Thursday, October 28, 2010

Personalized Bracelets

Hey folks,

Looking for a nice, personalized gift for a birthday or Christmas stocking stuffer? How about a super cute personalized cloth bracelet by Mandy Mom? Email me:

talkto (at) mandymom (dot) com

Bracelets are $5 a piece, with $1 flat rate shipping within the USA no matter how many you order. (I can also ship to Canada, but I'm not sure of shipping prices.)

Here are the current fabric choices:
Mini Polka Dot (Gender Neutral)
Girly Polka
Flower Splash
Brown & Blue Damask
Original Camo
Blue Camo

(close-up photos of the fabric choices available upon request)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saving Faith: The Surrender of Your Life to Christ

I'm really enjoying watching and listening to sermons of my favorite preachers, like Paul Washer, which is why I'll be posting quite a few this week. Here's a snippet I really loved- hits you in the heart! Happy Sunday! I hope your week is full of praise and worship to God!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sew Excited!

Just had to use a sewing pun, yanno.

It's finally in my possession: The Brand New sewing machine I have dreamed of having for years. You know how it is... you know it would be useful, but you end up using any extra money on other items (repairs, other tools, clothes for the kids..). But now... I have it. YAY!

I'm super thrilled with the machine I purchased (Brother, SQ-9000). I have yet to take it out of the box though, which might lead one to believe I'm not as head-over-heals as I claim, but I have read through the manual. I just didn't want to get it out and get really into it because it was late in the afternoon when we arrived home, the baby needed feeding and we had planned to watch a movie together (How to Train Your Dragon- CUUUTE!). Plus, I knew if I started sewing anything, you'd have to drag me away from it and nothing else would get accomplished (yanno, like supper....).

But, tomorrow? Post-church/lunch? I'm totally losing myself in thready goodness. I honestly felt like skipping out of the store singing, "My hubby just bought me a sewing maaachiiiiiiiinnnnne." Instead, I tried to reign in my bubbly cheer and act like an adult (which, is hard for me to do in general 90% of the time).

I did do a lot of mental squealing and cartwheels. (Which is good, because if I did a physical cartwheel, something or someone might get broken.)

Now that I've rung the spare change out of the budget (well, not really, but I hate dipping into savings), I'll have to sift through old clothes to find material to sew with. I did purchase a few patterns and a two yard of pretty fabric yesterday with plans to make something for the girls. What that may be, I'm unsure of. Pillowcase dresses are great starter projects to get myself familiar with the new machine. There's some super duper adorable pants I want to make for Merika and my niece, AJ. Maybe that'll be my second clothing project.

Here's the fabric:

(Also grabbed a bow to match to make the pillowcase dresses)

*Ladedah....* I may have to pull out the sewing machine post-supper (but then I'll be sleep deprived and half-asleep at church tomorrow.....).

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Create Your Own Pizza

Thank the Lord folks are feeling better in our household. I've been aching to do this little lunch activity, but it's just not fair to spring on the kiddos when one of the crew is sick and can't participate. It's a simple recipe. I planned on using English Muffins, but then came across Thomas' Bagel Thins, which were even better as the pizza crust.. and of course, I included different toppings.

Left to right, Keagan's, Merikalyn's, and Nolyn's. Mine didn't fit on the pan, so I had to watch them devour their nummies while mine baked up in the oven.

"Genius idea!" Nolyn squeals. "It's a pizza burger!"

Keagan decided the Pizza Burger idea was pretty darn nifty. He ate about 6 bites, which means he really liked it, since we usually manage an average of 3-4 bites per lunch. I don't know how the boy survives.

Deliciously cheesy. Yum!

Whilst plucking ingredients from the fridge for the pizza bagels, I saw a tube of Pillsbury rolls. I flattened them out, baked them, and (once cooled) topped with strawberry cream cheese, beaten chocolate (seriously, I beat a mini-Hershey's bar into crumbly submission), butterscotch chips, and sunflower seeds. It's just stuff I had around.

Kids enjoyed, and it wasn't crazy-sweet. A perfect ending to a create-your-own-adventure lunch.

The Best Day of My Life

"This is the best day of my life!" my son announces as we head off to the park (after giving me a huge squeeze). It doesn't take much to please him. Yesterday was the best day of his life because I made pancakes. The day before was the best day of his life because we watched his favorite movie. The weekends are the best day of his life because Daddy is off of work. Some days he just wakes up with a grin and says, "Today is going to be the best day of my life."

This is the attitude I've tried to implement in my life. I wake up in the morning, and I think, "Today is going to be the best day of my life."

When I read this post from Holy Experience, I felt myself nodding. Today is the Most Important Day of my life. Read it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

We all have less than spectacular days

The sickies have been going around our house this week (a result of a romp in the McDirty Germground last Friday), so I've been cleaning up lots of throw-up and poo and watching the wash multiply faster than I can keep up with. (Thankfully, Hubby came home tonight and helped me tackle it! I think I have 2-3 loads left and I'll be done.... for now.)

Sometimes that's just how life is. It's interesting- sometimes we look at people's lives and figure they have it all together, and I've come to realize that some view my life that way. You must realize that we don't write about every detail of our lives. Afterall, most of my day is pretty darn boring to everyone else.

Do you really want to read about how many diapers I changed this week or how many times I had to drag my disobedient toddler back to bed around nap time (a baker's dozen) or how many times I had to place him in timeout?

I'll be honest. I do have moments when I feel like giving up. In fact, a couple weeks ago, I called my husband in tears. Our toddler was being especially, um, challenging, and I felt like I just wanted to walk out the front door and leave it all behind. (And feeling that way made me feel even worse! I don't want to feel that way about my family! I wish I always felt cheerful and calm... but that's just not reality.)

Thankfully, my husband knew just what to do. He prayed with me before I got off the phone, and then prayed after we hung up. Fifteen minutes later, I was feeling much calmer. In fact, I didn't even feel like running out the front door as soon as he got home, which is what I threatened to do.

I think many of us look at some of these noble families around us and believe that they don't ever get stressed out or have bad days, but they do. We tend to think that some families have perfectly behaved children who never act out. (I've heard people claim the Duggar's have just been blessed with perfect children, but the truth is, their children have all sorts of personalities and have tested and tried their parents time and time again. And, I think this little outtake video shows that their toddlers are just like ours!)

Truth is, I'm pretty sure every single parent out there wonders if they are doing the right thing. Are we going to look back in ten or twenty years and regret the parenting decisions we made? Nearly every day I have little moments of panic, fearing that my homeschooling methods will fail, or that my children aren't learning like they should (despite evidence that disproves this). I worry about their futures, pray and beg God to help us teach them about Him, and find myself fretting over my own example to them.

At least once a day, I have to step back and say, "God, give me the strength and wisdom to guide, train, and discipline them. On my own, I will fail, but I can do anything in Christ." I have to remind myself to leave my worries and fears at His feet, and just do my best and allow Him to fill in the gaps where I fall short.

So, when you're having a particularly trying day, just remember.....

We've all been there!

Simplify the Curriculum

From a post by Ruth Beechick @ Homeschooling Today

"Public schools have multiplied subjects over the years. They continually move subjects to lower and lower grades. They break apart a subject into bits and name each bit as a separate subject. Language is the worst victim of this treatment. They spread writing, for instance, through classes on penmanship, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, creative writing, and more. Reading, likewise.

A smart homeschooler wrote on her blog, “For reading we read and for writing we write.” How commonsensical! Homeschoolers don’t need to follow the artificial school pattern. They can be more realistic."


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Adventures in Unschooling: 001

I'm going to TRY to make this a regular post (at least weekly) on my blog. I know I enjoy seeing snapshots of other homeschooling lives!

Math is their favorite "subject", especially when we use our "people" manipulatives.

sidewalk spelling

our family band

my brownie makers!

K is for Keagan.. and Kangaroo. And we love Kangaroos!

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons

castle building

Friday, October 8, 2010

I'm guessing her purse is pretty gigantic too.

C.S. Lewis on Pride

I'm re-reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (my favorite author), and am finding myself completely struck by the chapter "The Great Sin" where Lewis points out that pride is the complete anti-God state of mind.

Today's culture is rampant with pride. I'm sure that's nothing new, but it seems that nowdays, pride, like most sins, is admired and lifted up in society... and even in the church.

"How is it that people who are quite obviously eaten up with Pride can say they believe in God and appear to themselves very religious? I am afraid it means they are worshipping an imaginary God. They theoretically admit themselves to be nothing in the presence of this phantom God, but are really all the time imagining how He approves of them and thinks them far better than ordinary people: that is, they pay a pennyworth of imaginary humility to Him and get out of it a pound's worth of Pride towards their fellow-men. [...] Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good- above all, that we are better than someone else- I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil."

Some time ago, my husband and I visited a friend of a friend's church. The morning service was quite wonderful. We found the preaching to be bold and biblical, so we eagerly attended the evening service.

We were sorely disappointed. The preacher spent his whole sermon talking down on other denominations and Christian groups.

"These people come in the church wearing their flip flops and jeans," he said, shaking his finger at his well-dressed congregation. Then he launched into a story about a woman he came across while guest-preaching. "She came in there with her bright dress and red high heels. I tell you, she had the smack of the world on her!"

I blushed where I sat (thankfully, in one of the back pews). I was wearing flip flops (a nicer "dressy" pair) and a long jean skirt. Everyone else was still in their Sunday-best. Not only that, but I had seriously considered wearing my red heels to the morning service. I was glad I hadn't!

Then the preacher said something that sounded very familiar. In his rant on charasmatic churches and these more relaxed "come-as-you-are" groups, he hollered, "I'm so glad we're not like them!"

Luke 18:9-14

[9] To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: [10] "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. [11] The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men -- robbers, evildoers, adulterers -- or even like this tax collector. [12] I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

[13] "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

[14] "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

[Needless to say, we didn't return to that church. One of the elders called to check up on us, and my husband discussed this issue with him. The elder agreed it was wrong and prideful, and actually kept in touch with us for several months.]

Lewis hit the nail on the head when he wrote, "A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you."

Sometimes people think that you're looking down on them if you live differently than they do, choose to raise your children differently, believe differently... but that is more an insecurity issue. Now, if I look at our choice and conviction to homeschool, and I think to myself, "Well, I'm better than those people who send their child to this school or that school," then yes, I am being prideful. (Honestly, that is not how I feel.. although I know that my homeschooling friends and I are sometimes accused of thinking we are "better", when that is definitely not how we feel at all.)

However, there have been points and times in my life when I do find myself feeling better than someone because of a choice I have made or because I don't do something they do... and it is then that God reminds me that I am no better than a murderer on death row. Then I, once again, realize I, like Paul, am the chief sinner. When I'm busy looking down, I fail to see a God who is much bigger than I am.

Lewis points out how deadly this pride is. "[The Devil] is perfectly content to see you becoming chaste and brave and self-controlled provided, all the time, he is setting up in you the Dictatorship of Pride- just as he would be quite content to see your chilblains cured if he was allowed, in return, to give you cancer. For Pride is a spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense."

So, what if, when we see all these beautiful things being cultivated in our lives, we begin to become prideful- thinking ourselves wonderful and useful before God and better than "the rest of those sinners"? Two steps forward, four steps back?