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My friend Rachel and her husband have a sweet blog called His Treasured Possession. Rachel is expecting a baby any MINUTE now but her husband found some time to build a snow cave yesterday for their two little boys. Click the link for the hilarious how-to!

so sorry! i have tried and tried to hyperlink with safari and firefox to no avail! here's the website at any rate:

http://histreasuredpossession.blogspot.com

I've gotten such a kick out of this all year and I've been dying to post it--so you get it a little early!

Sick-again

again! i've been up all night again!!!! what is UP? i suppose the only perk is that i'm losing weight without trying...down to 163 from 180 after sweet baby girl was born. the one good thing. sheesh. just thought i'd whine a bit about it...

I won't restate what a lot of others have said much better than I ever could, but a gal on the forum posed a question about the pluses and minuses of homeschooling, and I thought that might make a useful post, especially from someone like me who doesn't believe in sugar-coating it.

Pluses:
you can teach them from a Christian worldview
you're the primary influence in your child's life
you're able to get to know them best
you're able to learn stuff you should have learned in school again!
your kids get to spend time with their siblings (which in theory should strengthen their relationship)
you can tailor their education to their particular style of learning
you can set the pace, moving slowly through difficult concepts and quickly through easy ones
you can do field trips with other homeschoolers (if you're lucky enough to have some nearby!)

Minuses:
your house isn't as clean as it could be
you don't have as much time by yourself (on duty 24/7)
you might miss out on extra curricular activities (in our state, we can still participate)
your smaller kids don't get as much attention as you're schooling the older ones



sooooooo...i have the iPod working, but when we were straightening up our room we discovered the itty bitty metal rod that sticks up from the dock of the iPod, you know, where it sets to charge, BROKE OFF.

I am truly the KISS OF DEATH for all small appliances and electronics. I need to just give it up and join an Amish community.



The church replaced our old washer and dryer a while back a new high efficiency set (thanks!) and I was on a mission to find some detergent that would work. My middle kiddo is allergic to Tide and that's about all I could find that was HE.

After looking around at my local grocery store I found some stuff called Seventh Generation White Citrus and Bergamot laundry detergent. It smells great, cleans great, and is not petroleum based so it's better for the environment. I can't find it at Wal-Mart but I've seen it at natural foods grocers. COOL!

Germs

When one of my kids is sick, I'm the Clorox wipe, Lysol, hand washing warrior. And I pray, HARD that no one else gets it, especially sweet baby girl.

Well, my oldest had tummy trouble on Wednesday. My baby girl has had a fever off and on since Friday, and now this morning I'm nauseated and very unsure of my breakfast. So I might be staying home from church with sweet baby girl (who actually did sleep well last night, thank you Lord!) as I toss my cookies and bide my time until hubby gets home from work:church.




Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I bought the book Pillars of the Earth. I noticed that it had a sticker from Oprah's book club on it and I thought, "This is a huge book. With that sticker, it must be popular. I love medieval times and I've been to Europe and seen the great cathedrals. This could be GOOD!" I had high hopes. I read it like crazy, even under my blanket with my book light. Sure, the language was modern, but this was a modern book. I sympathized with the characters. I was intrigued by the woman who lived in the woods. What was she all about?? Hmmmmm...

Then I get to the point of absolute graphic sex and violence. A baby is left out to die in the wilderness. And I can't take it anymore. I was so totally disappointed that I just threw the book in the trash. And I always finish a book, even if I don't like it. What a fascinating story this could have been without it reading like pornography or some smutty Harlequin romance novel? Yech.

So I don't put much stock in anything Oprah says anyway, so why I thought this book would be any different, I don't know. But what I DO know is that Gladys Hunt has LOTS to say about good books. And since I've so enjoyed her book for children, Honey for a Child's Heart, I used a Borders gift card I received for Christmas to buy her book Honey for a Woman's Heart.

I will let dear, dear Gladys Hunt guide my book buying from this moment on. Thanks but no thanks, Oprah.



And I've watched it a million times since the kiddos got it from my parents.

"Keep your station clean-or I will kill you!" says Collette.

And if you haven't seen the short on this one called Lifted, prepare to laugh hysterically.

Sovereignty

I was studying in Genesis this morning (I actually got up early and did what I should do for once before everyone else gets up!) and was astounded that such a familiar story would resonate with new truths for me.

The story of Jacob stealing his brother's birthright seems like another example of one of God's people totally blowing it. Rebekah appears the ultimate deceiver, Jacob is weak-willed, Esau threatens violence, Isaac helpless and clueless. But there's more to it than that, as my homeschool Bible curriculum, Suffer Little Children from Covenant Home Curriculum, pointed out.

Isaac knew all along that God was going to bless Jacob, the youngest, and not Esau. Yet, he couldn't imagine that his youngest child could be worth anything. Esau, red and strapping, brave and fierce-he should win the birthright. Of course, Esau had married two pagan women who brought great bitterness to his parents. Rebekah's motives, in a sense, were good but her methods deplorable, as my Reformation Study Bible reminded me.

Yet, it was God's will that the promises and blessings of Abraham would continue on through Isaac and Jacob, not Esau. So God used sin, namely deception, to accomplish his greater purposes.

To me, it's a perfect example of how God uses base and terrible things to give himself ultimate glory. It makes me wonder what else he might be using in this life to display his love and goodness in the next. It reminds me that ALL THINGS means ALL THINGS in Romans 8:28. It reminds me that I should be reminding myself daily of this truth.

I am Emma Woodhouse!


Take the Quiz here!




Thanks to friend Rachel for this fun quiz. I wish I was as cute as Emma! ;) I just watched Mansfield Park the other night and LOVED it. If you haven't seen it, make haste! Get it from Netflix!

Thanks to thatmom for directing us to this very funny parody of homeschooling families.

Hubby decided to charge it for me, just to see what would happen. And he made it work! So thank you for praying for a Christmas miracle. We'll see how long it lasts.

Also, if you're a fan of the pastor's wives forum, know it will be down for a few days.


Guess what I found in my dryer. My most favorite birthday present: my purple iPod shuffle. *sigh*

I can't. As a homeschooler, anyway. I am very optimistic every morning that my eldest will listen, obey, be enthusiastic about learning together. I have planned a semester ahead of time, checked out the necessary books from the library...

But each day it's the same story and I feel at a loss. I have literally read every child rearing book out there. I happen to have a kid who doesn't appear to respond to spanking, loss of privileges, isolation, or tomato staking. He can be as good as gold, then completely ridiculous, disrespectful and downright annoying to the rest of his family. I know I have written about slandering my children, but truly I feel so hopeless in what else to do. I have been much better about keeping my voice controlled and my anger in check. Yet, the struggles remain.

I keep waiting for it to get better. Waiting...

Since my friend asked:

My husband was stuck in the nearest major city due to bad, bad snow. My parents are here. I sent my kids to a friend's house so my mom and I could get pedicures. Then I did all the normal cleaning, cooking, and tending to kiddos that I do every other day.

Birthdays are not as special as they were when you were a kid. But hubby did get me the movie Amazing Grace, which is excellent, an iPod Shuffle for when I run, this cool picture frame that has all your downloaded digital pictures on it so that it changes periodically, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the book Made From Scratch, a memoir by Food Network star Sandra Lee. So I got cool stuff, but our plans were slightly altered since hubby was seriously stuck.

Kibitzers


I have found the funniest book by Simms Taback. It's called Kibitzers and Fools. Taback has written many excellent children's books, including There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly and Joseph Had a Little Overcoat. Kibitzers and Fools is based on tales his Yiddish grandfather told him growing up. It's full of clever sayings, hilarious pictures, and great stories.

At the end of the book is a glossary of Yiddish words and what they mean: klutz-blockhead, (and my personal favorite) kibitzer-someone who knows it all and offers advice unsolicited.

I have a few kibitzers in my family who are currently visiting. The book has helped me to laugh about it instead of getting angry when my every move is scrutinized and suggestions are made as to how to do whatever I'm doing better or more efficiently.

He he, KIBITZERS. :)

A quotation from the book: Just because you can speak doesn't mean you make sense.

http://www.goingjesus.com/cavalcade1.shtml

Thanks to friend Joann over at http://joannsblogadventure.blogspot.com for this little tidbit. Oh boy.

p.s. now I have an icon for a hyperlink here in blogger on my Mac, but it doesn't seem to "take" when I go to publish the post. Sorry, sorry, so sorry.

I came up with this because it's the end of the month and I need to go grocery shopping. We had it for lunch and the kids devoured it. You can definitely fiddle with this to suit your taste. It'd be easy to turn up the heat by increasing the chipotle sauce. I even used corn tortillas I had previously frozen (Freezing them can make them hard to handle when they're thawed, but it made no difference for this recipe.).

8 corn tortillas
chili powder (enough to sprinkle onto the tortillas)
cooking spray

1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup frozen corn
1 tsp. chipotle sauce
2 tsp. lime juice
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 cup salsa
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
light sour cream

Heat the oven to 400. Layer corn tortillas on a baking sheet. Generously coat with cooking spray and sprinkle with chili powder. Bake for 10 minutes or so until they begin to crisp up.

In a pan, heat remaining ingredients except the cheese. Top each corn tortilla with the black bean corn mixture. Top with cheese. Bake another 5-7 minutes or until cheese is melted and the tortillas are crispy on the edges. Serve with a dollop of light sour cream. YUM.

My sister-in-law has a beautiful home. Not only is it huge and adorably decorated, it's organized. So each year when I return from her house over the holiday, I am inspired to DO BETTER in my own home. So today I'm on a mission. A mission to make every nook and cranny orderly and my home more livable. I'm tossing stuff I never use or wear.

I'm also unpacking our disaster-area of a van. My trip to the Amish bulk foods store near some family resulted in certain little boys squashing a few bags of baking cocoa, poppy seeds, and brown flax meal in the car. Hubby's been a huge help today, and I hope he's as inspired as I am to make our lives more organized!

So off I go after chomping on an apple and getting a lot done. I'd better get busy before I get distracted by all you bloggers I like to read!

Thanks for the sweet comments, too, while I was away!

We've been visiting some extended family. They are wonderful, caring folks. Their children are sweet and fun. We've had some great food. Some good conversation. But the glaring differences in educational philosophy, child rearing, church preference, etc. appear to be glaring.

I'm the only one in my family who homeschools. I'm not militant about it at all. Yet, somehow I feel like my children are more scrutinized, criticized for their behavior. If one of the boys does something naughty, I always wonder if someone is thinking, "If those boys were in school, then they wouldn't do that." Or, "Gee, if THAT'S how homeschooled kids act, then I'm against homeschooling."

I worry that my family is the very imperfect, routinely mortifying poster children for the entire homeschooling movement in the eyes of my extended family. I hear how my nieces and nephews are straight A students, in plays, in sports, busy, busy, busy running to birthday parties and games and appointments.

Here's how our day typically goes:

Get up, do school, do chores, play some, eat, repeat, eat again, play, get ready for bed, do our very elaborate bedtime routine, then go to sleep, read a book, watch something on the internet or a Netflix, finish up chores. Do it all again tomorrow.

This does not make interesting holiday discussion. My life is boring. But would I want it any other way? My extended family rarely finds themselves all home for dinner. One brother in law is gone to another city for a few days each week. They are great people, who love each other and love the Lord.

But I just feel so different, not better, just different. I don't believe that God has the exact same plans for each family. I think I'd just like to be in the company of some likeminded people sometimes. I'm the only one at church, the only one with small kids in my entire remote town who homeschools, and the only one in my family, too.

Hiatus

Like a lot of bloggers, I'm gonna take the next week or so off, mostly because I'm out of town for the holidays and don't have a lot to say. Of course, now that I say that I'll get inspired...anyway...ta ta for now.

We know a couple who recently lost their 6 week old baby. In lieu of flowers, they asked that people donate to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, an organization of volunteer professional photographers who take beautiful pictures of terminally ill babies and their families.

Check out their website and grab a box of tissues.

http://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/pageDisplay.php?page=3



I am NOT a fan of McDonalds. (I do love their fries, though.) I went as long as humanly possible to avoid exposing my children to their addictive happy meals. But I've found something I LOVE there:

The Asian Grilled Chicken Salad

I ate all of it. I devoured it. I went on and on while I ate it that I couldn't believe how GOOD it was.

I can't wait to eat it tomorrow. :)

Casa Bonita



Hubby insisted we experience Casa Bonita at least once. He'd gone about ten years ago. Here's the gist of it: You stand in line for a looooong time, order some nasty all you can eat Mexican food, pick it up at a counter, get seated in this huge dining room with a mariachi band playing, gaudy Mexican decor, Christmas lights on everything...all the while there are bad actors dressed up like pirates and cowboys and gorillas doing skits, cliff divers jumping into a pool of water below...skee ball, video games, face painters, on and on and on...

It's definitely something you do for your kids. In fact, while I was standing in the loooong line (think the roller coaster line in the heat of summer at an amusement park) comforting my fussy baby, I overheard a man say, "Now I know why I haven't been here in thirty years."

That just about sums it up.

By the way, say a quick prayer for sweet baby girl whose throwing up tonight. We have longer to drive tomorrow...Maybe it was the Casa Bonita nastita food?

Just a quick note to let you know! Now I need to find a treadmill somewhere. Our hotel's exercise room is circa 1990.

Oh, and I've lost a total of 13 pounds!!!!

So I know the floors in hotel rooms are filthy, so are the bedspreads. You've got people sleeping above you and below you and next to you. You're all in the room together--and my baby WON'T sleep.

It's 6:30 a.m. and she's crawling around on the floor getting into everything and yawning...how in the world is she going to nap? I wish the bathroom was big enough to fit the pack and play!!!

Meh. Just had to whine a bit.

Free Milk

My family goes through copious amounts of milk in a week. And milk in our small, remote town is $3.79 a gallon!

But, I have found a way to beat the system. *cackling laughter*

I keep an eye on the expiration dates of the gallons. When it's the day before, I ask, "If I come in first thing tomorrow morning, will you give me that milk for free since you're just going to throw it out?"

To which our managers have said, "Sure-take as much as you want."

Last week I got 6 gallons for free! We used every last drop and it didn't go bad, even though we were still using it 6 days past the date. I keep it nice and cold in the back of the fridge. Yesterday I got 2 (since we're going out of town this week).

In total, since I've started this diabolical plan, I've received 18 gallons of FREE MILK (saving me $62.00!!!).


HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!

I was reminded of a favorite passage of scripture that deals with my fear of man: Luke 12:4-5

I say to you, my friends, do not be afriad of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!

This might seem a strange passage to find comforting. Here's what I'm thinking-

1. Man truly has no ultimate power over me. I must live to please God alone.

2. God is loving, but He is also holy and just. His love and his justice are two sides of the same coin and in my mind, encompass His whole character. Further on in the verses, in 6 and 7 Jesus tells me that I am more valuable to Him than sparrows. See, justice and love?

3. Judgement is real and it should be our motivation to evangelize the lost and to pray that God would save those who don't know Him as Lord and Savior.

4. While God is like my Daddy, there is also a necessary reverence I must feel toward him, an AWE.

Just some stuff I've been thinking about...


What am I? Am I classical? Am I a unit study gal? Am I a Charlotte Mason person? Do I use a combination like My Father's World? Should I stick with what's easy and familiar like a workbook type program like Abeka? Do I start Latin? Should I do Shurley Grammar instead of Abeka language?

I almost wish I had NO options and just had someone tell me what to do!!!

I can run--

TWO MILES WITHOUT STOPPING!!!!

This is huge for the anti-athlete that I am. I couldn't run a mile when I was young and a bean pole. Yippee!

That's all I wanted to tell you...

We hosted a family for dinner last night for the first time. We all had a wonderful time, except when I pulled out the two pans of that delicious cannoloni--they were burned on the bottom, completely, to where you'd have to just scoop out the filling and top layer of noodle and cheese and sauce. I discovered this at 6 o'clock, when they were scheduled to arrive. I also made a vegetable risotto, but let the veggies cook too long so they turned this ugly green/brown color. Nice.

So I called the local Italian restaurant in town and asked them how fast I could buy a pan of lasagna (at $50!) they said a half hour, so I JUST DID IT!

We ate bruschetta and I made uncomfortable, nervous small talk because I'd burned and ruined everything.

This family is super nice and didn't really care what we ate, but I did, because there are few things I actually do well and I suppose it was God's way of humbling me...

Just some pure silliness on a Sunday morning when I'm not feeling terribly inspired and have an extra hour to kill!



For a few years now I've been making italian favorites like manicotti and canoloni with egg roll wrappers instead of dried pasta tubes. I cannot tell you the difference it makes! All those egg roll wrappers are are sheets of fresh pasta, which I don't have time to make from scratch. So I just roll the filling inside, make some sauce, top with mozzarella and fancy parmesan cheese and I've got a restaurant-worthy dinner.

Everyone eats it up! So try it!

You know I'm trying to make an effort to spice things up with our homeschooling, so today since we were learning about the Franks and how their chieftans had long flowing hair, we decided to make yarn wigs as directed in the Story of the World Middle Ages Activity book. Sounds easy enough: wrap two skeins of yarn around the kitchen chairs, cut one end, take the long hair sew a strip of felt down the middle-instant wig! Well, I'm a sewing loser and my bobbin ran out, I tried and tried to refill it to no avail. The yarn is so THICK I almost can't get it under the foot of the machine. So now I have all these pieces of yarn and can't figure out how to attach them to the felt. I also have one chair still wrapped in the yarn.

I tried making a castle out of cocoa puffs last year, with walls made out of the cereal and marshmallows and butter and held together with toothpicks. That was one big flop, a mess of cereal and stickiness. From the same book, too.

I just want to quit. I feel like everything I try is a failure. I'm suppose to get beyond the textbooks and workbooks and DO stuff with my children but that never works out well either. Mine is not the perfect family doing projects together and learning and growing. Mine is mom trying to read the directions, screwing it up, the kids getting impatient and bored with whatever she has planned.

I can't win. I feel the darkness closing in on me again. I'm fighting the daily battle of "I wanna play video games." My 4 year old just spilled all the straight pins all over the kitchen floor. My friend who put her daughter back in school just invited my 4 year old to come play because her second child is bored now that the oldest sister is off at school. Nice. Yeah. My house is a huge mess: toys, clean laundry, thread, yarn...

My pet peeve is projects that dont't give you enough information. I need homeschooling for dummies or something.

I also need to do "everything without grumbling and complaining", another impossible task.

just didn't have the computer for a few days and honestly, have very little to say. Of course, once I start jabbering on I'm sure I'll think of something...

Hubby was gone at a conference and the kids and I did pretty well together, homeschooling and keeping house until tonight when I had a complete meltdown, and it made me wonder how in the world I would ever survive if something happened to my husband or if he was in a line of work that required him to be gone a lot. I shudder when I think about it. Yesterday everyone did great around here, but today was a totally different story. I felt like we were fighting from sun up to sun down.

I think what started the downward spiral for ME and my attitude was that my friend who had already pulled her child out of school to homeschool has changed her mind and is putting her back in. I firmly believe that every family has to make the right choice for their children, but I can't deny I am sooooo disappointed because I have no one here who has small kids and homeschools. The only family in our church has teenagers, so the idea of a co-op or anything is impossible. It would have almost been better if my friend had never decided to homeschool, instead of saying she'd try it and then change her mind. In reality, she didn't even try it, just pulled her child out so that she could have baby #4 and get settled into a routine. At any rate, I'm bummed. So, so bummed.

Slander

I'm doing the Seeking Him study and we're on Chapter Three now about Honesty.

Our memory verse is Proverbs 28:13 (let's see if I can remember it!) He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.

If we want true revival in our hearts, we must start with a humble acknowledgement that we are sinners and God is holy and good.

One of the most helpful parts of this study is the self-evaluations on each Day 5 lesson of each Chapter. This week's lesson asked such questions as: Do I volunteer for service and good works to glorify God or to impress others?

Do I see my sin as God sees it, or do I tend to think of it in terms of "weaknesses" or "personality quirks"?

Do I often leave others with the impression that I am more spiritually mature and committed than is actually true?

Am I guilty of speaking graciously to others while harboring hatred or bitterness in my heart towards them?

So as I'm reading through this list, asking the Lord to reveal sin in my life, he is faithful to do so, and he illuminated something for me that was quite shocking:

I slander my firstborn son.

When we struggle, I seem to be the first one to complain to whoever will listen. I do this from a sense of "see how I struggle and how humble I am about it to share it with you." But in reality, I'm just wanting to grumble. It's not helping anyone to hear me whine about how difficult he is, and as he gets older, he's going to wind up hearing me some time or another. It's also going to affect how others relate to him, giving him an unfair disadvantage to already have that "difficult" label.

So my prayer now is that I will take my troubles directly to God, then to my husband, then to a trusted friend who I know will pray for me and not allow me to slander him.

Since I got to enjoy some Taco Bell today (a rare treat in our small town), thought I'd post something about fast food!


OK. I'm so indecisive about homeschooling curriculum. I'm looking at My Father's World stuff now. I've heard all good things about it, one person has described it as a combination of unit studies, the classical method, and the Charlotte Mason method. My friend whose going to homeschool next year is going to use the kindergarten curriculum, so I'm thinking maybe I will, too, so that maybe we can do stuff together. But now I'm trying to decide what to do for my older son.

If any of you have used this, let me know what you think!

Baby Planners


So, since today is my "day off" (thanks hubby!), I got to go work out at 9 a.m. and watch one of my favorite food network star's (Rachael Ray!) talk show on CBS. I just love her. She's so cute and fun! Anyway, today she had on these two ladies who have started a business together to help new moms plan for their baby, like a wedding planner helps plan a wedding. Sounds like a great idea at first, doesn't it? I mean, you're having your first baby: What books to read? What to buy? How to parent? How to deliver? Which diaper bag to carry? You just have a lot of questions and uncertainties about what to expect.

Well, for $75 you can call these gals and have a 30 minute consultation on the phone! If you feel like you need more help than that then they can meet you to go shopping together and create a baby registry or give you any other kind of support you might need.

$75! I got on their website and they have plans that start at $500 and if you don't live in L.A., they will travel to YOU.

Somehow, these two women are "experts". I'm not sure what makes them experts, I couldn't find anything on their website that gives them any kind of parenting creditentials except maybe having a kid or two of their own. No degrees in anything kid or mom related. They did work in the media, though, so maybe that counts? I'm thinking maybe Kendra Fletcher over at Preschoolers and Peace with, what 7 precious kiddos, yeah, SHE might be an expert. Or what about Ann Voskamp over at Holy Experience with her 6? Yep, I'd listen to her. BUT--

This got me thinking: Back in the olden days, most of us asked OUR MOTHERS. Our moms helped us shop, get the nursery ready, explain labor and delivery and life with a newborn, helped us breastfeed, reassured us that we'd be JUST FINE. Now, you can HIRE someone to do it for you because a lot of us were raised by mothers who were so busy pursuing their own interests that the mundane tasks of motherhood fell to someone else on a regular basis, leaving many women, like me, who spent most of my childhood in daycare, to figure out how to run a household on her own. [disclaimer to working moms: I realize every single situation is different, so don't assume I'm just bashing all working mothers, ok? I'm not. I'm just reflecting on the culture a bit and speaking in generalities.]

There has been this huge cultural shift that has happened right before our eyes. What used to take place in the context of a family is now repackaged into a commodity to be bought and sold. You used to plan your wedding with your mom, but now you need a "professional". You used to have a close knit group of family and friends who helped bear your burdens, but now you pay someone, be it a life coach or a psychologist, to be your friend and listen and give advice. You used to plan for a new baby with your husband and mom and friends and relatives, but now you hire someone to tell you what you should do.

I just find this fascinating. Thoughts anyone?

This is sooo good and so good for you. You make the chicken filling in a slowcooker, then add some cooked brown rice, cheese, light sour cream and roll into a tortilla. Such a huge hit, even my picky 4 year old liked it, telling me, "This is delicious and I'm going to eat it all because I LOVE you!"

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups black bean and corn salsa (Walmart brand is what I used)
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

tortillas
cheese
sour cream
tomatoes
yada yada yada

Cover it and cook on high for about 4 hours. WATCH it toward the end. Cook the rice and add to the chicken mixture. Assemble like you would any other burrito.






The very first year we did this, we just watched a portion of the old black and white Martin Luther movie and read about him in a biography we have.

The second year we had a few families over to watch the movie God's Outlaw, about William Tyndale, who was burned at the stake for translating the Bible into English.

Last year, we watched a kids' version of the William Tyndale story created by the folks at Vision Video and part of their Torchlighters series (which also includes Jim Elliot, John Bunyan, and Eric Liddell, which is one we still need to get, it's the newest). Then, the grown ups watched the newest Luther movie.

This year, since we haven't gotten much interest from church folk about participating in something like this, we're going to keep it just our family and watch The Radicals, a movie about the Anabaptists in Switzerland. There is a kids minimovie on the DVD that doesn't go into as much graphic detail about what they went through just to practice believer's baptism. We'll still dress up and eat some soup and bread and turn down the lights. I wish that people here were more interested in all this, but maybe I can at least inspire my kiddos to see the value in remembering these great men and women of our faith.

If you want to check out any of these movies (and lots, lots more!) go to www.visionvideo.com

I had some trouble not eating junk food last week, so I didn't weigh myself on Monday. I did it this morning and guess what!? I'm down to 171!

When we were on vacation I was at 180, and I started taking my working out seriously sometime in August, I think. I know it's a very slow process, so I'm just thrilled to have lost 9 pounds. I figured if I could just lose one measly pound a week, by this time next year I'll be where I want to be. I can totally handle that!

I'm also running about 15-20 minutes total (of 45-50 minutes walking, too), then icing my knee when I get home, which has helped tremendously. I'm also trying to lift weights three times a week.

In Galloway's Book of Running it says that the benefit increases dramatically from running two days a week to three days a week, but there's not as much of an increase if you bump it up from three to four.

I'm also taking swimming lessons right now so that I can "cross train".

I took lessons as a kid, but something happened in my brain as I got older so that I couldn't put my head in the water. I've had three half hour lessons and the instructor has helped with my breathing and form, and yesterday I did the front crawl halfway across the pool! This is HUGE for me, because, like running, swimming has never come easily to me. Soooo...I 'm thinking once I can swim, I can do that two days a week, then run and lift the other days. I want to be healthy! Now if only the produce at our little grocery store wasn't all gross and limpy--

This here's a controversial topic among Christian parents: spank for every disobedience, for some really bad ones, or not at all and use "grace".

I feel like I've tried the "spank for everything" method with my firstborn, who gives me quite a bit of trouble, and it hasn't "worked" (he's got buns of steel), probably because I have a short fuse and should NOT have been using that method until I could exercise the self control necessary to carry it out biblically. For quite a while now, I let dad do it because I hated how I felt when I did it (usually because I was mad) and dad is next door most days, so he's available a lot if we need him.

Now he's getting older and spanking isn't really an option for me anymore. He's 70 pounds and 8 years old! So I found this very helpful information www.raisinggodlytomatoes.com .

A reader wrote in with the following question. My situation is similar, only it's the little brother who gets the brunt of the bad behavior by his older brother.

Tomorrow--tomato staking-making him my personal assistant all DAY LONG. I need to get on my knees right now.

Seven year old won't repent

Question: Hello, I'm new, will try to post an intro later. We have 4 at home, out of 6. The 4 at home are a boy 11, girl 9, boy nearly 7, girl 4. The problem is with the 7 yo boy. He has been very jealous of the 11 year old boy for some time. The older boy naturally is able to do more things, etc. One example--our oldest son, before the 7 year old was born, gave all his legos to the middle son. The youngest son only sees that the middle son has more legos than he does. We explained that the oldest gave them to him before we even knew he was born--it doesn't matter. The 11 year old naturally eats more--he is in a growth spurt--the 7 yo only sees that he gets more food--The 11 yo had the top bunk--again, a problem.

He has developed very bad behavior as a result. He will suddenly scream (very shrill) when angry. He will accuse the 11 yo of things he did not do. Once he is angry, he is very out of control, screams, yells, is rude to me, runs away from me, etc.

It is hard to detail everything. The other 5 children are very obedient, rarely have had to spank any of them past the toddler age. This one is still being spanked almost daily--again, he only sees that the 11 year old is not being spanked and he is, and this makes things worse. We explain that the 11 yo does not do anything to get spanked and the 7 yo does. It does not compute with him.

Yet, he is often very sweet, loving and otherwise obedient. However, when he is not, I am often spending nearly an hour with him. I'm trying to make certain to spend time "tying strings" with him.

Any ideas for how to get through to him that the 11 yo is not our favorite? No one else thinks he is, not even the 11 yo. The 11 yo is very patient with his brother, does not try to get back at him, despite all he is put through.

Also, how to deal with the yelling and out of control behavior. He seems to care less about spanking, or any type of punishment. He yells loudly during the spanking, but it seems to be more anger than anything. He is never repentant. The spankings hurt, I know, because I've accidentally hit myself with the rod and it is bad--I've give up if I were at the receiving end. We use the Pearls recommended rod--a thin plastic plumbing line that is very flexible.

This is all I have time to post--any help is appreciated, and prayers, especially!

Answer: It sounds like overall you are doing very well with your children and this son is a unique problem.

I think I would cut back on the spankings. It's not that I think no 7yo should ever be spanked, it is because you appear to know what you are doing (as evidenced by your other children not needing to be spanked much after toddlerhood), yet still he is not responding. You say that he is "never repentant". If the spanking is not bringing repentance (even though you are doing it correctly - and most people aren't) then I think you should stop and try something else. He is an angry child already and he's just going to add spanking to his list of perceived injustices and become more bitter and angry.

You need to do something that will get to his heart and his conscience. Maybe something that is slow and time-consuming. Do not think in terms of "punishment". As long as he thinks that he can act up and just receive a "punishment" without really changing his mind, then he's going to keep it up. The real idea behind spanking and most other discipline is to get repentance - a change in spirit that leads to a change in action. This change is the most important thing and it sounds like it's not happening with this child.

What happens when you talk to him? The Bible says not to let the sun go down on your anger. I take that to mean that you MUST resolve differences and bitterness and anger immediately - "in the day you hear of it". Your son is not doing this (as you know). I think you need to work on this area.

I think I would move to a type of tomato staking combined with talking and grieving. The next time he acts up, separate him from his brother. Have him sit quietly on a chair near you. This is not a "Time Out". Classic "Time Outs" assume that the child can't help his angry outburst and just needs time to calm himself down. That is wrong and not the purpose here anyway. What we are aiming at is "reflection". Somehow you have got to get this child thinking aobut what he has done wrong.

Do not send him to his room for this. Without supervision he will just be nursing his grudge and becoming more bitter.

Okay now, once you have him sitting down, just have him sit there being quiet for a while. Then I'd make calm, serious attempts to talk to him. Don't try to "talk him into" better behavior. Don't plead with him or whine at him. Have a serious, sober attitude. Dwell on your disappointment with his attitude. Dwell on the concepts of what he is doing wrong. Dwell on his wrong thoughts. Ask thought provoking questions: "Do you know why you are sitting here? Do you think it is acceptable to get angry like that? Would you like it if Dad got angry like that? How do you think you should act when something happens that you don't like?". Focus on his attitude toward his brother: "Do you think you have the right attitude toward your brother? Do you think the things you are saying about him are true? Do you think it is right to expect everything your brother has? Do you think you deserve every he has even though you are 4 years younger? What do you think God thinks about a brother who is selfish and angry at his brother all the time? What do you think I should do about your attitude? What do you think you need to do about your attitude?"

I hope you get the idea here. Don't whine at him. Act disappointed and sober and serious. Watch for any sign of repentance. Drag this out and don't let him get distracted. He should not be talking to anyone or playing. Just have him sit at the table and be bored. After you talk a bit, just make him sit them some more. Try to avoid getting too involved in other things yourself. You can clean the kitchen and take care of necessary things, but leave the impression that you are thinking (grieving) about the situation with him all the time. After a while come back and sit down and talk some more with him. Don't expect in-depth responses from him, just a change in attitude. Look for him to realize that he is wrong. If you don't get that, then keep him sitting there until you do.

Now once you get this at least to a small extent, then you can move to a sort of tomato staking. Keep him will you as your assistant 100% of the time. (Or sitting at the table ALONE, doing his schoolwork with your supervision.) Explain to him that he has to earn the privilege of being allowed to play with his siblings. Explain that if he can not love all his siblings equally then he can not have the privilege of playing with any of them. Say these things with a quiet, sober and disappointed attitude. If you get angry you will just be giving him an excuse to feel he is in the right.

Personally, I would keep this up until there was a really change in his attitude, whether it took days or weeks. I'd keep looking at his heart and working at the root issue. If it works then slowly release him but go right back to it at the first hint of a problem.

I want you to know that I don't have experience with this type of child to this extent, although many children go through the same thing occasionally, so I am giving you my best guesses based on what I "think" I would do. You know him best, so don't be afraid to use your own good judgment. Forget the "punishment" and focus on getting to his heart.

Here is one of the verse I remind my children of at times like this:

Prov 6:16-20
16 For there are six things the Lord hates-- no, seven: haughtiness, lying, murdering, plotting evil, eagerness to do wrong, a false witness, sowing discord among brothers.
(TLB)

I try to instill in them a love for their siblings and also humility, which should prevent sibling rivalry. If this is a chronic problems with your son, the solution will probably take a long time as well. Don't give up.

P.S. I don't want to overlook the "tying heartstrings" issue. Keep that up, it is tremendously important.




In my three years of thinking and praying about how to homeschool our children, I've read lots of books. I've tried all Abeka. I've tried The Well-Trained Mind (I don't have a child who wants to sit and read ALL day.) I've used an eclectic approach from the wonderful timberdoodle company. But now...the latest attempt...

I'm thinking of making some drastic changes to our homeschooling day. Almost every day is a struggle, and I sense boredom in my darling son. I am forcing myself to get out of my own learning style, which is a teacher's dream of sitting quietly and doing workbooks and reading all day. My son is NOT like me in his learning style, and the sooner I can get something different going for us during the day, the better!

So I'm investigating Konos. My wonderful veteran homeschooling mom and pastor's wife neighbor (right next door!) has brought over her three volumes of Konos curriculum and I've been poring over them for a few days now. I'm begining to make some lists of books I need to buy and loan, supplies I need to locate. I will buying these books from her at a significant discount, as they're listed at $99.00 each. There is enough to do in these three books for an entire K-8 education!

Here's the gist of it from their website www.konos.com:

How is KONOS different from other curricula?

KONOS is distinct from other curricula in that it features:

· Godly character trait focus

· Units with all subjects integrated

· Hands-on, experiential activities

· Discovery learning

· Multi-level, family teaching

KONOS used the entire library as a textbook and the whole world as its curriculum.

The two ladies who wrote it had all boys. They believe that God put the wiggles in children! So while my morning will be spent with reading, writing, math, and spelling, my afternoon will be projects, activities, discussions, games...

My son has never said, "Is that all the school we have to do? I want more!" My new goal as a homeschooling mom is to make him say that to me! We are going to have so much fun, he's not going to know what to do! I. AM. DETERMINED. PRAY!!!!!

Thanks to friend Jeano for this:

Several Ways to Make Yourself Miserable
by Elisabeth Elliot (of End of the Spear fame)

1. Count your troubles, name them one by one--at the breakfast table, if anybody will listen, or as soon as possible thereafter.
2. Worry every day about something. Don't let yourself get out of practice. It won't add a cubit to your stature but it might burn a few calories.
3. Pity yourself. If you do enough of this, nobody else will have to do it for you.
4. Devise clever but decent ways to serve God and mammon. After all, a man's gotta live.
5. Make it your business to find out what the Joneses are buying this year and where they're going. Try to do them at least one better even if you have to take out another loan to do it.
6. Stay away from absolutes. It's what's right for you that matters. Be your own person and don't allow yourself to get hung up on what others expect of you.
7. Make sure you get your rights. Never mind other people's. You have your life to live, they have theirs.
8. Don't fall into any compassion traps--the sort of situation where people can walk all over you. If you get too involved in other people's troubles, you may neglect your own.
9. Don't let Bible reading and prayer get in the way of what's really relevant--things like TV and newspapers. Invisible things are eternal. You want to stick with the visible ones--they're where it's at now.
_________________

Aw Thanks




Sweet Mummy and Caroline both have given me my first awards recently! Once I figure out what I should do now, as in pass them along? I will. Blogging etiquette on that? Anyway, thanks!



Even though Caroline over at living in a fishbowl (see the link in my blog roll-remember how weird my browser is about hyperlinks) thinks I'm a closet Lutheran (Missouri Synod-anyway), as a Baptist I have lots of reasons to remember what all those brave men and women endured so that I could worship freely and have an English Bible in my hands!

So while I'm most definitely not a theologian like my husband, I'll briefly give you some reasons why we should celebrate the Reformation, which started on October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany:

1. Martin Luther's passion to be reconciled to God and his boldness in proclaiming the TRUE GOSPEL of justification by faith alone has yielded fruit for centuries. Thanks, Martin!
2. Just like the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, there are men and women who have been tortured and killed for the name of Christ and OUR faith is strengthened when we remember their example.
3. We are passing along our Christian heritage to our children.
4. It gives us a greater understanding of our own faith and what it means to suffer for the name of Christ.
5. It's a fascinating period of history.
6. It's fun to dress up!
7. It can be its own homeschool unit study.
8. It's a fantastic excuse to throw a party that has a purpose behind it.

That's all I can think of for now...

So where to begin?

You can check out a resource that I love from www.doorposts.net called A Night of Reformation. It's designed to be used in a church or homeschool group setting that requires a bit of manpower and planning, but there are still ideas you can implement at home.

Doing a quick google search can direct you to a number of historical sites that explain what happened. Once you feel like you have a basic understanding of the history and purpose, then begin to search out ideas for medieval foods and costumes.

I've made a kind of honey nut candy before. We've had cider and dark bread. A beef barley stew. Some fruit, maybe grapes. Some cheese cubes. Once, I made these fig thingies (I don't even remember what they're called!) they were gooey and weird, anyway, no one liked them but it was fun to try. I found it on some food from the middle ages website.

As for costumes, the first year we did it my boys were little and we just read the story of Martin Luther and watched the scene in the old black and white movie about him where he says his famous line, "I cannot. I will not recant." The next year, I made them knight costumes. I tried a pattern from doorposts. net but I AM NOT A SEAMSTRESS and it was very stressful. Looking back I would have started sooner and not followed a pattern! I would have bought the metallic material and glued it to some batting and just left the edges unfinished. I found some knight helmets at the mormon thrift store (sorry-it was my only choice : ). We made and painted wooden swords and tied thick cord around their shins like boots or high laced shoes. You can also purchase the full of armor of God sets at www.christianbook.com. I got my boys these for Christmas last year and they still play with them.

The second year, I talked my mom and grandma into making them dragon costumes from a McCalls pattern. I felt terrible that it was so involved and took them FOREVER. Sorry...but boy did they look cute!

This year, my mom made them some monk costumes, we'll use a rope belt and some sandals. They made some cross necklaces out of clay and maybe I'll make them take a vow of silence for the day! HA!

So maybe that will get you thinking. The internet is a WEALTH of information. We did more than this at our celebrations, but that will just have to wait for next Saturday!

It's true. If something happens at church that someone doesn't like, guess who they turn on? You can really never be separated from your husband's position.

Sad, but true, my dears.

A quick note to let you know I'll be beginning a series on celebrating the Reformation with your family as an alternative to Halloween. We've done this for 3 years now and it's always a lot of fun. I'll share a few ideas that might inspire YOU to take a more positive spin on the holiday.

Remember: October 31 is the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses (or complaints) against the Catholic Church on the church door (or bulletin board-that's up for debate!) of Wittenberg!

Some churches debate if they should hold baby showers for an "unwed mother" who might be a member of their church.

"Would this appear as though we were condoning fornication?" they wonder.

Using this logic, then they would also never be able to bring the child cupcakes in Sunday School on his birthday because he was and (apparently always will be) a bastard child. He is forever marked as a "mistake", and under this shadow of condemnation his mother will live for the rest of her life.

I would instead liken the baby shower to the feast thrown by the loving father in Jesus' parable of the prodigal son:

Luke 15:20-24

"So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

"And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'

"But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.' And they began to celebrate."

Those who reject lavishing love upon a repentant woman remind me of the "other brother":

Luke 15:28-32

"But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him.

"But he answered and said to his father, 'Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; but when this son of yours came, who has devoured wealth and prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him.'

"And he said to him, 'Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.'"

Pharisees hate when others receive God's grace. It feels unjust to them because they keep a talley of all the "good things" they do. Jesus called them white washed tombs, clean and bright on the outside, but full of dead men's bones on the inside.

In the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18, Jesus says that the tax collector, who beat his chest and bemoaned his sin, went home justified.

When we wrap our arms around a young girl who has chosen to keep her baby, as sinful as the circumstances around the conception might be, we are loving her like Jesus loved the woman at the well, the tax collector, and the disciple who denied him three times.

If she is a believer, I can assure you the guilt and humilation she feels are enough to push her into the arms of her loving Lord. If she is not a believer, but is crushed by the weight of her sin, this might be the very event that turns her to the cross for redemption.

If you shun her, she will grow bitter.

Her circumstances cannot be undone--unless she chooses to murder her baby to save face.


Thanks to Sweet Mummy, I found this book. I got it yesterday and I am already halfway through it! Here's the gist of it: Karen struggled with delighting in her children and was often angry and crabby--until the Lord showed her that her children were the tools he was using to sanctify her and make her the mother he intended her to be.

YOU. MUST. READ. THIS. BOOK.

Find it and more at:

www.irritablemother.com

Then tell me what you think!

I was reading over at Girltalk a while back and it hit me like a ton of bricks: I am vain.

Before children, I was thin without making any effort. I wasn't athletic, I ate what I wanted and I just was skinny.

Mothers out there know what bizarre things happen to a woman's body when she's pregnant! For me, it meant keeping ten pounds or so from every baby as a kind of souvenir.

I've been focusing lately on losing weight. I've been running, walking, lifting. I've dropped 7 pounds so far, with only 8 more to go to get back to where I was when I got pregnant this last time.

But it's occured to me that my whole motivation is to "look better". Why should this matter to me? Is it because I was always thin without having to worry about it? Is it because I'm buying into the world's standard of beauty? I hate to admit, but I think the answer to these questions is YES.

So I've repented of my vanity, something I must do daily. I've committed myself to being healthy, to preventing heart disease, cancer, osteoporsis, diabetes, knee replacements, back problems...so that when I'm a grandma someday, I can be a busy, active, FUN grandma who can enjoy her children's children. That has become my focus, I pray that by God's grace, he will bless my efforts this time since it is from a heart that seeks to bring him glory through taking care of my temple of the Holy Spirit, and not from a heart that seeks to worship myself.

Fox News has an article about a 32 year old man who was kidnapped and murdered. He owned a Christian bookstore and left behind two small children and a pregnant wife. The story states that he had been receiving death threats for quite some time and his bookstore had been bombed. The religion of peace?

Here's the address:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,299969,00.html

Sacred


Caedmon's Call has a new CD out called Overdressed, and when I listen to it I feel like I'm in college again. (You know I'm knocking on 30 this year.)

My favorite song so far is this one it echoes my life right now, particularly some recent posts:

Sacred

Words and Music by Randall Goodgame and Andrew Osenga
(c) 2007 House of Mirrors Music (ASCAP) admin. by Simpleville Music, Inc. / 2007 Mighty Molecule Music. (ASCAP) admin by Music Services

this house is a good mess
it’s the proof of life
no way would I trade jobs
but it don’t pay overtime

I’ll get to the laundry
I don’t know when
I’m saying a prayer tonight
cause tomorrow it starts again

could it be that everything is sacred?
and all this time
everything I’ve dreamed of
has been right before my eyes

the children are sleeping
but they’re running through my mind
the sun makes them happy
and the music makes them unwind

my cup runneth over
and I worry about the stain
teach me to run to You
like they run to me for every little thing

when I forget to drink from you
I can feel the banks harden
Lord, make me like a stream
to feed the garden

wake up, little sleeper
the Lord, God Almighty
made your Mama keeper
so rise and shine
rise and shine cause

everything is sacred
and all this time
everything I’ve dreamed of
has been right before my eyes


We have a family we know who is facing the imminent death of their newborn. It is their first child, a son. His parents are spending his final days holding him in the ICU. His mother's empty arms will return to a nursery made ready to receive him.

So I'm working around my house, thoughts and prayers always on my mind and often whispered for this dear family as I wash dishes and fold clothes. And I'm noticing all the toys, dirty socks, Nintendo Wii controllers, pillows, blankets, empty sippy cups, bowls of Cheerios, apple cores, chairs pulled up to the counter so little arms can reach goodies...A sense of frustration wells up within me as I fall into the same old patterns of

"All they ever do is make a mess!"
"I'm just the maid around here!"
"Doesn't anyone but ME see that stuff needs to be done around here?"
"What if a church member comes over and sees all this junk!"


When the Holy Spirit gently whispers in my ear: "You want a house that looks like no one lives there. Do you know what that would look like?"

It would look like the home of this suffering family whose only precious little boy is about to leave to be with Jesus. I'm sure their floor isn't strewn with toys, but I'm betting anything they wish it was...

Here's a modified version of a Rachael Ray favorite!

1 pound rigatoni (tube shaped pasta)
8 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
2 large leeks, trimmed of roots and dark green tops
salt and pepper
2 T butter
3 T flour
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 c milk
1 c water
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 1/2 c Gruyere cheese, divided
1 T dijon mustard
1 pint grape tomatoes
3/4 c Panko or plain bread crumbs

Cook the pasta to al dente. While pasta boils, fry bacon until crisp. While bacon is cooking, spit the trimmed leeks lengthwise, lay the leeks cut side down, and thinly slice into half moons. Fill a large bowl with water and mix the leeks into the water. Allow the water to settle, and the dirt and grit to settle on the bottom of the bowl. Draw the leeks from the water. Drain them on kitchen towel and pat dry. Add to the bacon pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook about 3-4 minutes longer.

To start cheese sauce, melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, and cayenne pepper. Whisk together and cook for 1 minute more. Whisk in milk and water and chicken bouillon. Bring the sauce to a boil, then simmer to thicken about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 3 cups of grated cheese and the mustard. Set aside.

Add the tomatoes to the leeks and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.

Combine the 1/2 c cheese with bread crumbs.

Combine drained pasta, cheese sauce, and bacon, leek, tomato mixture. Put into greased casserole dish and top with bread crumb mixture. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes.

Serve with a green salad.




I'm reading this classic by Emily Bronte and can't put it down! I decided I was tired of reading more popular books for the time being, and since I've started Don Quioxte, oh, about 3 or 4 times and never got past the first few chapters, I figured in an effort not to let my brain turn completely to mashed potatoes, I would pick up something different to read. I'm so glad I did! I read Charlotte Bronte's book Jane Eyre years ago, but so far, I think I like this one better. I've been trying not to do much research into the story so as not to find out how it ends. I'll probably get a movie (there have been at least 3 made, in the 1930s, 1970s and 1990s) when I'm done. Anyone have any other classics they love?

sometime after church today. I haven't fallen off the face of the blogsosphere--just been busy, like everyone else. I've been mulling over a few somethings for quite a while now and maybe I'll blog abot it. Don't give up on me!



We've done the Abeka cursive for two years, and it's great, too, but this series I bought from my favorite homeschool resource company, www.timberdoodle.com, is just wonderful. The children work on Bible verses to write in cursive. I have a son who loves to write in cursive and who has just beautiful handwriting. Once he's spent a few days practicing a verse, he writes it on a lovely sheet of paper with a border to hang up or give to a friend. That's why it's called A Reason For Handwriting.

Highly recommended!

I homeschool because our options are limited here in our Western town. I'm not sure if we ever moved if I'd continue to homeschool, but would probably put my children in a Christian school. With that said, I find it very unhelpful to hear comments like:
"I commend you. I could never homeschool."

This comment came after a family member who is visiting watched us homeschool. My almost 8 year old is a challenge, in every way, and if you've been reading over at Lisa Writes lately you'll notice her post about her contrary child. Well, he's mine.

This remark is more of a backhanded way of saying, "I think your kid is obnoxious and difficult, and you must be a saint to put up with him everyday when you could send him to school for free."

To which I think: "Yes, he's a challenge. But I know this is the right choice for our family right now and even if it IS difficult I will persevere. And I know the only way I can have any success is by God's grace and mercy on our family, because His power is made perfect in my weakness. Any gains we make spiritually, academically, emotionally will be because in His unmerited favor he chose to bless our endeavors. It's certainly not because I'm the most patient, devoted teacher. But I can see His hand in using the difficult season of homeschooling to mold me into a more patient and devoted mother, instead of the quick-tempered feminist I have been most of my life."



On our vacation to Ouray I picked up this book in the Colorado history section of a small bookstore on Main Street. It's autobiographical by a woman who spent most of her life in the Southwestern part of Colorado in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, cooking for mining camps, raising her children, and eventually getting elected Treasurer for her county! Here's some favorite quotations from the book:

"Why will people call cooking a menial task?-when it is the art of arts, and a good cook is a genius whose price is above rubies; who handles, daily, expensive materials, which, properly prepared are the foundation of all life and achievement. Of course, I think to waste good food by poor cooking is a crime and should be punished as such."

On her daughter moving away: "I hadn't expected to miss Neita the way I did miss her, and as the days passed I realized what Browning meant when he said something like this: 'We rear them and we love them, then we lose them.'"

"To read is almost as essential to me as to eat. And I feel far more hunger pangs when I am denied mental nourishment than I do at the loss of meals."

Anne Ellis lost her husband at a young age and had to make it on her own in a time when that often felt impossible. She had no formal education, but educated herself by reading. She won political victories to the astonishment of her rivals and kept whole mining camps full of men in line as the cook, knowing that good food can go a long way to make men behave themselves.

I've found this book fascinating!

Sunday is an exhausting day for the pastor, especially if he's the only staff member. Sometimes he must do Sunday School, music, and preaching. It's not a day of rest most weeks! So how do you encourage your man when he's physically, emotionally, and spiritually spent?

I LOVE this on fresh greens! Whip up a huge batch to keep on hand. It's so much better than store-bought!

1 c light mayo (I like Best Foods/Hellman's)
2 T. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. italian seasoning or just oregano
1 T. sugar or splenda
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Whirl in a blender or whisk together. YUM-O!

Got on my new fancy schmancy scale that gives you your weight and body fat percentage and BMI. I thought it would be cool to have, but it's really just depressing...anyway, I got on it this morning and I'm down a pound or two to 175.8. That's encouraging since I've been having knee trouble for almost two weeks. I'm hoping to take a stab at walking/running this afternoon the treadmill. Hoping for the best!

Found this on Girl talk-a perfect example of why we teach our children to memorize Bible verses!


I'm not into your average contemporary Christian music. There are some artists I enjoy, but by and large, what you find at your local Christian megamart doesn't suit me. Either it's cheesy, trying to sound too much like some secular band out there (I'm sorry, but I grew up in the era of grunge and that guy who sings for Third Day sounds just too much like Eddie Vedder-I can't handle it.), or it doesn't say ANYTHING substantive (in other words, singing, "Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain" for 20 minutes doesn't say much about Christ and the cross, but maybe that's just me...).

With that said, a few years ago while at Seminary we stumbled across Indelible Grace music. In a nutshell, these are folks who take old hymns and put them to new music, and by new music that might mean new tunes or just a more folksy rock version of an old favorite. These people are part of the Reformed University Fellowship out of Belmont University in Nashville, TN. I've heard them three different times in concert and their music has become the soundtrack for my daily life.

There are four volumes: Indelible Grace, Indelible Grace II Pilgrim Days, Indelible Grace III For All the Saints, and Indelible Grace IV Beams of Heaven. The earlier albums have music that is more singable for a congregation (take note music minister's wife!). You can get on their website and download their entire hymnal (for free, I'm pretty sure!).

So if you want music that says something, that encourages you in your faith, then CHECK THIS OUT!

www.igracemusic.com

Let me know what you think!

What? A favorite swimsuit? Now THAT'S an oxymoron. With all my knee problems and because sweet baby girl is getting bigger and might enjoy the baby pool at the Rec Center, I purchased a swimsuit. And I LOVE it.

It's modest, easy to put on, comfortable.

Land's End has the best swimsuits around. I ordered the Original Sport Tankini (I tried to post a photo but it didn't take, so if you're really interested, just search for it at www.landsend.com) by mail order and it came quickly and was worth every penny. How's that for not having a Cathy comic strip moment in a department store dressing room?

I posted that silly video, noticed the date, and remembered that it was Patriot Day. Do you remember where you were six years ago when you heard the news?

I was about to go to a ladies' Bible study. We had just moved into an apartment in the city where hubby attended Seminary. It was his first semester there. My oldest was almost 2. I didn't really know anyone in the town, but I was going to this church's Bible study that was about---

the book of Revelation!

Can you imagine the thoughts that went through my paranoid head??

I remember walking my new puppy and hearing no airplanes for days. So bizarre.

And I still anxiously wait for something else to happen. One of these days, they won't foil a plot. It's at times like this I must trust in our sovereign God.

This is what I post when I have laundry up to my eyeballs and feel a yucky cold coming and my knee is killing me.

I changed the name of these from the recipe my wonderful friend Debbie sent me (you know who you are!) and I tend to halve the filling because I've found I didn't use it all. These are so, so good. I'm going to experiment with different cake mixes, notably a spice cake mix. I'll let you know the results!

1 box devil's food cake mix
3/4 c butter flavored shortening
2 eggs

Combine this and drop spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet, baking at 350 for 8 minutes. Let cool.

Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c butter, softened
1 tsp. almond extract (I'll probably use vanilla for the spice cookie variation)
2 c powdered sugar (or a little less, to your liking)

Cream cream cheese, butter. Add extract and powdered sugar.

Using two cookies, put filling the in middle and watch them magically disappear! :)

I'm cheap, well, not trashy, but cheap like frugal so I've always made most of my own baby food. It's easy! And it only takes an afternoon every once in a while to make a whole bunch. Today I did green beans, peaches, watermelon, and zucchini. I've already done peas and carrots. There are lots of recipes online about it, but I'll share my favorite because I think it's useful and unique. It's stewed prunes. I've had constipated babies once they start on table food and stewed prunes with oatmeal or rice cereal really does the trick! And did I mention it's cheap?

Julie's Stewed Prunes for Baby's Tummy Troubles

1 carton pitted prunes
1 saucepan
water
food processor or blender
ice cube trays or cookie sheet with rim

Put prunes in saucepan and cover with water. Let set all day covered (or overnight). Then bring the prunes to a boil and cook for about 30 minutes over medium heat. Strain out prunes into the food processor, adding some cooking liquid as needed to make it mushy. Freeze in ice cube trays or in blobs on a cookie sheet, then pop them out or scrap them off into labeled ziplock bags. Ta-da!

Now watch out on the changing table, ladies. :)

Runner's Knee

You're getting three posts today since my family is down watching a movie, sweet baby girl is hanging out in dad's lap, and I have the MacBook (a.k.a. "my precious"). I really should be going to get ice cube trays to freeze all the baby food I made today, hmmm...maybe I'll do a 4th post on that. Anyway-

I was so excited to be running for the first time in my life when after Tuesday's workout my right knee started to ache and it was difficult going down stairs (a bad thing in a tri-level house!). I got on runnersworld.com and discovered I probably have runner's knee, a problem more common in women but common nonetheless. It said I needed to strengthen my quads and hamstrings and possibly wear a knee band when I work out. I gave it until today when I tried running again and my knee just wouldn't take it. I ran for maybe 3 minutes, then switched to the elliptical trainer, which felt fine. I took some advil this morning and it's been feeling better. I still lifted weights, but oh, I want to run like the wind and I can't!

Any of you out there have this happen?

You Belong in Dublin

Friendly and down to earth, you want to enjoy Europe without snobbery or pretensions.
You're the perfect person to go wild on a pub crawl... or enjoy a quiet bike ride through the old part of town.



I have a mad love affair with Europe. I've been to France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, and Croatia. The history, the cobblestone streets, centuries-old buildings, gardens, trees, FOOD, and don't get me started on the castles and churches.

When my kids are grown up, my hubby and I are going to backpack through Europe, hiking, biking, eating.

I went to France in high school I would just have bread and cafe au lait for breakfast and eat at the bakery for lunch (in other words, I'd have crossiants, chocolate elairs, etc. Hey, I could get away with it then!).

When I saw this quiz over at I Was Just Thinking (who I've recently added to my blogroll because I like her stuff so much), I had to take it. One of my dreams is to travel to Britain and Ireland. Although I'm afraid once I got there, I wouldn't be able to return...

You overhear them say, "And now for our Feature Presentation."

I'm already fed up with the presidential campaign. There seem to be no good choices, except Mike Huckabee who doesn't have a chance. Anyway, Go Remy is another hilarious internet comedian. He does a lot of funny Arab stuff, too, having a character he does named Habib. I'm pretty sure his parents are of Middle Eastern descent so he can have fun with the culture.

This song is a spoof of an old Sesame Street song by Ernie. Go REMY! Laugh away, kids!

Seeking Him


Hiya girls. We start our new study of this next week. I'm pretty far ahead so I know what we're doing, but I've also ordered the DVD of Nancy Leigh DeMoss teaching. She is my FAVORITE Bible teacher (move over, Beth Moore) :).

I'm in the chapter now about grace. Check out this snippet from day 2:

"By His grace God did for us what we could not do for ourselves: He gave us life for death and pardon for condemnation. At the cross, God satisfied His own vengeance, met His own demands of justice, extended mercy, and then added the surprise of His grace. Having punished sin, God forgave sinners; then He went on to adopt all who would believe, making them fellow heirs with His only Son. Such is the extravagant love and grace of God." p. 87 Seeking Him by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Tim Grissom

THIS IS THE GOSPEL. This is much more than "asking Jesus into your heart." Think about this!

Here's our scripture memory verse (let's see if I can remember it without looking!)

Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

(I got most of it, but switched a few words around. Better keep practicing!)

Great, great stuff here!



This movie was wonderful, but the soundtrack is just the best. It's been playing a lot around here lately!

Running Again

I did 16 minutes of running today and 14 of walking uphill on the treadmill. I also lifted weights. 38 pounds to go!!

Evangelism

I love getting to dialogue with the cults. As I've mentioned, they seem to find me. Well, I was at the park today talking to an acquaintance of mine. Here's how the conversation went:

Me: So was that your mother-in-law [a devout Jehovah's Witness] I saw with you earlier?

Her: Yes.

Me: I think she's come to my door before to talk to me about stuff.

Her: Really? She'll actually talk to you?

Me: Yeah. She was very, very nice. I kinda like when they come to the door. I dated a JW in high school and he tried to convert me.

Her: Yes. She talks about it to me every chance she gets. I'll say something about some conflict I'm having and she'll pipe up and comment on how that was in the latest issue of the JW magazine. They have all this stuff they have to do. They get little rewards for completing so many door knocking presentations and stuff.

Me: You know, that's the difference between the cults like Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormonism. Those religions are about what you do, but Christianity is about what Jesus has done, saving us by grace alone. And we're not weird if someone leaves our church. We've had a few people leave for various reasons, mostly because they didn't agree with some teachings, but I don't act weird with them. I'm still nice, our kids still play.

Her: But doesn't that offend you, when they leave?

Me: No. I mean, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion.I can't force someone to see things my way.

It's true. If someone has not come to know Christ as Lord, to see him as beautiful and precious, I won't help them along in their journey of faith with my own witness if I'm a jerk to them if they disagree with me. I can speak the truth in love, that Jesus is our only hope for salvation by grace through faith so no one can boast. And then I can pray that the Holy Spirit will lift the veil from their eyes. That's it.

So this gal was brought up in church, but doesn't go anymore. She married a JW who isn't very active in the JW congregation. So I invited her to our Seeking Him study. It appears that it will coincide with her schedule, so I pray that she'll come.

Once the conversation moves toward religious things, it's easy for me to chat. It's getting it there that's hard.

911 Math Call

OK Girls. Get ready to laugh. I can see myself making this call, although probably in high school in algebra class...

Running

It's the latest craze, it seems, so I've jumped on the running bandwagon (would that be a treadmill?). Most of the skinny people I know don't just walk, they run. So I'm now convinced, since I've received a clean bill of health from my doctor, that I will take up running. I have never been able to run. EVER. I used to do a 20 minute mile in school. You can also see from my photo down below that I'm about 40 lbs overweight (I'm the blonde one.).

I've begun. I can now run 12 minutes! I walk the rest of it uphill on the treadmill and yesterday I was so sore I had trouble walking down the steps.

But I like being sore.

And I've weighed myself this morning and I've lost 2 pounds this week!

Let's see if I can continue!

I made this up using stuff I had around and it turned out really GREAT!

10 corn tortillas cut into strips
1 cup or so canola oil
2 ears corn, kernals cut off
1/2 cup salsa
1 1/2 cups fat free ranch dressing
2 hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped and washed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tomato, diced
3/4 cup montery jack cheese, shredded

In a pan, heat oil and fry tortilla strips until crispy. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.

In a different skillet, heat it to medium with NO oil or spray. Dry roast the corn for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Take off heat.

In a small bowl, combine salsa and ranch dressing.

In a large bowl, combine lettuce, beans, roasted corn, cheese, and dressing. Serve onto large plates and top with a few tortilla strips.

Has pulled their child out of the public school and is going to homeschool come January. They have a new baby coming soon, and their child is only 5, so they have some time. I'm very, very excited!

I was so excited that I was telling some church people about it, but they didn't seem really excited...maybe because one of those ladies is on the school board and the other is running for it...

Which makes me wonder: has homeschooling (or not homeschooling) caused any conflict in your church?



I've really enjoyed meeting new friends online. But it's even better when you get to meet those same people in person. Today I drove two hours to meet my friend from http://fritzandfran.blogspot.com. She is funny, cool, and a great conversationalist. The two hours or so flew by!

Thanks, Jenah, for meeting with me!

So I was walking home from the grocery store the other day and these two very nice young men in white shirts, dark pants and name tags stopped me with the question, "Did you know families can be forever?"

I knew what was coming next. And you know who these guys were: LDS missionaries.

Let me say that I appreciate their dedication and sincerity. And I've got a lot of respect for their focus on families and morals and all the Mormons I've met here in the West have been very nice to me.

But they claim to have some "restored" gospel, but what they are really marketing is a perverted gospel. I've decided that if they are going to proselytize me, then I'll return the favor. I am loving and kind, but I'm also quoting the Bible, the final revelation from God, sufficient to save sinners and our only hope of salvation.

I denounce Joseph Smith as a false prophet, quoting Galatians 1 that states that even if an angel of light appears to you with a different gospel than Jesus Christ crucified for sinners, he is to be accursed. A polygamist, adulterer, and false prophet, I remind them of their hymn Praise to the Man, which I posted here some time ago under the "cult" label.
Here's a snippet to remind you:

Hail to the Prophet, ascended to heaven!
Traitors and tyrants now fight him in vain.
Mingling with Gods, he can plan for his brethren;
Death cannot conquer the hero again.

Praise to his mem'ry, he died as a martyr;
Honored and blest be his ever great name!
Long shall his blood, which was shed by assasins,
Plead unto heav'n while the earth lauds his fame.

Chorus

Great is his glory and endless his priesthood.
Ever and ever the keys he will hold.
Faithful and true he will enter his kingdom,
Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.

I remind them that Paul was thankful he had not baptized more than a few of the Christians in Corinth because he never wanted anyone to sing his praises. In 2 Corinthians 10 he shows his weaknesses and exalts His risen Savior. In Philippians 3 he says if anyone has reason to boast in his works he does, being a Jew of Jews, yet he considers all this loss for Christ. He points all attention away from himself and to Christ.

Joseph Smith holds some keys to the kingdom? Joseph Smith is anointed? Joseph Smith's blood pleads unto heaven and earth lauds his fame? I'm sorry, but this man is burning in hell. I know that's harsh and it's sad, but he was a liar.

The slickest marketing campaign of any religion in history has been the LDS church claiming to "be Christians just like you."

Christ is all. I don't need a mere man to plead for me.

Since I'm doing my big month's worth of shopping at Walmart, I thought I'd post a favorite of Rhett and Link!

"Oh! You said STUPID!" my kids would say if they read my blog...I almost titled this post Stupid Kids' Movies, but then that would imply that I was discussing movies for kids who were dumb ("MOM! You said DUMB!") Ok, ok, ok get to the point.

Yesterday at the grocery store I picked up a movie without checking it out first online at www.pluggedinonline.com (Focus on the Family's excellent online movie and music review site). It was called The Last Mimzy. I'm thinking it was one of those direct to video releases because it was just so BAD, just from a movie's standpoint. What was worse, however, was the worldview behind it.

Here's the premise of the movie: It's the future and the world's soul is sick. Unless the future people can send a stuffed bunny called a Mimzy back in time to find a good person whose love can save the world, then earth will be ruined forever. Yes, I said a stuffed bunny, with a little swirl on its belly.

Of course, two children find a strange container washed up on the beach and it contains all kinds of cool futuristic stuff that Mom can't see because to her it just looks like ordinary material. The Mimzy is inside.

What unfolds is a movie full of Eastern religion: people are inherently good, they've just made some wrong choices, the universe communicates with us by dreams and visions, the earth is our mother and cares for us, we can have power over the material world around us with our minds...

You've also got a wacky science teacher and his girlfriend living together, trying to get winning lottery numbers from his dreams, meditating before Buddhist statues and candles, men in their underwear, women with low cut shirts, the parents as clueless bystanders, cheating on tests with cell phone text messages, oh, it goes on and on.

The most incredible thing about all of this is another mom in town I saw at the store told me it was a good family movie. This gal is a Christian.

Maybe I should start posting about other stupid movies for kids I've seen. There have been too many to count, but it make for some interesting posts...

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