Saturday, July 30, 2011

From my latest thrift store shopping experience....

We have done some thrift store shopping this summer, but this past Thursday was one of the best yet! When I take the girls with me, it becomes a challenge to really sort through stuff and find those "gems", so I took this opportunity while Q had the girls to go out and see what I could find. I went looking for a big basket, but did not find one. Instead, I found these items at my favorite thrift store in town--Sister Carmen's:

Backyardigans Hopsplash: 25 cents! The box was torn, so I really hope it works when we set it up this week for A to have fun with.

Soft letter and number cube: 10 cents! Little S is having fun with this already.:)

Rainbow fish puppet: 10 cents! I love collecting characters from children's books. This is a nice addition to my collection.

Little House on the Prairie book set: $2.25 (25 cents per book) This set is going to one of my nieces for her birthday. She's going to love it!

My Little Bible: 25 cents--This is a gift for Little S. We gave A a Bible for Easter, so I thought this would be neat to give to the baby as well. I'd love to make it a tradition that we always give a Bible or Bible story book to every foster child we have in our home.

Children's books: 25 cents each. The Goldilocks book is an older edition and it is also a pop-up book. It's really cute!

Little S really likes the My Big Animal book. It's full of animal pictures that any young child will love.

Children's craft books: 25 cents each. There are lots of fun things to do for A and I inside these books.

File Folder Games: 25 cents! This has never been used.:) When I see a teaching tool like this and it's super cheap I just have to buy it! The pieces have to be cut out then stored in file folders. It will be a fun way to reinforce what A is learning at school.

Crustacean Multiplication Dominoes: 25 cents. Again, it's another teaching tool for kids and I love it!

Animal Bingo: 25 cents! I really like this one, and so does A. The pieces are durable and there's even a pouch to store them in.

The animal pictures are beautiful and bright!

Duck prints: 50 cents each. I've started a collection of duck items for when I change the decor in one of the bathrooms. It will be the kids' bathroom and it will so cute with these pictures.

Ralph Loren western shirt: 99 cents! I love the look of this shirt--perfect with a pair of jeans.

Sonoma every day t-shirts: 99 cents each. These looked practically brand-new and they will be great for layering during the colder months.

Riders boot cut jeans: 99 cents! They fit great and will look good with any of the shirts shown above.

Billabong purse: 25 cents! The top part of the purse is made out of corduroy and the colors below match the clothing items that I bought on this day, too.

Did you add all that up yet? :) My grand total for this thrift store shopping trip was....


This was an awesome day full of great finds. It's fun to find unexpected treasures for incredible prices. God is so good to take care of our needs (and wants, too!)

Praises from Vacation Bible School

We had a busy week with Vacation Bible School. Like last year, we had Tim Tutton bring his Video Bus each day and teach the lessons and songs, do fun tricks, and show the videos. Every aspect of the program reinforced the truth of the Gospel. The children knew each day that God loves them and that He sent His only son to die for their sins.

Here are the praises of the week, for which we are thankful to the Lord for:

1. God gave strength each day to Mr. Tutton as he shared God's Word.
2. Two teen boys accepted Christ as their Savior.
3. The Gospel seed was planted in many hearts.
4. We had a high of 25 children on the bus (Wednesday).
5. Along with Q and I, another worker, Pat, came to help with the kids.
6. Lots of cookies were donated from members of the church.
7. Families were impacted for Christ as their children told them about what they heard on the bus.

How was your Vacation Bible School this year? I'd love to hear what God did for you.:)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Strawberry Lemon Trifle

A and I made this easy (and low fat!) dessert for a ladies Bible study last weekend. It comes from Taste of Home's Fast Fixes with Mixes Cookbook. We enjoyed every bit of it, as it was a refreshing treat during this summer heat.

Strawberry Lemon Trifle

4 ounces fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 cup fat-free lemon yogurt
2 cups fat-free milk
1 package (3.4 ounces) instant lemon pudding mix (for a creamier treat, use two boxes and double the milk)
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
2-1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries, divided
1 tablespoon white grape juice or water
1 prepared angel food cake (10 inches)

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and yogurt. Add the milk, pudding mix and lemon peel; beat until smooth. In a blender, process 1/2 cup strawberries and grape juice until smooth. Tear cake into 1-inch cubes; place a third in a trifle bowl or 3-qt. serving bowl. Top with a third of the pudding mixture and half of the remaining strawberries. Drizzle with half of the strawberry sauce. Repeat. Top with remaining cake and pudding mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Yield: 14 servings.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad Johnson!

At the end of our vacation, there was a little surprise for my in-laws. Their 45th wedding anniversary was soon approaching, so Q and his siblings decided to honor them in a special way. Since Abigail and her family were now in Colorado, this was going to be the location of the surprise anniversary bash. She and her family worked hard to decorate, cook a meal and add some unique touches to the evening.

When we walked in with Grandma and Grandpa Johnson, we saw this sign:

Her kids traced their hands and colored in their hand prints. I love all the colors in their sign.:)

This was the kids' table....

The flowers in this centerpiece were so pretty....

This was the adult table....

Abigail put some gorgeous flowers into two vases. The vases showed pictures of everyone in the family.

After a fabulous turkey dinner, it was time for dessert. My in-laws were told to close their eyes for something BIG....

That two-layer cake was quite the surprise for them! One layer had bavarian cream, while the other had raspberries and chocolate. Blackberries adorned the cake beautifully.

This event was so special to them. I'm so glad they enjoyed it. I'm thankful that they have been married for all those years....what a great accomplishment and an example to all of us.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Family reunion t-shirts

Last year, Quentin came up with a great idea for all the kids on his side of the family. He found several t-shirts on clearance at Wal-mart for me to do something with, so that they could all wear them during the reunion. Honestly, I wasn't sure what I was going to do until right before the trip. With Q's help, it all came together. We also didn't know how many children we would have in the home either, so I had to later buy t-shirts for A and Little S.

Here are a few of the shirts, beginning with Little S....

The phrase on the shirts, "I'm related to Dell Johnson" was all Q's idea. Dell is his dad, aka "Grandpa." Each shirt had an iron-on number on it, indicating their age.

This next one is Carson's, who is two years old:

I used Crayola's fabric markers to do all the writing. Each shirt had a different color on it. There are three girls, so all of them wore pink t-shirts. The boys' shirts were either white or gray, and they were all muscle shirts. There are seven kids all together, ranging from ten months to nine years old.

Here's A's t-shirt...(I picked hers up for a buck at the Dollar Tree--not bad, huh?)

This is Canon's shirt....

On the back of each shirt I wrote, "Johnson Family Reunion, 2011."

The kids all wore their shirts to a special dinner out. We received several compliments on them, too. My brother-in-law took several group pictures of the kids, but unfortunately, I'm not able to share them at this time to protect our foster daughters. Maybe some day....

So there you have it--a fun, inexpensive idea to do for your next family gathering.:)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Glenwood Caverns

One of the highlights of our family vacation was going to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

We had fun during the cave tour....

Amazing, isn't it?

My niece, Annalina, and A had a great time climbing the rock wall. This is something A has been wanting to do for a long time, so we were glad she got to do it!:)

Here's a neat picture of the wall, with Annalina climbing it.

Q and A got to go on a roller coaster ride that overlooked the valley. They both said that they would definitely do it again if they could. There were other adventures there including a giant swing (too scary for me--check out the website to see this one!) and a maze. This is a neat place to take your family if you're looking for a Colorado adventure!:)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July fourth celebration

We returned from vacation a few days ago, and since then it has been busy getting back into the swing of things. I'm not blogging as much as before, but it's okay--Little S and A take up a lot of my time and I know it's an eternal investment. :)

So, I just wanted to share with you a few things from July fourth and from our vacation in the next few posts. First up: what we did to celebrate the holiday at our church....

We had a great Sunday School and church service. My father-in-law spoke about civil government and it was good! He got me thinking about some things. I had the opportunity to sing the National Anthem, too. It's one of my favorite songs to sing. Those who served in the military (or those who are serving currently) were honored. My brother-in-law was dressed in his "whites" and led us in prayer at the beginning of the service.

Then, we had a potluck full of lots of yummy food! A couple of days before, a few ladies, along with A and I decorated the reception hall. We bought some things at the Dollar Tree, including lanterns like this:

Hanging underneath were the tables covered with red and blue stars. We sponge-painted those onto paper using craft paint.

We also found these hanging stars that looked great mixed with the lanterns.

We placed these centerpieces on each table to finish the look. We didn't spend a whole lot of time and money doing this, but the end result looked great.

A and I also made this birthday cake for America. It was Q's idea to put the candles on. Our country is 235 years old!;0)

After the potluck, Q gave a devotional. Then, we cleaned up and finished packing for our Johnson Family reunion. Q's family was all there that Sunday morning for church and they helped us get packed up afterward. We had a busy weekend with work, the girls' family visits, etc., so it was great having them help us get on the road.

Next up...vacation! Stay tuned....