The Learning Tub!

I don’t know about you but I struggle with being able to focus and stay organized. Being on this struggle bus really makes it difficult to sit down with Ellie to have fun learning. However, I recently went around the house gathering all her learning tools and putting them in one tub. This works for both of us. Ellie’s tub is packed with learning tools that focus on her needs. Each day we grab the tub and spend an hour or two working through it. It’s filled with hours of learning fun because learning at EVERY age should be fun. What I love most about this tub is our next child’s tub will look different. You get to fill it with materials that fit your child’s specific learning goals.

Like I said, I’ve been really focusing lately with getting organized so that we can enjoy our home and each other. I believe we make life overwhelming. We think the way we run our home needs to look like everyone else’s life but it doesn’t. Do what works for you. When you feel yourself sitting on the struggle bus find a way to get off at the next stop! In fact, don’t wait till the next stop! Throw your hands up and say “Im done! Now! Let me off now!” Find a way to make life happen. That’s what I’ve been doing recently. Getting creative and finding ways to get and keep my family more organized. This learning tub is the way I make learning more organized so that it will work in our house.

What are some ways you stay organized?

Below are a few ways we engage Ellie in learning with materials from her learning tub!

Hotel hide and seek!

A few months back in Chicago we played a fun game we learned from Ryan’s Toy Review! We call it hotel hide and seek. Mom or dad hide toys around the hotel room and the child gets to seek them out! We used small unopened toys from Ellie’s Easter basket and Christmas stocking. Some of the toys were mini slime cups, mini coloring books, mini paw patrol characters and mini paint sets. Ellie loved going on a hunt around the hotel room and I loved that it gave her fun activities to play after walking around Chicago all day.

Joanne and Ken!

It’s story time!

We had just arrived in Illinois. Joanne and Ken greeted us and as we walked through their door Ellie runs into the kitchen and shouts,

“What’s for dinner Grandma?”

Although in a moment of crazy humiliation, we knew we were right where we belonged.

We are so thankful for this couple right here. They are a true blessing. They so joyfully opened their home to us for two months and were not phased in the least bit when Ellie called them Grandma and Grandpa. (She still calls them Grandma and Grandpa) 😂 They were both missionaries in Brazil so they have some awesome stories to share. Joanne is one of our dedicated volunteers in Kids Life and Ken serves in the men’s ministry. We just want the world to know that we are so thankful to call them friends! ❤️

Speak Life!

Sprout has a few new friends! Today I had Ellie encourage her Lima beans. I told her what to say and she repeated…

Your growing so big!

You’re doing a good job!

I believe in you!

We all need a little encouragement to keep growing in life. Who can you speak life into today?

Ice cream cupcake treats!

One of the most important parts of my wedding was having my class attend. They were part of the engagement and I had to have them there on that special day as well. One of the parents of a little girl in my class showed up the day of our wedding with this beautiful creation. As a gift she decided to make Ice cream cake treats. Im forever thankful to Rhonda for going out of her way to bless our wedding with so much yummy goodness. These treats were a hit with the kids and adults too.

Fun Bridal shower game!

Guys! This game was so fun and exciting at my bridal shower. Mandy gave everyone an envelope with a picture of Jessie and I inside. Only, each picture had his face replaced by some famous person or cartoon character. Everyone opened their envelope and the winner was the guest with the only picture that did not have Jessie’s face replaced. I have never laughed harder in my life. When I came across these pictures the other day I had to find a place to hang them in the house. I still laugh each time I pass them. Zoom in to discover who Mandy replaced Jessie’s face with in each picture.

What is a fun game that you had at your Bridal Shower?

My First look

I recently found a CD of a few wedding pictures. Forgive me if they pop up on my feed over the next few weeks. 🤣🤣 I love going down memory lane. This picture is one of my favorite taken by Anna Claire Issa. My sisters facial expression in the mirror gives me all the good feels. Thanks Laci Dawn for helping me feel extra beautiful on my wedding day. Anna thanks for taking such great pictures that I still obsess over 5 years later.

Wedding flowers!

I made my flowers for our wedding. I even bought fake flowers from Hobby Lobby. I didn’t see the point in spending so much money on such a small part of the wedding. I’ll always have this keep sake picture of the flowers I created. When I think back on our wedding day, what I remember most are are the ones we shared that day with and the fun we had celebrating with those we love most. If you are getting married soon; don’t stress over little things like flowers and cake (which we bought from Costco BTW). Focus on having fun and soaking up every moment of that day. However, if you do want real flowers and a fancy cake GO FOR IT! Its your day! Your choice. The best choice I made that day is saying I DO to Jessie Rayos.

Growth after the Sprout!

“Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.” Like 2:2-3

Ellie’s Lima bean has started to sprout and it’s really taking off. Did you know Lima beans can grow as tall as 2 feet? As Ellie and I continue to water her Lima bean who we now call Sprout, I am reminded of my relationship with Christ. Ellie and I realized a week in that Sprout was not getting enough sunlight. After sprouting just a little he stopped. We decided to move Sprout from the window to the outside for an entire day and almost immediately he began to grow even more. As Christians we need to move ourselves from the window to the direct source of our growth. Ask yourself the following questions. Am I taking good care of my spiritual walk with God? Am I Spending enough time in His word? Am I staying in constant communication with God?Am I surrounding myself with the right people who challenge me in my faith? As Christians it can be easy to grow a little in our faith and then stop just like Sprout did! We stay baby Christians because we stop taking care of our spiritual needs. We stop making an effort to grow. Just as Sprout needs water, soil and sunlight to grow, as Christians we need prayer, the word and fellowship to continue our spiritual growth as well. Not just one but all three. Our family plans on keeping Sprout around for a while. We might have to plant him in the garden soon. (We don’t have a garden) I am curious to see how tall he will grow to be. Just watching Him grow challenges me to take care of my spiritual growth also. What is one way you grow yourself spiritually on a daily basis?

For me, I enjoy listening to Joyce Myers. She has some good wisdom and a story that always points me to Jesus. She leaves me on fire for God. One thing I want to do again is make her podcast as well as a few other distant mentors part of my daily routine.

His promise will sprout!

“Wait patiently for the Lord.

Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” Psalms 27:14 NLT

Guys! I’m that parent. I lost my patience with this Lima bean. I’ve done this hundreds of times. I know it takes 6-18 days for sprouting to take place. Still though, seriously it’s been 5 days since Ellie planted it I should see something…. anything! Nope! Nothing! . No spouting is taking place. I decided to pour the Lima bean out and try and plant it again. Maybe I didn’t add enough soil. Maybe the bean wasn’t getting enough water. Maybe I bought the wrong soil. Is there a wrong soil? Maybe my bean was defective. That’s it! I need a new bean. As I poured the contents of the cup out I saw something amazing. The Lima bean had doubled in size. IT WAS GROWING! Something was happening even when I could not see! I quickly put it all back together after snapping a picture. Then it hit me. It was clear to me. I couldn’t deny what He was reminding my heart. When waiting on God you don’t always see what is going on (beneath the soil) behind the scenes. Be patient! His promise will sprout.