Monthly Archives: May 2014

Orange you glad it’s summertime?

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I have pinned dozens of gift ideas for teachers, but my time management skills were lacking this year, and we ended up getting gift cards at the last minute or sending belated gifts and notes to my children’s teachers. I was determined to give them something creative and fun for the end of the school year. My children’s last day of school is tomorrow, so we just modified this gift idea to make it our own. My kids love knock-knock jokes and have worn out the “Orange you glad…” jokes, but I couldn’t resist creating these orange gifts.

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Each child has a teacher and an aide in their classroom, so I wanted to keep the total cost of each gift under $10. I found orange boxes of popcorn on sale for $2 each. I had already purchased a large bag of mandarin oranges for the kids, so I added two to each gift to go along with the theme. Tropical flavored Trident gum ($1.29) rounds out the front view.

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I bought a six-pack of Minute Maid orange juice for $4. The boxes of Reese’s Pieces were on sale for $1 each. The green bags contain orange slice candy ($1 each), and you can’t see them in the pictures, but I saw some cute, orange bag clips (4 for $1) and put one on each bag of orange slices.

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A package of Goldfish ($1.67) finishes off the contents of the gifts. I already had orange ribbon left from another project, but I had to purchase the plastic wrapping paper ($4). I probably could have found some of these items cheaper elsewhere, but I had just left the twins’ well-visit, and Kroger was the closest store, and I just wanted to get it done.

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I have plenty of orange letter stickers in my scrapbooking supplies, so I let the kids put those on the tags. Big Sister wrote the rest of the wording on her tags. Hers say, “Orange you glad it’s the last day of school?” Big Brother wanted me to write his, and he wanted his own saying. The kids are supposed to say the whole knock-knock joke before giving these to their teachers. We’ll see how that goes. I’m looking forward to finally giving their teachers something cute, fun, creative, and planned, and I stayed within my budget!

My strength is in His name

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My husband recently spent three weeks away from home running a shelter for a non-profit organization. Keeping our four children fed, bathed, educated, disciplined, and healthy without him was quite a challenge. Beginning before he left, the children passed RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) back and forth for a solid month, with the twins continuously being sick through the first half of their daddy’s absence and Big Brother having RSV a second time while Daddy was gone. I eventually started sanitizing everything every day in order to rid our home of this nasty, cold-like virus.

I had planned to host two parties at our house before we found out Hubby would be out of town. The first one was an appreciation party for my team of volunteers at church, and we had already rescheduled once due to conflicts several of the volunteers had with the original date. The other was our fifth annual Easter egg hunt party, and I didn’t want to disappoint my children or the friends that had already been invited. Fortunately, my mother-in-law was able to help with the babies leading up to both parties and kept them outside during the volunteer party until it was their bedtime. They had finally recovered from their prolonged illness in time to participate in our Easter party.

While driving home one day, I heard the words to a familiar song in a new light. Chris Tomlin’s “Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies)” was playing, and the words, “My strength is in Your name,” caused me to reflect on my situation and the stress I was feeling. I love to find the scriptures from which lyrics evolve, so I searched for that phrase and similar ones until I found Psalm 124:8 (NIV).

Our help is in the name of the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

I realized that I had been trying to do everything in my own strength and not relying on God to help me get through each day. I had been praying for my husband who was working 100 hours per week without taking a day off for 21 days. I had been praying for the children to be healthy. I had been praying that I wouldn’t get sick. I had been praying for nice weather for our Easter party. But until I heard those lyrics, I hadn’t prayed for God to give me the strength and energy I needed. I hadn’t relied on His name to help me when I was feeling stressed. I began to pray differently and to whisper His name when things felt out of control. It gave me peace to know that my strength and help are in His name.

I was also reminded that God is in control even when my life is in chaos. The simple affirmation that I’m not supposed to do it all on my own allowed me to relinquish what little bit of control I thought I still maintained and ask others for help. Big Brother and Big Sister helped me get the house ready for both parties, sanitizing door knobs and anything else we could think of that the babies had touched. My mother-in-law shopped for me, kept the babies every evening, and put together the little gifts for my volunteers. My mom came early for the Easter party, diced fruit, and stuffed more plastic eggs with prizes she brought. Friends helped take my son to his baseball game, brought ice for the volunteer appreciation party, and helped with the Easter party activities. I couldn’t have done it all without dear friends and family.

The volunteer appreciation party was a success. All of our children recovered from their illness, and I didn’t get sick. Our Easter party was fun, and the weather was beautiful. My husband made it home safely and was compensated for his hard work. God is still in control. My strength is in His name.