Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday Sweethearts: One Of A Kind

Last Saturday I told you about a necklace that my husband made me while we were dating. I wear it to remind me of his love for me. As time goes on, one relizes that love is a decision and not a feeling that stays forever. When I see or feel the necklace, it reminds me that he does love me, even though I do not feel it all the time.

I started thinking today about how that necklace is really one of a kind. There is no other necklace like it in the world (well, at least the possiblity of there being another one like it are probably greater than that of winning the lottery). It makes me feel even more special to have such a unique piece of jewlery.

And I reminded that my husband is a one of a kind kindof guy. There is no one else like him, and no one else I would rather be with. Sure he has his faults (don't we all), and I could focus on those. But that would only make me bitter and build up walls between us. Hidden expectations form, and when unmet, bitterness resides. I want love to bloom and blossom in our relationship. Focusing on all the wonderful unique things about my husband ties strings between us and allows those blossoms to flourish.

And what a wonderful example it is to the children of how to love your spouse. In this day and age, where divorce is the norm rather than the exception, it is very easy for children to become scared that it will happen to their parents. I know when I was a student teacher in college, we were actually taught about how to deal with that fear. In fact, we were not allowed to mention marriage for life for fear that it would upset the children whose parents had been divorced. In my class of 30, 27 kids came from a divorced family.

So when those times do get tough (and believe me, they do and they will), you might try focusing on the unique qualities (the ones you fell in love with when you were dating and never ever thought of changing in him, but now that you are married, it becomes more difficult to NOT try to change them) of that one of a kind guy that God blessed you with as your husband. For better or for worse, choose to love him. And sooner than later, it won't be such a hard decision. :)

Friday, May 30, 2008

In Need Of Prayer Please

As many of you know, our son JJ has a plethora of health issues. I finally decided it was time for us to see a different pediatric GI doctor. And I am SO THANKFUL that I did. I knew God was blessing it when we got in only two weeks after calling (as usually new patients take 2-3 months to get in to be seen).

As soon as I finished explaining the whole case history to the PA, she went and talked to the doctor. HE IS WONDERFUL! He is so nice and GREAT with kids! He made us all feel at ease. And he began talking about how we need to figure out exactly what is wrong with JJ and some tests need to be done in order for that to happen.

Enter the prayer requests.

The first one is that the tests require JJ to take some meds that is is not used to and to also go without food or water for a period of time (which I know will be difficult for him, especially since he really likes to drink). He will be put under in order for a biopsy of his esophagus to be done. This is extremely terrifying to me, but the more I read about WHY it needs to be done, the more I am certain it needs to be done (and should have been done as soon as we were forced to stay in the hospital back in October 2007!). (Your prayers for me to get over my anger that JJ has been out of the hospital and in the care of a different ped GI doctor and this was never suggested by her are appreciated.) He will be going through all of this Friday, June 6.

The second prayer request is that we are able to get in to see another doctor this past Thursday. The new ped GI doctor said that he really wants us to get in with another doctor is who one of the best in the nation (only an hour drive away from here) in dealing with the type of food reactions JJ is having. I was told to call and ask for an appointment. I did as soon as I was done with the new ped GI. There is nothing available till August.

JJ is now losing weight again at the rate of about an ounce a week. If this keeps up, at his next appointment, he will have fallen below the 24 pound mark (last weight check he was 24.0 lbs). He is only 24 months old. I begged the lady to possibly get JJ in early, as his life might be at stake. The ped GI doctor said that this other doctor could tell us EXACTLY what JJ was and was not allergc to so that we would be able to get high calorie foods into him without compromising his system.

Aftre begging her, she agreed to write a note for the doctor and I would receive a call either Thursday or Friday. Well that night I received a call and explained the whole case history again. And again, emphasised the urgency in the matter, and could they please help me and my son by seeing him earlier. I was told tht it was allergy season and that they were extremely busy. People have made appointments and would be flying in from out of state and some needed retesting and so on and so on. That I should be happy that I am seeing the new ped GI who is doing this test (June 6th). That she would leave a note for the doctor and I should not get my hopes up.

Today I received another call, from a totally different person and yet again had to tell JJ's story (should I just give them the link to his blog?? LOL! I explained how I was really scared (I try not to use this blog to talk about all this stuff, which is why I created a seperate blog for this, but I need the prayer) that I might lose my son. He was losing weight again and is having severe reactions to the food. Foods he was not allergic to last month, he is now allergic to. Food he was not allergic to last week, he is now allergic to. I am quickly running out of foods to feed my son and need help. She said that the doctor was out of town until Thursday of next week and that she would leave him a note about JJ and see what they could do.

So I really need prayer that we can get in with this new doctor who specilizes in this kind of stuff. With him and the new ped GI working together, I know that I can at least be doing something. I finally feel like I have people on MY side and believe me and will fight FOR me and not against me in the care of my son. And for that I am so truly thankful. At last.

Friday Fun: Odd One Out

My oldest daughter needs to learn ODD and EVEN and the difference between them (there is a computer game she is playing and it will not let her pas until she does this). So I created a game called Odd One Out. It can be played two different ways, and even though it is a homeschol tool, it is great fun for public school kids too.

Version one:
This is great with a group, but you need at LEAST two to play this version. One of the children is "Odd" and the other one is "Even." Everytime you call out an odd number, Odd stands up. Each time you call out an even number, Even stands up. This becomes GREAT fun when the caller starts going really fast. LOL!!

Version two:
This is great for one player. Pick two diffreent activities (like touching your nose with your finger, and clapping your hands really fast). Assign each activity to either ODD or EVEN (in this case we will clap with even numbers and touch our finger to our nose on odd numbers). Start calling out numbers. it is that simnple, yet SO MUCH FUN!!! :)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday Sweethearts: A Simple Reminder

I once read somewhere of a woman who had been married over 40 years. She kept a picture of her husband from when they first met by the window in her kitchen. She said that every time she did dishes, she would love that that picture and the flood of emotions and feelings of love came rushing back. It reminded her, that even though times get hard, and the feeling of love might not always be there, that she fell in love with the wonderful man she is now blessed to call husband.

I feel the same way. I had kept every flower Brian had ever given me. When we moved, sadly, I got rid of all but three (the three roses he gave me the day he proposed to me). I also have a necklace that he made me during our first year of dating (1993). I wear it and whenever I feel it or see it in a mirror, it reminds me of the love my husband has for me - even from way back then. And I love being able to tell the people stories about how my now husband made it for me while we were dating. Even just today I got a compliment on it. I glowed as I shared about my husband and our love for each other. Still honeymooners, almost 12 years later. :)

So just a bit of encouragement to find something from those years where you were madly in love with your now husband. Something that you can look at, feel, touch or wear that will remind you that even though sometimes times will get tough, you once (and still do I am sure) loved that man with such a passion that nothing else in the world mattered. I know my marriage is all the much stronger for it.

Summer Fun Button Magnets

I love looking atJunie Moon's blog! I would share almost everything on her blog. She is so free to share her creations, tutorials, recipes ... let's just say she is very giving and VERY creative! I saw her magnets and I just loved them. They remind me of summer and where I wish I was. :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fun Homeschooling Stuff

I was thinking of how my kids LOVE the song The Wheels on The Bus. So for our youngest son, who still needs to learn his animals and what sounds they make, we came up with a fun song to the same tune.

You name the animal, their sound, and then end with "for forty days and nights."

So one stanza would look like this:

The pigs on the ark go oink oink oink, oink oink oink, oink oink oink,
The pigs on the ark go oink oink oink, for forty days and nights.


"The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterward." - Anatole France


Here is a link for soap made without lye (lye free) that the kids can make! Ther ingredients are: Grated pure olive oil soap (If purchasing, use castile soap for your grated soap), distilled water or rainwater, powdered goats milk, cocoabutter (melted), lavender buds and Lavender essential oil! :)


I have found a great page with free printable Bible verse copywork! These are so hard to find! Copywork and dictation are so important. I am so excited about doing more copywork with the girls. Anyone have ideas on how to excite them about dictation?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Yadda Yadda Yadda Life and Herbs

OK, so I have come to realize that I was getting WAY too stressed out with all the talk about finances on the blog. I almost felt that I had to do it to keep readership. But then I thought about WHY I am doing this blog. And while I do hope that someone is blessed by what I share, I am sharing mostly for me and my children. That being said, I will share about finances when I learn something about it, but won't be spending hours upon hours doing the research just to be able to share it.

Since looking up and getting my priorities straight again, I have realized that I have so many goals that I want to attain. But I need to remember baby steps and not all at once. Otherwise LIFE gets overwhelming and I focus on self again.

So I shared sometime back about some goals that I have for myself and for my children. One of them is to learn more about herbs. I found a WONDERFUL site out there called Learning Herbs. He has two FREE ecourses with videos that are SO simple to get you started learning about herbs. One is How to use what you get at the Supermarket to help the health of your family. The other course is about a handful of herbs, studied one at a time, that are great to know about for first aid.

He also has a fantastic game called Wildcraft. If you goto the page, there is a video to see how the game is played. A friend of mine (Hello again Jerilyn!) introduced me to it. I love how it is a cooperative game where you work TOGETHER to find the herbs you need to help the person. It is a GREAT and FUN way to learn about herbs! :) There are other places to buy the game, but it sells for the same price everywhere. SO buying it directly from his site gives you a set of wild cards free along with a dandelion book free. I like FREE stuff! :)

He also sells a Herbal Making Kit. I am VERY excited about ordering one (you have to sign up on a waiting list) and plan on using it with homeschooling with the kids. In fact, his wife homeschools and talks about how she home schools with herbs. SO NEAT!

In fact, a friend of mine (same friend above), learned about an herbal remedy for allergies as a result of the course. Lemon Balf Leaf (you want organic of course) is great! I have been using this as a tea for EE with WONDERFUL results. Her allergies are pretty much gone as long as she remembers to drink the tea. And a wonderful side benefit is it helps her with her self-control (she is a bit on the ADHD side at times).

Friday, May 16, 2008

Looking Up

Today was a hard today. In fact, I knew it was coming. Most of the week was filed with therapy and doctor appointments. I have never had such a busy week since having children.

And yet even though I could see it coming. I could FEEL it coming, only once did I get on my knees and ask for help. Only once did I gather the girls around me as I finally broke down and cried out to God that I cannot do it.

I sometimes wonder if the things around us are allowed to go haywire in order to bring us back to Him. Or if it is the things going haywire that brings us back to Him.

I don't know why I am always trying to do it on my own. In my own strength. I know that in my weakness, He is made strong. I know that God is glorified when I allow HIM to do it through me.

Yet I keep getting this mindset of **I** have to do it. I am so glad God choses to break me gently. Although I must admit most would not call the week I have had gentle by any means.

But I do know that it could have been much worse. I know we have all played the what if... game. And I am thankful for a kind and loving and merciful God who knows that I am not at a place where I can handle my what if's...

So this weekend will be spent looking up. Looking to where my help comes from. To the author and finisher of my faith. I will spend this weekend, and hopefully without fail every day after, looking up to Jesus.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Our Homeschooling Days

I really wanted to share some about what we have been doing homeschooling wise with our kids.

Reading time has totally changed now that AA can read. First of all, it has become her hobby! LOL!! My kids have ALWAYS loved books, but now that she can READ them, she loves them even more! :) Would rather read than play with toys. WOW! I must admit that now that she can read, I am TOTALLY rethinking all the books we have. I want to make sure there is nothing in there that will stumble her walk with the Lord.

So we have been taking one book. AA will read it. Then EE will read it (yes, she is READING!!). She will get stuck on a few words, and I will help her with those. Then MM read the book. Mommy reads the book, pointing to each word as I say it, and then when I get to a word she KNOWS (we use repetitive books, so she KNOWS what word it is), then I will stop and she will say the word. She is looking at the word when she says it. She has fun because she thinks she is reading like her big sister.

AA has really just taken to math. Math for us is every day living. Cutting the pizza into the right number of pieces, measuring, adding, subtracting, etc. etc. So the other day AA comes up to beloved and me and says "4 300's is 1200." We were amazed!
YES! Whatever made her think of that? When asked she replied "I was just thinking of the number 300 and what I could do with it." LOL!!!! She amazes me! We are also doing a little bit of Pre-Math It with EE, but not rushing it with her.

Well, I gotta go. It is quiet time and AA just brought in ten books from the basement to read during her quiet time. LOL! READ!!!! YEAH!!! :)

Something else we have been doing is going through the Proverbs Paper Doll. I print out one page every few days. We work on memorizing the verse that comes with each dress! I also use copy work where I get to enter the words, so I have been entering the Bible verse that goes with the dress!!! It is SO MUCH FUN!!! The girls are memorizing verses! AND changing their behavior too. The first verse was Proverbs 11:16. I changed the verses to be the NKJV because that is what we use. So anytime they were not being gracious, I would just remind them of the Bible verse and sure enough, they would thank me for reminding them and change their behavior!! IT IS GREAT! I am excited about getting the second book. They also come in a bundle.

Monday's Three Things Finance

Three things I learned about finances this past week:

I have learned I LOVE HAVING A BUDGET!! I LOVE how Dave Ramsey puts it - it is telling your money where to go. We have what he calls a "zero budget balance" which means we budget all the way down till we have no money left for each pay period. We are able to put money into our ER fund, towards Brian's ROTH IRA, and we even were able to pay for the family reunion vacation we just took all thanks to a budget!!! :D YEAH!!! :)

I have learned that it is a GOOD THING to OVER BUDGET for vacation. We had originally planned on spending much less, but we had not planned on doing so many extra things. Branson, MO is EXPENSIVE!! WOW!!! We were thankful to have the extra cash to be able to enjoy other activities with the family that we had not planned on.

I have also thought of a GREAT WAY to encourage the children to declutter. My children LOVE to give. LOVE LOVE LOVE to give. And they usually end up giving toys that they are currently playing with, simply because they are the most readily available, and also foremost in the mind. But there are LOTS of toys down in the basement that are just as nice and have already lost their hold on the children. So, every so often, I have them go downstairs and fill up their "giving box." Only nice toys can go in there (nothing with an eye missing, or whatnot). THOSE kind of toys, the ones that are falling apart and not quite up to par of being given away, are put into a box to be brought up to Mommy. Each box brought to me is judged on size and contents, and then up to $2 is offered in exchange. MUCH easier than trying to have a garage sale AND the kids get to learn about handling money. :)

Three links to help you with your finances:

I figured it out! uses thsoe small photo albums for her coupons. LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea!!!

Money Saving Mom shares her method. This is the method I learned from her friend Carrie. And now I LOVE COUPONING!!!

Coupon Organization for Intermediates from Sparrow's Nest (LOVE her blog!).

Three financial links for articles I have read recently:

Video on How To Do Gourmet Meals from the 99 cent store - you can even combine do some fresh and some 99 cent store. This was AMAZING!!!
HT: Like Merchant Ships

Unfortunately because of JJ's health, I have been doing a LOT of research on that lately and have not had time to do anything on finances. :) PS...If you are GF, please check out the post on GF baking, you will NOT be disappointed. I believe the woman in the videos (and author of the cookbook is a Christian too!). :D

Friday, May 9, 2008


Garage sale is upon us!! FINALLY!!

I know how difficult it can be to garage sale with children, but what a WONDERFUL time of family fun! Don't leave them in the car! I know that can be difficult (I remember those days of having a 3 yr old, a 1yr old and a newborn on my hip), but in a few years it will be SO WORTH IT!

I went sailing today, and all four kids poured out of the car. AA and EE both kept an eye of JJ while Momma looked around. And because they had been with me and seen me bargain, they ALL got a pretty good deal today! Each of them brought a quarter. AA (8yr) did the best coming away with three books for a quarter. MM (5yr) did second best with two book for 20 cents (she still has 5 cents!). Although I will admit I do need to talk to her about QUALITY as one of the books was very worn. EE got a very nice book. And JJ, well he got a book about bugs for free! Cute kids will get you free stuff!! LOL! Not that I take advantage of that. But it is something that is true.

Then at a homeschooling sale, the mom saw three beautiful girls the perfect size for the pilgrim costumes she had (just happened to have three the perfect sizes for my daughters). She gave them to my girls for free (bonnets and aprons included). WOW!

Not to mention it is a great home school opportunity to teach your children about finances! :) Yes, my mantra is Life is Schooling! :)

I truly enjoy garage saling. It would be so boring doing it by myself. I have such JOY in garage saling with my children. And that is not something that would be happening now if I did not bring them out with me at the garage sales. :) It is just one more way I can include my children in something I do, and tie those heart strings.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


First, I have updated JJ's blog for anyone interested in our continuing saga of dealing with doctors and my son's medical issues. There is a prayer request there too, if you would not mind praying.

NOW, onto the coolest thing right now (I was about to say ever, but then though I say that A LOT, so I am always changing it).

I have one of the most DIFFICULT times staying up on the dishes. Especially with caring for JJ's specific needs. Meal time becomes a focus on food and eating, and cleaning gets put into the background. I usually have a table full of dishes from two or three meals, which get throw into the sink at the end of the night, with both beloved and I too tired to do dishes.

And then there is the wasting of water as I run water to wash the dishes before I put them in the dishwasher. We have one of the new dishwashers, but the food was always sticking unless I washed it first. This was mostly due to the fact that some dishes ended up in the dishwasher for a long period of time before the dishwasher actually running.

So a friend (Hi Jerylin) from a homeschooling group I belong too was telling we how she doesn't wash dishes. After a potluck at her house, she put the dishes in there with stuff still all over them. I must admit, I was a bit shocked! LOL!! She said that with the newer dishwashers, you don't have to prewash. Just run the load. If she is going to wait a long time inbetween running dishes, she runs the rinse cycle.

So for the past two days we have been having each of the girls put their dishes directly in the dishwasher (easy for eveyone, even the smallest child) to reach. At lunch (noon), we run a rinse cycle, which I could tell used much less water than I would have rinsing them myself. In the evening, after dinner, and every last dish, cup, spoon, whatnot is put in the dishwasher, it is run. Dishes are put away in the morning before breakfast and a whole new day begins!! :)

IT IS SO NICE having a clean sink and table in the evening!! AND because all the kids can reach the dishwasher, they are all able to help much better - and without having to rinse their dishes, they are more likely to put them straight into the dishwasher! IT IS SO EXCITING!! :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

She Reads!!!

I cannot contain my excitement! I just HAD to share with someone .. ANYONE who would understand and get as excited!

My 8yo dd, AA, was having quiet time. Normally during her quiet time, she looks through books or plays with some toys quietly. Today was totally different.

A book, a BIG over 200 page book was in her hands and I could see her READING it. Not just looking at the pictures, but actually READING it.

You see, I have my degree in education, and it took everything in me not to force teaching reading at an early age. I read a lot of Raymond Moore's stuff (his books are great, and his book Better Late Than Early was a real encouragement). But still, putting it into practice was difficult.

Dr. Moore talks about how the brain is not really ready to be reading at a young age and that is why MOST (not all) children struggle with reading. But if you wait until they are ready (usually age 8-12), that they will learn to read in like three days (especially if you are always reading to them - which we do).

Family was always worried about her not reading yet when she was five years old. Six years, seven years and even beloved is quite concerned. But I really felt the Lord was saying to wait until she was ready. And so we waited.

AA has been reading here and there and mostly little books with LARGE type. The book she is currently reading has a medium type (still bigger than small print that is in most books). What Would Jesus Do? (an adaptation of In His Steps). She is even telling me about what she has read, so I know there is comprehension. WOOHOO! AND SHE IS EXCITED!!!

Encouraged and Refreshed!

I am totally engrossed in Psalm 125 today.

1 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.

Webster's 1828 dictionary defines trust as confidence - a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship or other sound principle of another person (in this case, the Lord).

I have never heard it described as resting of the mind on something. But it makes sense. Trusting in the Lord leads to peace. I have experienced this time and time again.

But I find it interesting that it says that those who trust in the Lord cannot be moved. I know that in the past (and I am sure there will be times in the future), I feel like I am tossed to and fro between doubt and trusting Him. I need to fully trust in Him. Completely.

2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever.

The KJV uses the word roundabout instead of surround. defined as encompasses. Surround is defined as being on all sides of, to surround a city.

Those walls that were built back then to surround a city were VERY strong and very difficult to get over. To know that God is surrounding His people, surrounding ME, like that ... and it is forever, brings such a joy to my heart it is unspeakable!

3 For the scepter of the wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity.

Scepter is defined as rule, power, authority.

4 Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts.

God is a God of goodness!!!

5 As for such as turn aside to their crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them away with the workers of iniquity. Peace shall be upon Israel!

More encouragement to stay the path that the Lord leads me in as I trust Him.

SUCH ENCOURAGEMENT! Refreshing water from the word of God. I pray every day, and sadly sometimes forget to read the word. But oh, when I do get back into reading the word, there is such encouragement and refreshment there waiting!! Why do I wait and go so long in between readings? Just five verses today and I am a filled. :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

What Am I Holding On To?

In thinking about the ten commandments, you have probably thought about if you have broken any of them. Most of us are guilty of breaking at least one, and most likely more. But have you ever thought about what order YOU would put the commandments in? What commandment would you put first?

Society would most likely dictate that "thou shall not murder" would be first. After all, it has one of the most severe consequences - even the loss of life, if found guilty. Yet God listed that as the 6th commandment (even below honoring your mother and your father!).

I find it interesting when you think about the order in which God put the commandments.

Most people would say that even though they have broken a few of the commandments, that the first one is one that they have never broken.

Thou shall have no other gods before me.

It is only recently that I am learning that this commandment is one of the hardest to keep.

I think it is because society tends to shape or definitions. Even other well meaning members in the church. Again, this is what I love about the 1828 Webster's Dictionary, where he uses Scripture to define words.

The last definition of god is:

4. Any person or thing exalted too much in estimation, or deified and honored as the chief good.

Whose god is their belly. Phil.3.

Remember where the Bible talks about the rich man and his question about what he must do to enter heaven?

Jesus replied to keep the commandments. The rich man did not respond that he had kept them all. He replied "which ones?".

Jesus then listed the last six commandments - the 6 that deal with our relationship with others. He did not list any of the first four - all of which deal with our relationship with God.

Of course the rich man had done all of the ones in relationship to others. But when Jesus, who was able to see into the rich man's heart, said that he must give up all his possessions and follow Him, the rich man left sad. I personally believe this was because the rich man knew that he had made his possessions into a god. He knew he

To me, I am learning that anything I am holding onto that I fear God might ask me to give up, is a god I am putting in place of Him. The digital scrapbooking I dearly enjoy and value. If God asked me to give that up, would I? What about crochet? Or watching movies? Or reading/collecting books?

I have so much to learn and so far to go. I am so thankful though that I am on this journey now. And my children are so much further along on their journey now than probably my husband (who was raised in a Christian home) was at the same age. I know that they are already MUCH further along than I ever was at that age. I did not become a Christian until after I was in college.

Knowing Your Children

I was listening to some veteran home school moms - those moms who home schooled their children all the way through high school. One thing they said REALLY hit me hard.

You have to know your children.

And I had to think about it. I really don't KNOW my children. I know some things they like - like their favorite foods, favorite colors, etc. But what about their favorite animal? What about the fun things they like to do? What do THEY think is fun? How do they like to learn? What are their learning styles?

So I decided it was time to make an All About Me Book. I added a few blank pages to find out other things I wanted to know about my children. And also for things they might want to share with me and tell me.

I know that a lot of what they say today will change (probably even within days of writing it). But I will keep the books and study them AND my children to get to REALLY know them.

Some more All About Me books:
Making a Mini-Scrapbook For Your Child - do this WITH your child! :D
Clifford's All About Me Book
AWESOME collection of all sorts of all about me stuff!!! :)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Back From Family Vacation

Sorry I did not get a chance to get on and say we were going on family vacation before we left. Hope we did not worry anyone.