Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Job is More Fun Than Your Job

As most everyone knows by now, I left the world of public education after 17 years of teaching to become the Children's Minister at Living Stones Church. I am having a blast as the Children's
Minister. Sure there are some things about the job that aren't so fun.... like having 12 volunteers call you on the Sunday they are scheduled telling you they can't come because their hamster has a hangnail (A slight exaggeration...I have the best volunteers in the entire church and if they call me on a Sunday it is usually a VERY GOOD reason.)

Here is why my job is so fun:

This is what I did in my office yesterday. You may be saying...what is this crazy mess? It is pasta that I colored. How many of you can say that you dyed pasta in your office yesterday! :-) I am working on curriculum supplies for the next month in Kids Kanyon and an activity in the curriculum for our preschoolers called for colored pasta. I typically don't LOVE putting all the curriculum supplies together or creating things (a job for which I will be recruiting volunteers in the near future.) So I am not sure why I enjoyed doing this so much, but I had a great time. I am not usually a fan of crafts involving macaroni, but I am excited about this one. I know the kids and the volunteers that get to use this pasta are going to love it as well. Want to find out what it is used for? You will just have to stay tuned or volunteer in the Explorers class on November 6th to find out.

Anyway, I thought this was fun project that I may try to do with Anna in the near future. If you are interested in doing it yourself, here are the directions (which are totally stolen from Orange's First Look Curriculum)

SUPPLIES NEEDED: Pasta (I used Ziti, but any kind would work depending upon what you wanted to do with it), Food Coloring, Isopropyl Alcohol, Galloon Ziploc Bags, Newspaper.

1. Fill the Ziploc Bag 1/3 full with the pasta.
2. Add 5-10 drops of food coloring. You can add more or less depending upon how dark you want the color to be
3. Add 1 Capful of Isopropyl Alcohol (which means you probably shouldn't eat the pasta once it is colored. :-)
4. Zip the bag and shake until all pasta is colored.
5. Spread colored pasta on newspaper to dry.
6. Once dry, store in Ziploc container.

The pasta could be used or all sorts of craft projects or educational purposes (sorting, counting, color recognition, etc.)

Can anyone top the fun factor in their job? Happy Coloring!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

Heaven is For Real... for Kids

I received my second book from to read in exchange for a review. The book I chose this time was "Heaven is for Real for Kids" as told by Colton Burpo to his parents Todd and Sonja Burpo. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am sort of addicted to my Nook Color and digital books. However, I chose to receive this book in hardcover because it was geared to children and much prefer a "real book" when it comes to children's books.

I really enjoyed the book of the same title "Heaven is for Real" so I thought I would enjoy this as well. I also thought it would be helpful for me as a parent and as a Children's Minister.

I thought the story and the message were great. The authors did a good job of breaking down the concepts tackled in the adult version of the book to level that is appropriate for children. The main theme that ran through the book was that "Jesus really loves children." That was one of the things that struck me the most in the adult version and was glad that theme was predominant in this book as well. If there is one message that I want Anna and the kids who are involved in the Children's Ministry at Living Stones Church, that is it.

This book also passed the 2 year old test as Anna sat through the whole book as I read it to her. She loves books, but if she doesn't like one she will try to close the book and get another one. I know she didn't understand everything in it, but it definitely engaged her attention. It seems to have details that would engage children of a wide array of ages. There is the basic story that a younger child would enjoy and has some additional details that would engage older children.

If I had one criticism of the book, it would be the illustrations. I know they were done by a professional artist and I am not at all an expert of fine art. They were also based upon the observations that Colton had based upon his visit to heaven. However, I felt that the illustrations were not very clear and sort of felt like 1970's Sunday flannel graph pictures. I would say that while the illustrations are not great, the book is still worth reading.

I am glad that I own a copy of the book and think it could be a great resource for Anna when she begins to ask questions about the people in our family who we have lost in her short life (my dad, Mark's mom and Mark's brother.)

Good Intentions??

Lately, I have been realizing how my life is filled with good intentions. Before you begin to think how amazing I am with being well intentioned, you need to know that just because I have "good intentions" doesn't mean that I follow through on those intentions. I am super frustrated that I seem to be noticing more and more how I have good intentions to do something and those things are they type of person I want to be, I still have a hard time following through. Let me give you some examples:
  • There is a couple we know who I had intended on inviting over for dinner when they were newly dating because we thought we might have some things in common. We finally did have this couple over, about 3 years later. The couple is now married for over a year and expecting a baby. At least I followed through on this one, but there are many others where I was not so successful.

  • I have an acquaintance in the area who is a friend of my sister who was basically a single mom for over a year while her husband was deployed to Afghanistan. Many times throughout his deployment, I intended to call/email/facebook her to see if I could bring her a meal/babysit/help with household tasks and yet I never did it.
  • I have intended to work out and lose weight as a part of my goals for 2011. I have not really lost any weight, my workouts are inconsistent and it is almost the end of October.
  • I want to be more frugal and have intended to eat out less and cook more and yet we are still on a first name basis with many of the servers at our favorite restaurants.
  • I have great intentions as far home maintenance, cleaning and improvements and even made a chore chart for Mark and I to follow but it has gone by the wayside.
And the list goes on and on...Just blogging about this because it is frustrating to me that in so many areas I don't follow through on things in a way that I would like and that is not the person I want to be. I know that I should probably cut myself some slack because I work full time, have a two year old, a marriage to work at and am super busy in general...but I need to be proactive in being more than someone who has "good intentions." I also realize that many of these things are things that I am not very good at (cooking and cleaning) or don't enjoy very much (exercise and eating right) which makes it harder to follow through on my intentions, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't do it. Maybe by putting it out there in cyberspace, I will be better at taking action rather than just being well intentioned.

Any suggestions on how to have more than just good intentions??

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

One Call Away

I am huge fan of reading. It is one of my favorite past times. I am especially loving it since getting a Nook for my birthday. Anyway, I discovered this website called that gives you free access to books in exchange for reviewing them on your blog. So I thought I would try it it out.

The book I chose is called One Call Away by Brenda Warner.

This book, written by the wife of retired NFL quarterback Kurt Warner, is the opportunity for the author to share her life stories and how her faith has helped her through some difficult circumstances in her life.

The book is an easy read and kept my attention. I was very impressed how the author was very open with her life circumstances and how she dealt with them. It was wonderful to see how she relied on her faith as she struggled through an accident which left her son permanently disabled, a failed marriage, the death of her parents in a tornado, pregnancy losses and the pressure of dealing with NFL fame. In spite of these things, she held firmly to her faith.

However, I was a bit frustrated that this seemed to be a faith based book, but that some incidents that were recounted in the book seem somewhat contrary to the faith that she was professing. The author received a huge amount of scrutiny from the media in her husbands early days in the NFL. Most of this scrutiny was probably unwarranted and fueled by the media's ability to sensationalize things. However, it also appeared that she made some poor decisions that contributed to this media scrutiny and I felt that this book was her way of trying to explain or make excuses for the behavior.

Overall, it was an OK book. I am impressed that the author and her husband were able to hold tight to their faith and grow while being in the public eye.

Well...folks that is all for now. Happy Reading!

Weekend Re-Cap

If you read my blog last week (all 4 of you who do), you will remember that I blogged about how I was leaving Anna for the first time overnight this weekend to party in Chicago with a bunch of ladies (actually go to a Children's Ministry Conference, but partying with a bunch of ladies sounds much more exciting.) We all survived and it was a great weekend at the conference. The folks at Group Publishing really did a fantastic job with the conference.

I am still processing everything that we experienced, but here are some things I learned or came away with from the weekend:

*The Children's ministry team at LSC is amazing.....and crazy. However, I will not share any crazy stories because what happens in Chicago stays in Chicago.

*Don't try to go to downtown Chicago and expect to get a seat at a restaurant on the Sunday of the Chicago marathon. I'd be hungry too if I ran 26.2 miles (who are we kidding..I'd probably be dead if I tried to run one.) :-)

*We are doing a lot of things right in Kids Kanyon....not that we can't do more and make huge improvements, but it was encouraging to realize that we on the right track.

*Giordano's Pizza is the best pizza, but it is better at an actual restaurant than when delivered to your hotel. Just sayin'!

*We should actively involve kids in ministry and give them a vision for it as opposed to just having them be helpers. There is a huge difference between USING kids for service as opposed to MENTORING them in ministry.

*Due to the acting skills and networking of a particular member of a our team, a special needs consultant is going to come to our church for FREE to help us develop and hone our special needs strategy. SUPER STOKED!!

*Speaking of FREE, I am amazed at the amount of quality "free stuff" that was distributed. (I am a sucker for free stuff, but this was really amazing the amount of stuff they gave away. I think the retail value of the stuff I brought home was probably well over $200.)

*I am going to try to tweet more. For those of you who think I just mentioned something regarding flatulence, you may not be familiar with the social networking site Twitter. I have a twitter account, but totally don't get it. So, in my spare time I am going to try to figure all that out. It seems to be a great place to network with other people and I don't want to miss out some great ideas You can follow me at AmyOsterhout

*I am no longer recruiting volunteers, but instead working on building teams (so anyone who reads this blog and serves in Kids Kanyon can breathe a sigh of relief if you were worried that I would no longer find others to serve.)

*The Skit Guys are hilarious. I haven't laughed like that in a long time.

*I have to EXTERNALIZE everything. This was great point to remember that you constantly have to share your vision, expectations and ideas because people cannot read your minds and they forget

*I am still very inspired by people with disabilities who do amazing things. Mandy Harvey was profiled in a video and then was there live to perform. She is a musician who lost her hearing while she was in college studying music.

*We need to make sure that we are one step ahead of technology and using that to our advantage as opposed to being 5 years behind.

*I loved hearing from Jim Wideman (who has been doing Children's Ministry for 30 years.) He has so much to say that I cannot even process it all.

*I was obsessed with collection flair all weekend (little buttons to pin on your conference goofy, but don't be surprised if you see me rocking the flair in Kids Kanyon.)

*Children's Ministry is about making life transformations and not just going through the curriculum.

*What would Kids Kanyon or any other area of the church (or our lives for that matter) look like if we all chose to make a commitment to give 100% in everything we did?

Those are my initial thoughts on the weekend. I know I have much more to process and figure out how to implement into the Children's Ministry at Living Stones Church. It was great weekend and I am so thankful that LSC allowed most of the Children's Team to miss a Sunday and provided the resources for us to go. It was a great weekend.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Five years ago today, this is what we were doing.

Happy Anniversary to the best husband a girl could ask for!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Weekend

THIS is where I will be spending my weekend. SWEET HOME CHICAGO!! Chicago is one my favorite places in the world (aside from Disney World, of course). I am going to a Children's Ministry Conference with 5 other ladies who are on my team. I am excited to spend some time with these ladies and hopefully learn a lot from the conference...not to mention that I am hoping to eat some delicious pizza and maybe even a Chicago Dog or some Chicago Style popcorn. :-)

However, I am also a little bit anxious about this conference. This is the first time that I have left Anna overnight since she has been born. I know many of you may think this is crazy since she is almost 3, but I just haven't done it. I am not sure why I am anxious about it. I know everything will be fine. She is getting a Daddy/Daughter weekend and will probably have way more fun than she would if I were home. Mark is an amazing dad and I am not AT ALL worried about his ability to care for Anna over the weekend (except maybe in the area of fashion and if you see them in public and Anna is missing her pants or her hair is a crazy mess just remember that Daddy is doing the best he can in that area.) :-) I think it just more selfishness than anything else...I simply am going to miss her (and Mark, too.)

I just have to pray and trust that this is going to be a great weekend for everyone. I hope that it is for you too!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Heart of a 5th Grader?!?

Wow...2 posts in the same week. My writer's block must be going away! :-)

Something happened recently that has stuck with me and I just had to share. A couple of weeks ago, we began a 12 week class for adults at our church on Wednesday nights. Because we wanted as many adults to participate as possible, we decided to offer child care for kids from Birth through 4th grade. Our intention was to hire college students who did not go to our church to handle the child care. However, we were not able to secure the number of college students needed and knew we would need some more people to help handle the number of kids. I got the crazy, I mean brilliant, idea to ask some of our Middle School kids to help out since their youth group meets on a different night. We also decided that we would offer them 5 dollars as bribe, I mean incentive, to serving and doing what they are supposed to as opposed to being another kid for the college volunteers to manage. (They are middle school kids after all.)

Once the evening was over, I was paying all the child care workers and gave one girl her $5. She didn't know that she was getting paid for helping, but took the money and walked away. About 2 minutes later, she came back to me and handed me the $5 and said, "I don't want to take this money. I just like to volunteer." At first, I thought that she had told her parents and they told her to give it back. However, I realized that she had come from the opposite direction from where her parents were located. Her parents were busy helping clean up and could not have possibly had a conversation with her in that short time. She did this from the kindness of her heart.

As I thought about this, I thought about how amazing that was, especially coming from an 5th grader. She served simply for the joy of serving, not because she was going to get something out of it.

This really made me think about how often I do things for what I am going to get out of it instead of doing something simply because it serves someone else or because it is the right thing to do. I also wonder what kind of world we would live in if everyone adopted the heart of this 5th grade girl and just did one thing everyday simply for the joy of serving and not expecting anything in return.

I think we all have a few things to learn from the heart of this 5th Grader.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Writers Block and Randomness

Hello Friends! Sorry I have been away for so long, but I cannot seem to get my thoughts together for a decent blog post. I have about 500 different blog posts in my draft folder of things I want to blog about (all right that might be a slight exaggeration, but there are several.) :-) I don't know why I have such a writer's block. Usually writing comes fairly easy to me, but for some reason I can't seem to put the thoughts I have in to words (at least coherent words that make any sense.). I am blaming it on Mommy Brain (which is a great excuse for everything that isn't going right in your world.) :-) Anyway...I hope to share many of these posts soon so hopefully my brain will get it together. Until then, here are a few of the random things going on in my head:

*My sister is awesome. She came for a visit this weekend to hang out and give Mark and I a chance to go out for our anniversary. We saw the movie THE HELP and went to dinner at CORNDANCE TAVERN. I loved the movie and I think Corndance is quickly becoming one of my favorite restaurants.

*Mark and I celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary on Friday.

*We are celebrating our anniversary by spending the weekend apart. Great way to celebrate...huh? I am going to conference while he stays home at with Anna. I like to look at as reliving our dating days when we were living in 2 different cities. Sounds a little more romantic that way. :-)

*When I go to the conference, it will be the first time I have left Anna overnight. I know everything will be fine...just makes me a little sad that I won't see her for 2 days.

*We are considering a trip to Disney after New Years. Our original plan was to go again when Anna was 4, but I found a great deal. We do have lots of things around the house that should be done (refinishing and/or carpeting the wood floors, replacing the windows, buying new furniture, etc.) but I'd rather see Mickey Mouse. Not sure what we will do, but it is at least exciting to think about the possibilty of going back to the Happiest Place on Earth.

*My laptop is sick right now. Hoping it can be fixed, but for now I have hijacked Mark's computer. I wonder if my phone stops working Mark would let me hijack his iPhone. :-)

*I am super excited about some potential opportunities with my job at Living Stones Church and the local school down the street. More to come on this at some point.

*In a mommy brain moment, I accidentally put some grapes in the freezer a few weeks ago. Little did I know what an AMAZING snack frozen grapes can be. Now all grapes automatically go into the freezer.

*I am loving the website PINTEREST. Very cool!

*I am slowly easing back into an exercise routine after injuring my ankle 6 weeks ago (in a skydiving accident..OK so I really fell down the stairs, but skydiving sounds so much cooler.) :-) I cannot believe how much more out of shape I am now. I wasn't in great shape before, but I could carry a load of laundry up a flight of stairs without getting not so much. I have got to get back into shape.

*I have decided not to take tap class this year. I think my skills are beyond the class and should focus on my potential Broadway career. :-) Seriously, I missed the first month of class because of my ankle which would put me behind everyone else in the class and since I am not the most coordinated person in the world catching up is not easy for me. We also have a lot of other things going on in the evenings and if I were take tap there are certain weeks where I would be gone from the house every weeknight. I am kind of bummed about it, but hope to go back soon.

Well...I guess that is all the random things in my head right now. I promise to post more soon.