons go a little fast for us. Since Maya is only six, she has a hard time keeping the quick pace, but it really is not much of an issue, because we continue when we are able to continue and otherwise, we just press pause and hit rewind, if necessary. It's not a big deal at all.

There are also teaching games that we plan to play once we get a little more vocabulary memorized. This program offers a wonderful way to learn for all learning styles, and we will definitely continue this curriculum with Maya throughout the remainder of this school year and the next. I am so excited that she will know another language at such a young age.

You have to love when a curriculum ends up being something that your child asks for on a daily basis. This one is a winner in my book!

And I think these are great reasons for learning Spanish that are found on the website:
  • Earn $10K or more per year, in any industry
  • Use a part of your brain that otherwise is dormant
  • Help your children with school
  • Improve logic, memory, sequencing, and wit!
  • Broaden your circle of friends
  • Enjoy travel more
  • Make more sales
  • Increase your customer base
  • Get a promotion
  • Be more involved in Missions
You can connect with Flip Flop Learning on Facebook and Twitter.

There is also an iPhone App for more vocabulary practice. 

To read more TOS Review Crew reviews, click the banner below:


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Life and flexibility

We've been out of town (I hope to share photos tomorrow), thus no regular posts from me this week. But today was back to regular life . . . back to work, back to school, back to laundry, and back to reality, which included having to leave the house at suppertime, due to a showing of said house. 

What is one to do?

How about packing a simple picnic and heading to the park? Brilliant. 

Flexibility is such a key to life, isn't it? 

And fresh air on a beautiful autumn evening never hurt anyone either!

And we drove home just in time to see this glory in the sky! Perfect! {Thank  You, Father!!!}

I hope your week is going well and that you are enjoying this adventure called life! xo