Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

My sister Sara with Marissa

My niece's son, Peyton with Trenton

Sara with Bethany

We have been visiting family out east and this morning I had to go pick up my Hunny at the airport. (The kids and I drove out here 4 days ago.) So, of course, this morning the roads were icy and dangerous. It took me almost 2 hours longer to pick him up and 4 hours longer to get back to my grandparent's house. There was a horrible accident, so we are thankful that we are home safely. Although the hours in the car made us all a little stir crazy.

We are having a good time and have seen many family members and friends. I grew up in this area, so there are lots of folks to visit. The kids are doing well and enjoying the extra attention from aunts, uncles and grandparents.

This evening we are having a big gathering of family to bring in the new year. I'm not sure I'll be able to stay awake until midnight...showing my age, I suppose. Or maybe the fact that I've been awake since 4 a.m.

It is interesting to think that 2007 is past. The years go by faster and faster. I'm thankful that the Lord has our days ordained and planned. I take comfort and peace knowing that He is in control. Happy New Year everyone! May God bless you and keep you in 2008.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas Day. We had a birthday party for Jesus. The kids had lots of fun opening their gifts.
It'll be hit and miss until the we get back on schedule. Have a good week!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Prayer and the Nativity

So much to write about and not enough time to write it. However I will share a few things now.

I'd mentioned Elisha in my post here. On Friday, he went home to be with the Lord. Please keep his dear family in prayer.

Saturday we finally put up our Christmas tree. It was a lot of fun. The kids are having fun with the nativity set we have especially for them. In fact, you may not have known this, but Mary and Joseph along with the shepherds arrived in Bethlehem in an SUV.
Sunday we went to see a Balloon Nativity. It was amazing! A creative worship team at a church designed this nativity out of over 1500 balloons. Here is a small part of of the nativity. My kids really enjoyed seeing this.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Making Gingerbread Houses

Icing, candy, and graham crackers...what's not to enjoy?

Here's a recipe for the icing:
3 Tablespoons of powdered meringue
6 Tablespoons warm water
4 cups confectioner's sugar

Beat for 7-12 minutes with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
Keep icing covered with a damp cloth when not using to avoid it getting hard. If the icing does get too stiff, just add a little water.

We used graham crackers to make our houses. Using a small ziploc bag as an icing bag, I cut a small hole in the corner and away they went. We let them set up for 30 minutes of so before adding the roof tops. Then we took our creations to a homeschool event where each family brought a bag of decorating candies. The girls decorated their houses showing a lot of creativity and personality.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Soft Ginger Snaps

These cookies are a favorite holiday treat around our house. I make them a lot for friends and neighbors, too. They are soft which may take them out of the "snap" category.

Ginger Snaps

¾ c. butter softened
1 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
½ c. molasses
2 ½ c. all purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
2 t. ginger
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. salt
granulated sugar

Cream butter and first amount of sugar well. Beat in egg. Mix in molasses.
Stir flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt together.
Add to butter mixture. Mix well. Shape into 1 inch balls. Roll in sugar and place on greased baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes. Makes 3 dozen.

Make sure they don't bake too long or they will not be soft.


For more Works for me Wednesday ideas check out Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer.

Craft Sale

Our homeschool group had a kid's craft sale last night. Here's a picture of Bethany at our craft table. We made all sorts of Christmas crafts and even some chocolate covered pretzels. The whole experience is fun for us all.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Thankfulness Disguised

Lately I've been held captive. I believe the captor is God Himself. I've shared in the past that I've been studying about His holiness. This study continues to deepen my awe of Him and sharpen the awareness of my own sinfulness. On top of that, He is using the words of others to stir in me a strong compassion for the hurting. Some blogs, some emails, some phone conversations, all words of others in need of prayer. Some have lost babies (iddy, biddy ones), some have cancer, some are facing financial strain, some of their marriages are in trouble and yet there are still others. The reality of pain and suffering has made me rely on HIM all the more.

Alistair Begg, in an article titled Pain: God's Megaphone said, "Each of us must recognize how easy it is to think little of God when all is well on the outside. But what a change occurs when, for example, the biopsy comes back positive. A sharp blast of anxiety comes to shatter any illusions of self-sufficiency. How kind of God to rouse us and bring us to the place of dependence."

My heart is tender for these ones who have gone through such suffering and pain. They have walked through trials deep and dark. Their testimony is sweet, still honest about the hurt. They know that God is on the throne. That He has a plan for their lives. That He will carry them.

I am learning from them.
I am learning an utter thankfulness for each day I have with my hunny and children.
I am so thankful for good health and I do not want to ever take that for granted.
I am learning to pray earnestly for those whom I don't know--or know only through the blogosphere.
I am thankful for God, my Rock and my Refuge, in whom is my Hope.

If you are so inclined read some of their stories. Pray for some of their hurts. Get ready to be changed.

Joseph--a 3 year old just diagnosed with an aggressive tumor called anaplastic astrocytoma.
Tristan--a 6 day old little boy born with a genetic disorder (trisomy 18) that will most likely end his life shortly.
Poppy Joy--a blog dedicated to a sweet baby girl who is now in heaven. Her parents share their amazing testimony and journey down a road they never thought they'd travel.
Elisha--7 years old, just had his second heart surgery. He and his family are missionaries in Alaska.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Golden Potato Soup and Honey Wheat Rolls

We are having a carry-in lunch after church tomorrow. The theme is soup and bread. So I'm bringing this combination.

Golden Potato Soup
3 c. potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped onion
15 oz. can chicken broth
2 carrots, chopped
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch black pepper
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. chopped ham OR 1/2 c. cooked and crumbled bacon

In a large stock pot, combine first 6 ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until vegetables are tender. In separate bowl, mix flour and milk. Once it is well blended, add to soup mixture and cook until soup becomes thick. Stir in cheese and ham and simmer until cheese is melted.

[Note: I omitted the celery and the ham/bacon with good results.]

Honey Wheat Rolls
8 oz. warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 c. honey
1 large egg, beaten (or 2 egg whites)
2 c. bread flour
1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
2 teaspoon dry yeast

Put the ingredients into your bread machine according to manufacturer's instructions. Set on "dough". When it is finished shape into rolls (about 12-18 depending on size). Let rise and bake until done.

These rolls are a favorite of our family. The recipe is especially precious to me because my friend Julie shared it with me. The recipe card is in her handwriting. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her. I miss her.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Sweeties

Do you love chocolate and peanut butter? Then you are in for a treat with these sweeties!
Plan ahead because they need to chill.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Sweeties
1 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. butter
3 c. confectioners sugar
5 dozen pretzel twists
1 1/2 c. milk chocolate chips
1 T. vegetable oil

Beat peanut butter and butter together. Mix in sugar until well combined. Shape into 1-inch balls. Press onto pretzels. Place on wax papered baking sheet. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

In heavy pan, melt chips and oil. Dip peanut butter ball into the chocolate while holding onto the pretzel. Place back onto baking sheet. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

Makes 5 dozen.

Oh, so yummy!

Christmas Gifts for Kids

This idea came through our homeschool email loop. I'd heard of this before and thought I'd share it here.

"We give our kids 3 presents for Christmas just as the Wise Men gave Jesus. Frankincense was burned before worship, so the gift is something that pertains to how the kids spend their time with God (a new worship CD, bible, Focus on the Family magazine). Myrhh was an annointing oil so the gift is something to annoint their bodies (fancy soaps, sparkly lotion, bathrobe). Their gold gift is the gift they've really been wanting (special toy, CD player). You can take this even further and wrap the presents in special papers. The kids have enjoyed it, it sure helps mom's budget, and it passes the true story of Christmas in a hands-on way."

Friday, December 7, 2007

First Sunday of Advent--Hope

I intended to write this post sooner, however it's here now and still before the Second Sunday of Advent. :) I'll try to get a picture of our wreath to show you.

I made an Advent wreath (styrofoam flat circle, candles--3 purple, 1 pink and 1 white, and greenery wrapped around it). Each Sunday we light a candle and read selected Scriptures. This past Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent. We lit the first purple candle and read Scriptures about hope. [Hope--confidence, trust, eager expectation, longing.] For example: hope through the prophecies of the coming Savior (Genesis 49:10, Jeremiah 23:5-6, Micah 5:2-4 and Matthew 2:6). Each evening of this week, we've read more Scriptures about hope~examples of hope-Noah, Abraham and David, hope in the Christmas story-Joseph, Mary and Simeon and Anna.

This coming Sunday we will light the second candle along with the first. The second purple candle is for peace [completeness or soundness resulting from God's presence and forgiveness].

The third Sunday is joy and the pink candle. [Joy--delight, gladness, contentment and cheerfulness that focuses on the character and acts of God.]

The fourth Sunday is love and the last purple candle. [Love--the very nature of God, shown by His Son and put into the hearts of His children by His Spirit.]

Christmas Eve--the Christ Candle which is a little taller than the rest and is white. The Christ candle represents the One who is the center of the whole celebration and the center of our lives.

This Advent celebration is a time that we all look forward to. It certainly focuses our thoughts on Christ.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Quick Meals

Today's Works for Me Wednesday is a "What do I fix" Edition. This is a great idea because as Shannon has said--we all have those days when it's 5:00 and we have no clue what we are going to make for supper. So, new visitors, thanks for stopping by and checking out what I make for supper in a pinch. I hope you feel welcome and at home. Come back anytime!

Before I share what I fix when I have no plan--I want to say that I was hoping this was going to be "Backwards WFMW" because I have a question. If you are so inclined, leave an answer in the comments and I'd be so grateful. My question: Is it acceptable and dare I say, perceived as loving and thoughtful to email our family Christmas newsletter? The list of family and friends that we send Christmas newsletters and pictures to is around 100. It can't be shrunk. Let me know what you think, please.

Okay, on to my quick meals...

Chicken and Stuffing
Preparation time is 10 minutes, cook time 30 minutes. You will need chicken (boneless, skinless, brea*sts), stuffing, and cream of mushroom soup. The recipe is linked with the title. Good!

Breakfast for Supper
Pancakes or scrabbled eggs are fair game for supper at our house. I have an easy recipe for pancake mix.
2 c. any combination of flours (I like to use whole wheat and oat, other options rye, white, rolled oats, wheat germ, cornmeal, etc.)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix these dry ingredients. [You can make several batches of this recipe and store in freezer sandwich bags or containers in the frig. or freezer until ready for use.]

Add these ingredients when you are ready to make the pancakes:
2 c. milk
1 egg
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey

Mix until just until blended. Pour on hot sprayed griddle.
Other easy meals:
  • spaghetti (sometimes I have already browned meat in the freezer, sometimes we eat it meatless.) Bag of ravioli that Shannon mentioned is a quick pasta meal too.
  • Egg noodles cooked according to package directions, then mixed with a can of cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup (sometimes I have already cooked, cubed chicken in the freezer, sometimes we eat it meatless). A frozen veggie, like peas or broccoli, can be added.
  • Salad with chopped chicken, carrots and croutons
Here are a couple things I do to try to AVOID the "5 o'clock and no plan for supper" syndrome.
  • Cook and freezer batches of ground beef and chicken. I usually freeze them in 2 cup quantities. Label with date. I try to do this every couple months.
  • Plan for supper by 10 a.m. Get meat out of freezer, put bread in the bread machine, etc.
Well, I think that's it for now. It's 10:40 a.m. and I need to go plan for supper. :)

Thanks Shannon for hosting. Be sure to go to Rocks in my Dryer for more quick meal ideas.

Jan Brett Website

If you enjoy Jan Brett's books (like The Hat and The Mitten), you will love her website. She has tons of free coloring pages, activities, games, e-postcards, etc.
Go check it out.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Holiness of God a study continued

I've continued to study the holiness of God. This morning I compared Isaiah 6:1-4 with Revelation 4:1-11. The worship of the seraphim (in Isaiah) and the living creatures (in Revelation) is nothing short of deeply intense. In Revelation the living creatures never stopped saying
"Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of His glory!"

and their worship prompted the 24 elders response of:
"Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
To receive glory, and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created."

The study guide asked me to compare my worship (personal and corporate) to the worship in this passage. Is there any comparison? Truly "Woe is me." Privately, I often come to Him in a routine, dutiful way that lacks any real praise and worship of Him. It's almost as if my time with Him is a chore I need to check off my "to do" list. Corporately in church, I find that music is a good catalyst to help me focus my thoughts on Him. I can usually block out the things on my mind and think about Him. Taking notes as the pastor is speaking is another way that I honor Him and focus. Especially when I go back over my notes during the week. Still I certainly lack the fervor and passion exuded in Revelation by the living creatures and 24 elders.

Why? I have so much to be thankful to Him for, so much to praise Him for, so much to need Him for. Sometimes I feel removed from the presence of God. I see His handiwork, His works of faithfulness and grace, but the creatures and elders were RIGHT there beside the throne. How can I sit there? Of course, like Isaiah (and much more so) I'd fall on my face--covering my head and wanting to hide. But to be there....

A.W. Tozer said:
We cannot grasp the true meaning of the divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of. God's holiness is NOT simply the best we know, infinitely better. We know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible, and unattainable. Only the Spirit of the Holy One can impart to the human spirit the knowledge of the holy.
So that is what I pray for. I pray that God would impart to me the knowledge of His holiness and that this knowledge would invoke in me the realness of my sin and His utter holiness.

The Nativity

Bethany and little Boy are enjoying acting out the Nativity. Bethany is the director, for sure, however she is kind and loving in her attempts to get her brother to play along.

Bethany and I made the paper scene of the shepherds "abiding in the field" (Luke 2:8-14). It was easy with the patterns from Life of Jesus Activity Book by Anita Reith Stohs. Today we will add on with the manger scene. Just a note about the book, it is recommended for ages 8-12 as it has some more difficult word puzzles. However this activity was just right for Bethany and mom to do. When we were finished, Bethany exclaimed, "Mom, this is awesome!"

We also started the "Jesse Tree". We received ours from God's World News, a magazine for kids. The magazine has different magazines for different ages, ending with the "World". It contains world news and events presented from a biblical world view.

Our Jesse Tree is actually just a poster, however I'm loving the simplicity of it. Maybe next year, we'll get more creative.
I googled "Jesse Tree" and found these results for those interested in seeing what it is or making one. Note: I did NOT investigate these sites thoroughly.
Making a Jesse Tree

Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments

Yesterday I finally succeeded at making Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments. I have made them in the past years, but for some reason I couldn't get these to turn out right. I figured it out---DO NOT USE UNSWEETENED APPLESAUCE! I ruined 3 batches, tried 2 different recipes and frustrated myself and the girls before I realized that in the past I've used Aldi's applesauce~sweetened and full of preservatives. The girls and I finally rolled out the dough and made sweet little ornaments which we will sell at our local homeschool craft sale (next week). Here is the recipe:

1 cup applesauce *sweetened and store-bought
1 cup cinnamon
1 Tablespoon of white school glue

Mix applesauce and cinnamon together with hands until well mixed. Add glue and mix again. Roll out dough on wax paper to about 1/4 inch thick. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes and put a hole (either with a straw or skewer) allow to dry for 2-3 days. Turn once a day or so to avoid curling.

One last note, make sure that your hunny doesn't have plans to turn off the water during this project. Prolonged exposure to large amounts of cinnamon and applesauce will make the dry skin on your hands hurt. We speak from unfortunate experience.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Colossals

I did a bunch of baking yesterday. I made banana bread, chocolate chip cookies and these peanut butter oatmeal cookies. The recipe makes around 5 dozen cookies, depending on the size you make them. I found this recipe years ago in one of those church recipe books.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Colossals

1 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
4 eggs
1 t. vanilla
2 c. chunky peanut butter
6 c. quick oats
2 1/2 t. soda
2 c. chocolate chips

Mix first 6 ingredients thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Drop a rolled teasponful into powdered sugar, then place on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

These cookies freeze well and are so good.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Keeping Christ the Focus of Christmas

I recently did some research for an article for our local homeschool newsletter. With all the commercialism of Christmas, how do we keep Christ our focus? Here's some of what I found, along with some things we do as a family.

Little Acorns Treehouse has a great post about learning about Advent and Christmas.

Noel Piper has written a wonderful book entitled Treasuring God in our Traditions. In the book, she says,
“Christmas is only one small part of a whole year of living, working and ministering in our churches and to our neighbors, of meeting our family’s physical needs, of teaching our children. Just one small part of the year—but with our hearts and spirits open in anticipation and excitement, what an ideal opportunity for remembering and teaching.”

Family Celebrations: Meeting Christ in your holidays and special occasions and Family Celebrations at Birthdays and for other vacations and other holidays and Family Celebrations for Christmas all by Ann Hibbard

Some of the things we do in order to keep our focus on Christ during the Christmas season:
  • Set up a nativity scene--a wooden one the little ones can play with
  • Set up and celebrate Advent--with a wreath of candles and selected Bible readings
  • Attend local Christmas programs at other churches
  • Sing carols at a nursing home
  • Give a gift to a ministry such as a crisis pregnancy center
  • Participate in Angel Tree or other giving ministry
Our desire as parents is that our children will see and experience that Christmas is about Christ--that He came down as a baby, gave His life to satisfy the wrath of God for OUR sins. That is the greatest gift!!

What traditions do you have in your family that keep the focus on Christ?


We were gone for Thanksgiving--we headed east--12 hours east. We went to see my PopPop, Uncle, Aunt and family. The car ride was long, but good. The kids did great. Baby Boy had one major melt-down where he screamed "OUT!" "OUT!" for a loooonnnggg time.

I ended up getting an ear infection while I was there--I have no idea where it came from. I don't even remember the last time I had one. Anyway, there it was, major ear pain 12 hours from home. I did okay though. Tylenol and motrin kept the pain away.

It was great spending time with family. The cousins played well together. Now that we are home we are trying to get back into some sort of routine. Easier said than done. On Pleasant View Schoolhouse, I read a post about deep cleaning one room each day. You can go here to see her method. I used a little of her method and mixed it with my own and today we deep cleaned the living room. I made 3x5 cards one for each room of the house. Each card has a list of the things that need to be done in that room. Then each day, one of the girls picks a card (without looking) and we clean that room. After the room is clean, I made a "Reward Chart" and the girls get to put a sticker for the room we cleaned. It worked. My living room is clean and sparkling. It almost made me want to just go ahead and clean the rest of the house! However, that's not a wise choice considering all the other things I need to get done in a day. Hopefully we will be able to keep the living room clean and then every day add another one to the clean side.

I used Pleasant View's idea about using fragrant cleaning water and furniture polish. I used a lemon~oil polish and lemon scented liquid lysol. For my windows, I just use hot water, a microfiber cloth and lots of elbow grease. I also make sure I dry it thoroughly with a cotton cloth. The girls took care of the walls and baseboards with the lysol water. We all put forth a lot of effort and Baby Boy did his part by putting toys away (and by getting into the tub and pouring shampoo over his hair--but we're focusing on the positive here).

Well, at the current schedule, we'll be done the whole house Wednesday of next week. Yippee!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Homemade Applesauce

Do you remember the abundance of apples I told you about last week? Well, the girls and I made applesauce and put it in the freezer. It was very easy and fun to do together.

We peeled and cored all the apples, then we sliced them very thin. Bethany's job was putting them in the large pot. I put about 1/2 cup of water in the pot and turned it on med.-low until the apples were soft and gushy. Then I blended them in my blender, poured into 2-cup containers and placed them in the freezer.

It was fun and it tastes so good.

Stuck on the Holiness of God

I've been studying about the holiness of God since Sunday. Really only 3 days now, but it's been a long 3 days.

Anyway, I'm reading RC Sproul's book called "The Holiness of God". I read (I think it was in the study guide) that as one studies the holiness of God, one realizes more and more clearly her own sinfulness. I have been praying that my heart would be open to learn more about who God is and what it means that HE is HOLY. It's sort of like praying for patience--the way you get it is by practicing patience...meaning, you are put in situations that demand your patience. SO, I'm praying that I'll learn about His holiness, which in turn will show me more of my sinfulness.
This is tough stuff.

Here is a quote from the first chapter of Sproul's book. It is kind of long, but worth the read.

"How we understand the person and character of God the Father affects every aspect of our lives. It affects far more than what we normally call the "religious" aspects of our lives. If God is the Creator of the entire universe, then it must follow that He is the Lord of the whole universe. No part of the world is outside His lordship. That means no part of my life must be outside His lordship. His holy character has something to say about economics, politics, athletics, romance--everything with which we are involved.
God is inescapable. There is no place we can hide from Him. Not only does He penetrate every aspect of our lives, but He penetrates it in His majestic holiness. Therefore we must seek to understand what the holy is. We dare not seek to avoid it. There can be no worship, no spiritual growth, no true obedience without it. It defines our goal as Christians. God declared, 'Be holy, because I am holy.' (Leviticus 11:44)
To reach that goal, we must understand what holiness is. "

For now I'm stuck on the holiness of God and I think that's right where I need to be.

Monday, November 19, 2007

God's Holiness and difficult Mondays

Today has been a hum-dinger of a Monday. Little boy has given me such a hard time today--all day. Since this morning, early this morning. I'm worn out. I've tried my best to be consistent in discipline. On top of him, the girls have had an equally hard day. I'm really worn out.

I'm looking forward to my Hunny coming home.

Yesterday in church, however, we were ushered into the throne room of God, and there we reverently took a glimpse of His holiness.
Revelation 4: 8b

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.

We Fall Down by Chris Tomlin
We fall down
We lay our crowns
At the feet of Jesus
The greatness of
Your Mercy and love
At the feet of Jesus
And we cry holy, holy, holy
And we cry holy, holy, holy
And we cry holy, holy, holy
Is the lamb

I've been trying to make sense of today, especially in light of God's holiness. I feel awfully defeated and honestly far from God's holiness. I do realize apart from Him, I can do NOTHING. And I'm sure He's the only reason I haven't snapped today.

Above all, I believe He is good, faithful and yes, holy. And not.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

2:30 a.m. Search for Tooth

My sweet Bethany lost her second tooth yesterday. She proudly and promptly put it in a ziploc baggie and wrote her name on it. Then because she wanted to share the joy, she took it to church last night to show her AWANA leader.

In the middle of the night, I awoke to find her at my bedside. She couldn't find her tooth. The baggie was there, but no tooth. She was sad. She'd wanted to put it under her pillow and forgot before bed. Now was as good a time as any, hence the need for the tooth.

I told her I'd put my glasses on and be right in to help her look for a teeny tiny tooth...lost who knows where. She was sincere and so sad, which just melted my tired heart into a puddle of love for her.

I found my way to her room and gazed in the baggie...only to find...

the missing tooth!

It wasn't missing at all. It was hiding behind the letters of her name. All is well. My little girl was able to go back to sleep with a smile on her face and a tooth in a baggie under her pillow.

She will awaken this morning to find that her daddy replaced the tooth with a coin.


The Reason for Blogging

CitizenLink had an interesting article about how blogging can be a way of communicating the truth of the gospel to people who otherwise might not listen to it. There was a conference for Christian bloggers called "GodBlog". It's purpose was "to assist them in taking advantage of new media, understanding its impact on society and engaging the culture for Christ".

The article also commented on how the messages need to be "communicated with authenticity, intelligence and a fair share of common sense" in order to be heard.

I hope that's what you find here...the truth of God's Word being communicated with authenticity, intelligence and a fair share of common sense. Not that every day I will be talking specifically about a Biblical truth, however that the tone and underlying principles are a representation of my relationship with my Savior.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

TMJ Relief

Okay, so I grind my teeth at night. I know, a bad habit (I could have added it to my list yesterday). It's the kind of bad habit that I'm unaware that I'm doing it. As opposed to the bad habits that I do in full awareness (eating chocolate chips right from the bag, just as an example, not saying I do that or anything, uh, umm).

Years ago a dentist fit me with a very expensive mouth guard that I bit through in less than 5 days. Glad that worked.

A couple months ago I purchased a mouthguard from Walmart's sporting goods department...for $2.88. I followed the directions, boiling it, fitting it to my mouth, and now wearing it every night. Let me tell you folks, relief! Relief like I never felt. Almost NO popping of my jaws, no lock-jaw and whatever other wretchedness came upon me each night. Relief.

Relief has come. But not without a price. And no I'm not talking about the $2.88 I spent at Wallyworld. Look at the's hideous. I had to take a picture of it because you wouldn't have believed me otherwise. What's that you say, couldn't I have found a clear one or some other fashion color?? No, not me, although I did try. This one is double cushioned and apparently I need that extra cushion because I haven't bit through this one...yet. I do see evidence of much wear and tear, but for now this is working for me.

And my hunny, well, he's gotten used to sleeping with Frankenstein. I've got one understanding man and boy am I thankful.

Run right over to Shannon's Rocks in My Dryer for more Works for Me Wednesday ideas.
And, just for the record, I don't store my mouthguard in the kitchen with the abundance of apples.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Let's Get Real

What is one good habit that I have?
I love to encourage others.

What is one bad habit that I have?
I don't stick to my routine whether it be cleaning, exercise, Bible reading, eating well, etc.

What is one habit that I would like to cultivate in my life?
Sticking to my routine!

There you have it folks. My habits~for all to see. If you'd like to participate or see others' habits, visit Randi at "I Have to Say". Randi also has neat crafts and tutorials. Go visit her!

Apples in Abundance

A friend of ours called yesterday and said he had a bunch of extra apples. He asked if we'd like some...would we? Yes, indeed. So, I made an apple crisp for dessert last night. This is the recipe I used:

Apple Crisp

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease or spray an 8 or 10 inch baking pan or 1 1/2 qt. casserole dish generously.

2. Place in pan or casserole dish:
4 cups sliced apples, peeled and cored

3. Blend until crumbly; spread evenly over fruit slices:
1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour (I used regular whole wheat flour)
1/2 c. quick or old fashioned oats, uncooked
1/2 c. cystalline fructose or Sucanat (I used brown sugar)
3/4 t. cinnamon
3/4 t. nutmeg
1/3 c. soft butter

4. Bake uncovered in preheated oven for 30-45 minutes or until apples are tender.

This recipe is from Sue Gregg's Cookbooks "Desserts" This recipe book features lowfat and allergy alternatives.

My Hunny came home to the luscious smell of warm apples and cinnamon. That's quite a welcome home if I do say so myself.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Baby Bliss

Yesterday I went to a baby shower for a dear friend and her two week old sweetie pie. Oh, the bliss of holding a new baby, a peanut snuggled in your arms. oh my. Caleb, the baby, slept most of the time--even with different people getting their love-tanks full of him. This sweetie is an amazing answer to years of praying...a living testimony to God's faithfulness and greatness. baby bliss.

I love this quote by Elizabeth Prentiss:

Here is a little mouth to kiss;
here are two more feet to make music with their pattering about my nursery.
Here is a soul to train for God, and the body in which it dwells is worth all it will cost, since it is abode of a kingly tenant.
I may see less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all.
Yes, my precious baby, you are welcome to your mother’s heart, welcome to her time, her strength, her health, to her most tender cares, to her life-long prayers!
Oh how rich I am, how truly, how wondrously blest!
We love you Caleb, and your parents too!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Ollie's Bargain Outlet

I love a good deal. And today I actually found some good deals at Ollie's Bargain Outlet. The store isn't close to our house (good thing), but I had some other errands to do in that vicinity so what's a girl to do but stop!

One thing I really love to browse through are the books at Ollie's. The books are new and usually I can't find any thing wrong with them...and they are cheap!

I found these two books for Trenton for Christmas...for 99 cents each. Yippee! The Story of Gettysburg and The Story of Benjamin Franklin both by written by Patricia A. Pingry and illustrated by Stephanie McFetridge Britt. They retail for $6.95 a piece and I've linked you to Christian Book Distributers (CBD) who sells them for $5.49 each.

Marissa found some Mandie books also for 99 cents each. They usually sell for around $5.

The other fun thing about Ollie's is that you don't really know what you'll find there--it's like a treasure hunt every time. The store sells a host of other things also, however usually I spend most of my time looking through the books.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Works for YOU Wednesday

Today is BACKWARDS Works for Me Wednesday. Instead of me telling you some clever tip, I'm going to ask YOU a question and you leave me clever tips. Thanks Shannon for hosting! I have lots of questions, like this one about a frying pan, however today I'm wanting new ideas for frugal Christmas gifts. You see how many people responded to my question about a frying pan (zero, zilch, nada); I sure hope this question gets a better response.

Our budget doesn't allow for much gift-giving, so mostly we get a few things for our children and we try to get something for our nieces and nephews. So, I'm looking for ideas for children,15 years old and younger.

Over the next couple days I'll share what ideas I've done in the past few years, but today I want YOUR ideas.

Thanks!! And visit Rocks in my Dryer for more Works for me Wednesday--BACKWARDS.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I'm just not up for the challenge

I know all one of you have been waiting for the update on the Fall Organizational Challenge that I said I was thinking of participating in. I just can't do it. Can't muster up the gumption to partake this time. I'm not even sure why...just can't that's all. Maybe in the spring.

However, if you are so inclined, hop on over to Laura's and join the challenge. And let me know you did. I'll cheer you on.

At Home

We have been home now for a couple days with no outside appointments or places to be. Very nice! Especially since we are sharing one vehicle...the days that I don't need to go anywhere, my Hunny can just take the van to work. So we've been tackling school one day at a time. Overall, things are going well and the girls are doing very well in their schoolwork.

Here is Marissa at the table doing her math.

Here is Trenton singing "My God is so BIG!" How cute is that? Yes, he is standing up in his chair, but right after I snapped this picture I made him sit down.
Here is Bethany making her Thanksgiving Turkey. And below is the finished work. The turkey's body is her foot and of course the feathers are her hand prints. And I even remembered to put the date on the back. :) Bethany has her apron on because she helped me bake some lemon bars (from a box mix). My sister, Sara gave me quite a few boxes of these lemon bars. Guess we just aren't lemony people because none of us like them. However we had a fun time making them.
Hope you all are having a good day!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

New Sidebar Links

I love this time of year. The fall weather is beautiful.

I added a couple links on my sidebar. My sister has started her own photography business; so if you live in Maryland and need a photographer--give her a call. And my Uncle Tim has his own business--he coverts 8mm movie reels to dvd's. He also sells homemade birdhouses, walking sticks and decorated miniature hay bales. I'm hoping to post a picture of my birdhouse soon--I love mine. He also lives in Maryland, but can operate his business through the mail.

Well, I've got to catch up on housework.
Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Movie Worth Seeing

I heard a Family Life Today broadcast yesterday while in the van. It was about a new movie coming out called "Bella". The broadcast has me hooked...I want to see this movie. If you are able, and it's opening in your city this weekend--GO! and show your support for good clean movies.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Chuck Swindoll

Our kids like to listen to the radio show, Paws and Tales. This Bible-based show is part of Chuck Swindoll's ministry. One can find articles, encouragement, and lots more on his website.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Cool Math Site

Did I just say "cool" and "math" in the same title?? Yes, I believe I did! I have to admit when I was in school, I did NOT understand math. I struggled something awful with it. Now as I homeschool, I'm learning things for the first time...and understanding them. Funny how that works.

Last night Marissa and I found a cool math website with games, definitions, examples, etc. on it. We had so much fun navigating the different areas and playing some of the games. Some require strategy like "connect 4" others require skill like "invaders".

Now, the name of the site we aren't quite sure about--Maths is fun. What is "maths"--the plural of "math"? I always thought math was like the word "deer", the plural also being "deer".

Anyway, it is a neat website! Check it out!

And I'd like to dedicate this entry to our good friend, Ben. He is a highschool math teacher--extraordinarily brilliant in his field. He adapted this quote:
Math is cool.
There is nothing cooler.
If cool were a kingdom,
Math would be the ruler.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fall Organizational Challenge

I just might be a sucker for punishment...or a really weird person who likes to purge the rooms and closets of her house. I suppose you'll have to determine which one.

I'm thinking about joining the Fall Organizational Challenge sponsored by Laura at Organizing Junkie. You can find the details on her blog. It is easy to be a part of it...the hard part is the actual cleaning. I may choose a small space this time instead of the large space I chose last time. :)

So, stay tuned, join the challenge with me and come November 1st....everything MUST go! (in that one small space, that is).

Hundred Acre Wood Personality Test

Yes, this is another personality test. This one is cute and fun. I've always liked classic Pooh--ever since I was little. So, walk on over to the Hundred Acre Wood and find out who you are most like. If you take it, let me know in the comments. Thanks Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie for the link.

Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Farm Girls learn Monoprinting

So, we Farm Girls aren't just learning how to plant and harvest. Tonight we learned monoprinting. One of the new ladies to our group is an artist and she taught us this style of painting/printing. I looked up some links so you could get a idea what it is...unless you already know in which case the rest of this entry may be of no use to you.

This article is cleverly called "How to Make Monoprints".
Kinderart offers this lesson activity with step by step instructions for monoprinting.

The internet, of course, offers more information that I could ever need or digest about this subject, so let's move on to a short explanation of how we did ours.

We used acrylic paints and the friend who taught us brought the rollers. (They probably have a far more technical name, but the word "rollers" gives us visual learners a good mental picture.) She also gave each of us a piece of cardboard with a gallon sized ziploc bag around it. This is what we used to squirt our paint on and roll it around. Very easy. After the paint was rolled around, we made some sort of drawing. We used the eraser end of a pencil, q-tips and cotton balls to make my pictures. Now the picture is drawn (etched) in the paint, we placed a piece of paper over the drawing and pressed it down (without sliding it around). Then we lifted it up and presto--a picture! Here is one of my monoprints.

It was fun and easy (although somewhat messy). I'm going to make cards out of some of the prints.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Books I'm Reading

To Fly Again: Surviving the Tailspins of Life by Gracia Burnham with Dean Merrill
What a Husband Needs from His Wife: physically, emotionally and spiritually by Melanie Chitwood
Discipline: The Glad Surrender by Elisabeth Elliot
I, Isaac, Take Thee, Rebekah by Ravi Zacharias

I borrowed these from the library and I'm excited about starting to read them. I read the introduction to the book by Ravi Zacharias. This is part of the intro...
"it may not be an overstatement to say that a person makes heaven or hell on earth depending on the one he or she marries. Any married person will agree, with a groan or a smile. Marriage is an extraordinary relationship. It is a commitment from which you dare not take a vacation. It demands nurture and care, and like a tender shoot, the better the care, the better the blossom. But to be sure, it is hard work."

What are you reading?

Autumn Gladness

The Glad that Autumn Brings
falling leaves
hiking trails
baking pies
babbling brooks
crisping air
glowing sunshine
whispering winds
laughing people
warming sweaters

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Good Gift

I've been given a good gift.

Oh, be sure, I've been given many good gifts. These good gifts, much like the one I've been given today, are not material in nature or temporal. To name a few:
  • my salvation: Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not by works, lest any should boast."
  • my husband and good friends: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him--a threefold cord is not quickly broken."
  • my children: Psalm 127:3 "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward."
My gift today is from a dear friend. My friend gave my husband and I a weekend by ourselves! She graciously came and picked up my kids this morning. And she doesn't want me to come get the kids until Monday morning.

Now, that is a good gift.

I've often thought that if my husband and I don't make our marriage a priority and fight for our marriage, no one else will either. Well, the Lord has taught me a valuable lesson. My friend, whose children are now grown, is giving my husband and I time make our marriage a priority.

What a good gift.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Fire Prevention Week

Some of you who know me know that I'm a fanatic when it comes to safety (and germs--but that's a whole other topic!). So when I learned that this is Fire Prevention Week, I was giddy with excitement. Not that I can't (and don't) teach my children fire prevention other times, but a whole week dedicated to fire prevention--that is a safety-lover's dream come true.

This is a great week to thank the firefighters in your neighborhood for all they do to keep you safe. Hey I might even bake some cookies to take to them! :)

This link from Toytown Treasures was sent to me by someone in our local homeschool group. I checked it out this morning and it is pretty much a "one-stop shop" to teaching fire safety. (Ahh, safety bliss!)

Hope you take time out this week to thank a firefighter AND teach your children about fire safety.

Do you have a fire escape plan?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Rock of Ages, Take My Life

We sang two wonderful strong hymns this morning: Rock of Ages and Take my Life. The more I think about the words of these hymns, I find myself praying that He, the Rock of ages, would take my life ever only all for Him.

Rock of Ages
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.

2. Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law's commands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.

3. Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.

4. While I draw this fleeting breath,
when mine eyes shall close in death,
when I soar to worlds unknown,
see thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee.
Lyrics from

Take my life and let it be
1. Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.

2. Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee;
Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.

3. Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee;
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.

4. Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise;
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.

5. Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine;
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

6. Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store;
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.
Lyrics from Timeless Truths

Sea Turtle Study

In science this week we are going to study sea turtles. For Bethany's science, I take off what Marissa is doing in Apologia Exploring Creation: Swimming Creatures. I do a shortened version for her because in kindergarten I am striving to give her exposure to a wide variety of topics.

I searched our local library for picture books about sea turtles. This is what I brought home:
Sea Turtles by Martha E.H. Rustad

Sea Turtles by Gail Gibbons Lots of facts and pictures although it does contain a page or so of evolutionary thinking.

Online I've found these resources:
Enchanted Learning Sea Turtle Coloring page and facts (A little too detailed for kindergarten, but Marissa will like it.)

Sea World offers free guides for teachers on their website. I found this one called Ocean Discovery for prek-kindergarten.

Kidz Korner has a page of links for sea turtles. Lots to be explored here.

LearnNC has a art lesson plan for drawing a sea turtle--step by step instructions.

I've found more than enough to teach her (and me) lots and lots about sea turtles. What are you studying this week?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Anne of Green Gables

Marissa and I are reading Anne of Green Gables. I do enjoy Anne's dramatic ways of saying things, although she drives me to exhaustion reading her monologues aloud. Here is a passage we recently read. Anne has just arrived at Green Gables and Marilla wants to know where the boy is.

Anne begins: "You don't want me!" she cried. "You don't want me because I'm not a boy! I might have expected it. Nobody ever did want me. I might have known it was all too beautiful to last. I might have known nobody really did want me. Oh, what shall I do? I'm going to burst into tears!"

Burst into tears she did. Sitting down on a chair by the table, flinging her arms out upon it, and burying her face in them, she proceeded to cry stormily. Marilla and Matthew looked at each other deprecatingly across the stove. Neither of them knew what to say or do. Finally Marilla stepped lamely into the breach.

"Well, well, there's no need to cry so about it."

"Yes, there IS need!" The child raised her head quickly, revealing a tear-stained face and trembling lips. "YOU would cry, too, if you were an orphan and had come to a place you thought was going to be home and found that they didn't want you because you weren't a boy. Oh, this is the most TRAGIC thing that ever happened to me!"

Thanks to for the cut and paste text.

This website gives a virtual tour of Green Gables. We haven't taken this yet, but maybe next week. A vacation would do us good.

Here is a pdf version of chapter questions and activities for the book.

Easy Fun School has a list of possible activities, questions and vocabulary from the book.

I am using this teacher's guide (borrowed from a friend) to help supplement what I already have. We will also watch the movie, how could we not?

Included in our study will be a run through Canada...there's that vacation again...We may have to settle for books from the library and the internet in order to 'see' Canada.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Career Direct Personality Profile

My Hunny and I are taking a Crown Financial Bible Study at church. This morning I was checking out the website. The website offers free downloads and articles. It also offers a personality profile--a little insight into how God has wired you. My results are below.
View my Career Direct personality profile

Try it yourself!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Tweaking the Schedule

Remember that schedule I posted here? I've been working on revamping it because honestly it wasn't working. Why, you ask? I'm not entirely sure except that life at our house doesn't happen according to the clock. Not that I was sticking strictly to the clock, but people, we were nowhere fact, I haven't looked at that schedule in days, maybe weeks.

Because I'm such a believer in schedules and I'm determined to make one that works, I've come up with this one.

I can't remember where I read (on another person's blog) about routine blocks. So I'm sorry that I merely took your idea and literally ran with it. But it looked like it just might work for us. I'll let you know how it goes.

Interestingly enough, Saturday night after printing a rough draft, I prayed that the Lord would help me figure out if it was realistic, doable, etc. Sunday morning I woke up with such a terrible backache that I could barely get out of bed. (The only thing I could think of that I did was lean over the tub to wash my hair Saturday morning. I suppose my body is telling me that I'm not 15 any more and can't do that!!) I spent the entire morning with a heat pack on my back. Later, I had an awful headache only to be followed by a horrible stomachache. Needless to say, I acknowledge that I can make my plans, but it is the Lord who orders my steps! (Proverbs 16:9)

**Just to clear up what I'm saying (and not saying)...I don't think my physical afflictions were directly related to my prayer about my schedule! But clearly I can make the best plans and I know that it's the Lord who enables me to carry them out...or not.

So, Monday morning we will try the new schedule! Stay tuned. :)

Blue Jean Study

Marissa is doing a speech on blue jeans. She is in a speech class for homeschoolers; it is taught by a well qualified student at the local Christian university. Honestly folks, she wasn't cracked up about taking this class. In fact, I signed her up and waited to tell her a couple days before the class started. (I heard that collective gasp!) She dramatically fainted (similar to the drama of Anne of Greene Gables). However, she is doing fine in the class and even admitted she is enjoying it a wee bit. She is not looking forward to giving her speech in front of the class this Thursday though. Persevere, young one, persevere.

Her topic is blue jeans and her outline looks roughly like this:
A. History of Blue Jeans
B. Styles through the years
C. Care of Blue Jeans

This website gives some history about Levi Strauss.

This website gives a detailed time line of the denims.

Amazon offers this book called The Blue Jeans Book: The Story Behind the Seams. We found it at our local library.

So, if you want learn a little about the jeans you are wearing and pray for Marissa on Thursday.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


My sweet Bethany told me today that she was confusing. :) Ok, what she meant was that she was confused. This is the way the conversation went...

Bethany: Mom, I have a question. I am confusing.

Mom: What's your question?

Bethany: Marissa told me that Jesus is God and God is Jesus, so when Jesus was born on earth did that mean there was no God in heaven?

Mom: Hmm, that is confusing.

Then I proceed to tell her about the trinity. Hmm. I wrap up the conversation by saying, "Sweetie the Bible tells us that some things we won't fully understand until we get to heaven."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Q is for Duck

Q is for Duck is a delightful alphabet book for kindergarteners (could maybe go a little younger or little older). The book keeps you guessing...for example "G is for horse", why? Because a horse gallops!

Bethany and I read half of this book yesterday and we'll read the other half today. Very engaging. It has really helped her with her beginning sounds.

I found these websites that offer lesson plans and ideas for this book and other alphabet books.

Make your own alphabet guessing book.
Read Write Think offers this lesson plan for 3-5th graders using this book. Struggling writers are the target audience in this lesson.
Home Education Magazine reminds us that the ABC's are not just for kindergarten kids!

Try to get ahold of this book and read it aloud. You'll find your children (and yourself) trying to guess why "A is for zoo".

Monday, September 17, 2007

No Bake Cookie Recipe

I enjoy the taste of no-bake cookies. I also enjoy their ease of preparation. Tomorrow night is our farm girl meeting and I am taking these yummy cookies. I'm using a recipe obtained here because I cannot find my recipe for them. I'm including the recipe for you here.

No Bake Cookies
2 cups white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened
cocoa powder
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup milk

1 pinch salt
3 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a saucepan bring sugar, cocoa, margarine, milk, and salt to a rapid boil for 1 minute.
2. Add quick cooking oats, peanut butter, and vanilla; mix well.
3. Working quickly, drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper, and let cool.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cinquain Poetry Lesson

This afternoon I was reminded of all the neat poetry forms. Cinquain is one of those. The format is:

Line 1: one word (subject or noun)
Line 2: two words (adjectives) that describe line 1
Line 3: three words (action verbs ending with "-ing") that relate to line 1
Line 4: Four or five words (feelings or complete sentence) that describe the subject or are related to it in some way
Line 5: One word that sums up line 1 or is a synonym of line 1

After some reading, I realize that this is modern cinquain poetry. Here are some websites that describe it further.

Cinquain Lesson Plans from Reading In order to access the worksheets, one has to be a member; however the lesson plan is there for the reading.

Cinquain Poetry writing that goes into a paragraph can be found in this interesting lesson plan.

Shape poems--this site allows you to write your poem on a specific shape (apple, soccer ball, etc.) and then print it out.

Another good site for cinquain poetry.

I'm going to teach this to Marissa next week and if she gives permission, I'll share her finished work.

Blogs I Read

Well, I've been wanting to list some of the blogs I read. So, today, I did just that. This is just a start, but I'll have to add more as time goes on.

Time to Remember

Yesterday, I took time to pray for our country, for our troops everywhere and for our family.

I Chronicles 29:11-12
Everything in the heavens and earth belong to You, O Lord, and this is Your kingdom. We adore You as being in control of everything. Riches and honor come from You alone, and you are Ruler over all mankind; Your hand controls power and might and it is at Your discretion that men are made great and given strength.
I will never forget.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Time Schedule

The beginning of another school week!

Here's a link to our daily schedule. I tried to get it copied directly here, but it didn't look very good.
I'd be dangerous if I actually knew what I was doing.

More later, hopefully!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Official homeschooling has begun! Bethany declared excitedly that she is having GIANT FUN in school. :) Marissa has made no such declarations aloud (although I know she's feeling it deep inside)!

Trenton is having big fun too. Today he tried earnestly to drown out my voice while I was reading science. La, la, la, LA, LAAA, LAAA... He's also run off with Bethany's colored pencils and assorted notebooks and papers. He runs as fast as his little legs will carry him until I realize what's been done and stop him.

Here's a brief list of what curriculum we are using:
Marissa--6th grade:
Math U See
Mystery of History
Apologia Science
Literature studies for reading
Wordly Wise

Hopefully soon I'll be able to post what our daily schedule looks like and a little about what I'm doing with Bethany, my big kindergartener!

Friday, August 31, 2007

The End of the Spear, part 2

I've already shared a bit about this great book, but wanted to tell you more before I have to return it to the library.

In this part, Steve was suffering terribly from what he thought was kidney stones. He and his wife were discussing whether or not they should move to the jungle.
If I went on with my plan to spend a week trekking from village to village, I would be doing more walking than I had done since I was a mountain climber in high school. I would be sweating and drinking the whole way. But if I suffered another attack, I knew that I could also end up stuck out in the jungle with no doctor or medical help.
I really didn't know what to do. The only thought that seemed to tip the balance was this one: If God was intervening in our lives and wanted us to leave our home and career in favor of obeying Him in an undertaking that was at best uncertain and at worst a painfully futile exercise, we should probably expect some obstacles and tests along the way.

I wanted to give up and go to my U.S. "home" and a lifestyle that had become familiar. But I realized I feared living a safe but mediocre life even more than I feared suffering beyond the reach of help in the rain forest.

I decided to do the hard thing, which I've found is usually the right thing, and head back to the jungle.

What is the hard thing that God is asking me to do? I realize I too fear a life of mediocrity or a life that is void of meaning and impact for eternity.

Later Steve Saint says, "One of life's greatest blessings for me is knowing what God wants me to do and then being able to give myself completely and unreservedly to it. My time in the jungle had been one of those special times."

Lastly, this quote from one of the men who became as dear to Steve as his own father,
This life is only the opening exercise. The only fundamental, long-lasting aspect of life is deciding which trail we are going to walk in life. 'If we follow our own trail, at the end, where are we? But following Waengongi's [God's] trail, at the end we come to His place. He has made us a place where we all can live happily and in peace.'

The man who said this was one of the men who killed Steve's father.

Oh how deep the Father's love for us, how vast beyond all measure.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Yes, the air conditioner was fixed on Sunday. However it was so nice outside we decided that we wouldn't turn it on. We made it through the hottest days of summer without it; and we have fun stories to tell about it.

We played outside A LOT. We ate supper out on the patio. Bethany learned to ride her bike without training wheels. Momma learned out to bandage a big toe with a nasty scrape. The library is our new best friend. We stayed there for hours. We all have healthy glows to us that would make" Cover Girl" jealous. We went to our homeschool "park day".

Hopefully we are saving big bucks too--by not turning on the costly beast.

I'm off to continue school planning. The big start day is next Tuesday!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sweating...purifies the body

We are sweating profusely ever since yesterday when our air conditioner said he'd had enough. Enough cooling,
enough running,

Although I know nothing about air conditioners I knew I was in trouble when the temperature was rising in the house and I smelled a slightly "burny" smell. I marched bravely out to the unit and smacked it smartly (that's what they tell you do with cassette tapes when they don't work). When the smack didn't work, I resorted to falling on it pleading for it to come back and cool us once more.

Really, did it have to go on one of the hottest dog days of August?? A person can't predict these sort of goings, I suppose.

So for now, we are purifying our pores with some good ole sweat.

Bethany asked me--when is that air guy coming? SUNDAY, sweetie, not until Sunday. That's a whole lot of purifying.

Sweating makes lesson planning interesting...the paper keeps sticking to my arms, my legs are sticking to the chair, trickles of sweat are running down my neck and gathering in pools in parts unknown. Even our dog Bailey is hot. She is panting and has planted herself strategically in front of the fan. Every person and dog for themselves!

I realize how spoiled we are and so do my children. Marissa commented that she doesn't know how Laura Ingalls did air, no fans, no indoor plumbing. So we are thankful for what we do have--refrigeration, washer and dryer, indoor plumbing and fans, just to name a few.

Well, the sweat is running in my eyes and blurring my vision. Until next time...hopefully blogging from a cooler house.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The End of the Spear

I'm reading this great book called "The End of the Spear" by Steve Saint. It is excellent. Steve writes going back and forth from his childhood to present day and how God worked in his heart to accept what happened to his father and to embrace what He had for Steve and his family.

About the 5 men who died (one of which was his father), Steve said
It is only my conjecture, because none of us can know the will of God, but I think it fit God's plan that all five men died. I know that might offend some who have a narrower opinion of the parameters within which God must operate, but I don't think what happened to my dad and his four friends caught God by surprise. Nor do I think God simply allowed it. No, after learning in detail what happened on January 8, 1956--while I was so anxiously waiting to see the speck of my dad's little 56 Henry airplane appear over Penny Ridge--I believe God was much more involved in what happened than merely failing to intervene.

There are too many factors that all had to work together to have allowed the events to happen as they did. Too many for me to believe it was just chance. I have come to the conclusion that God did not look away. He did not simply allow this to happen. I think He planned it. Though this has not been an easy conclusion to come to, I believe it is the right one.

I personally paid a high price for what happened on Palm Beach. But I have also had a front-row seat as the rest of the story has been unfolding for half a century. I have seen firsthand that much good has come from it. I believe only God could have fashioned such an incredible story from such a tragic event.

What a hard but wonderful lesson about God's sovereignty. Several times while reading this book, I've been struck with the awesome plan and power of God.

House Guest

We entertained another house guest this past week. Everyone enjoyed the visit and it was mostly a relaxing time. I like having guests for lots of reasons, but one practical reason is that I tend to keep up my house better than when it's just us. I also take time to sit and visit instead of keeping busy. Good lessons for me to remember:
  • Keep up the house a little at a time
  • Take time to sit and play, converse, and simply "be" with my family
This week, I'm feverishly trying to get things ready for school. I need to organize our new materials, make the lesson plans for Marissa (going into 6th grade) and Bethany (starting Kindergarten). Exciting times (also a little nerve racking though).

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Summer Goodness

We have been having some wonderful times lately. I realize I've been more scarce than kids at chore time, however the days have been filled with such fun and heat that by night, I'm too tired to do anything. So what's been happening here you ask:

Two terrific kids (boy, A-11 years old and girl, S-10 years old) have added to the joy of our family this week. They live in Michigan, 8 hours away and tomorrow I'm driving them half way home. (I have to admit that it will be a sad goodbye tomorrow when we have to drop them off. Although, we are SO thankful for the time we have had with them.) We've had all kinds of fun with them. Actually A. has been with our good friends, Jeff and Lora, and their 3 boys, but we've had him a little bit. He is funny and has a contagious laugh. S. has been staying with us; Marissa and her have had the B.E.S.T. time. It does a mama's heart good to hear them giggle and laugh wildly.

Lora and I took Marissa, S. and another 10 year old girl to a mother/daughter conference about 1 1/2 hours away. We left Friday and came back late Saturday night. God is so good and faithful. He answered so many prayers; the time we spent with the girls was rich and wonderful. Lora has been a loving mentor to my Marissa. I'm ever thankful for her "Titus 2" example. Both Lora and I were reminded of good things at the conference. Things that are needed in our children's lives, but that sometimes we get distracted or "too busy" to do. All three girls came away with things they had learned as well as wonderful memories made together.

Soccer is keeping the mama (and dad) taxi busy. Both Marissa and Bethany are playing--sometimes different times and different locations. We are thankful for the opportunity for physical exercise, team work and learning new skills for the girls. Baby boy is thankful for the huge fields in which to run and make mama chase him.

This afternoon friends invited us to go swimming. Great fun for us and for the two terrific kids staying with us. Baby boy wanted to go off the diving board!! We let him...our friend, Curt, was waiting for him. Startled by the rush of chlorine water up his nose, he coughed and sputtered, but really liked it! :) All the kids had fun and were a bit sad when the time came to go home.

But now we are all showered, in jammies, watching Andy Griffith, munching popcorn.

Ahhh, summer goodness.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Gum and Scrapbooking

While participating in a 6p to 2a crop, I experienced something new. No it wasn't the latest tool in scrapbooking or sticker pack or even a new pen (all things I do enjoy). No, this was a gum chewing experience where instead of taking off the wrapper, you put the whole thing in your mouth and chewed it! (Yeah, you read right, you chew the wrapper.) I thought the girl was kidding, my friend Deb thought we might be on Candid Camera. The girl assured us she was telling the truth and after Deb said, "I will, if you will", I stooped to the level of peer pressure and ATE the wrapper. We concluded that this will cut down on the land fill problem and all but eliminate the litter crisis.

In the words of Big Mama who thanked "Shark Week" for her blog material:
Thank you girl with edible gum wrappers for providing the material for this post.

The gum had a familiar taste, orangey, kind of like a Chik-let (do you remember those?). And the wrapper had a waxy, yet dissolving into the gum kind of taste. Strange, very strange. I had to admit that I half expected my tongue to swell up or go numb or some odd happening, but it didn't. Every once in a while though I had to pick a tiny piece of wrapper out of my mouth. It just would not dissolve, how rude.

All in all, the digestable gum wrapper wasn't too bad; can't say I'll be buying my own pack though.