Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I should be doing something productive like making pies or cleaning--and I will later, I promise--but I was thinking a minute ago about something (someONE) I am so very thankful for.

When I was in high school and during my short stint in college, I was a lost person. Spiritually adrift, lonely, without any purpose, really, at all. I think I may have looked okay on the outside, but the reality of the state of my heart was very sad.

Then, I met my husband. He was living a confused life, too; we were not searching for God or asking big questions. Our questions were about how to get the most gratification out of our lives. So, we two sinners married and struggled, and yet, God was at work.

For the sake of time (pies, remember) I will fast forward to the present. I have the incredible joy and honor of being married to just the greatest person I know. He is committed to knowing and serving God, and, out of that flows his commitment to me and the kids. He is loving and fun and such a wonderful balance to my tendency to see and think small. I am overwhelmed when I consider the incredible mercy and grace God showed me when He gave me Kevin.

We are still two sinners who struggle and fall. But yet, God is at work, and for that I am so thankful.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008


We had a really nice weekend; Kevin is using up some extra vacation days, so he took Friday off and we enjoyed some extra family time. I love a weekend with two 'Saturdays'! We all went to Hobby Lobby Friday night so the kids could pick out a new Christmas ornament, and then we headed for Pizza Hut.

My stomach just growled as I typed that.

Love Pizza Hut. Have you heard of the Book It Program? Apparently it's been around for 25 years, but I didn't know about it til we started homeschooling. Keely, Noah, and Lily each used their coupon for a free personal pan pizza, which they think is fun and we think is fun too, as it saves us some moolah.

Parenting Resource

I subscribe to these parenting tips via email, and they are always so good. I really liked the one for today.

Another Way to Teach Kids Honor

One of the ways that parents can teach honor to children is to include it in the instruction process. You might say, “I’d like you to obey me by setting the table, then I want you to think of something extra to do to surprise me. That’s showing honor. You choose; it’s up to you. Report to me when you’re done and I’ll check your work.”

Surprising parents delights them and focuses on something they want or need. Instructing children to surprise you by doing something extra teaches them to think about your needs and desires not just getting away with the bare minimum. When your child does an extra task, it’s like giving you a gift. Receive the gift with delight. This can be a fun way to teach honor.

Honor involves doing more than what's expected. All family members need to learn honor and children can learn it when parents teach it. So look for ways to teach kids to do more than what's expected in daily life. It will not only make family life better now but it will also help kids be more successful as they get older.

This parenting tip comes from the book Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, In You and Your Kids, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

If this tip was sent to you by a friend and you'd like to continue to receive tips yourself, you can sign up at

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

For My Non-homeschooling Friends

After writing about homeschooling yesterday, I had a few pangs of--something--wondering if I had been the cause of any hurt feelings or division among friends who don't homeschool their children (assuming, of course, that any of them read what I wrote. Just in case...)

Anyway, I did some thinking about how I should address this delicate topic in a Christlike way. Here's what I came up with.

I like to write, and the thoughts that spill out are about things that I am interested in, amused by, or passionate about. In the latter category, those topics are God, marriage, parenting, living the Christian life, and yes, homeschooling. We each have the responsibility as Christian parents to honestly ask ourselves if we are doing the best we can for our children. Spiritually, first; then in all the other ways. (And really, all the other ways are encompassed in the spiritual, aren't they?) Kevin and I have determined that the best thing we can do to fulfill the commandment to train and teach our children God's ways is by homeschooling them. However, a funny thing has happened to me in the past year or two. The Lord is graciously teaching me something that is incredibly freeing. Let me explain.

We have one particular child who is the police-er of all the other children. Bad manners, hitting, mean faces, stinginess with a name it, and this child has informed on his/her siblings for the offense. (Bear with me here. I'm trying to protect an identity.) Our constant refrain to this little one is: "Just worry about yourself. Trust us. That's a big enough job for you. "

You see where I'm going here. My job is not to judge anyone or make them feel guilty about their educational and parenting choices. Kevin and I do think homeschooling is best; that's why we do it. But I'll leave your family's decisions between you and the Lord. I'm just going to worry about myself.

Trust me. That's a big enough job for me to handle.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In Praise of Many Siblings

I was thinking about the way the kids relate to the baby today. The older four, especially, relish her new accomplishments with something akin to what I feel as a parent. When we sing together during family worship and she dances in her funny little way, they think it's hysterical. They call me excitedly to say things like, "Mom, Annesley just pulled up on the stair railings!" or, "Mom, watch Annesley giggle when I play peek-a-boo with her!" Being the youngest in the family with only an older brother, I never experienced the delight of a much younger sister or brother.

I am so very grateful that my older children get to enjoy this sweet relationship.

Just A Few Reasons I Love Homeschooling

A couple of weeks ago I was in the lobby of my bank with the kids, and the lady helping me asked if we homeschooled. We talked a little more and I asked her about the possibility of a field trip for our homeschool group. She very kindly gave me the number of the lady who sets things like that up, and then proceeded to say something like, "Field trips are such a great way for homeschooled kids to get s------------."

You homeschoolers know what word I left out! I started to launch into a polite spiel, but swallwed hard instead and smiled.

What better way to achieve 'socialization' than learning to live with 5 other demanding little sinners in a loving and selfless way? Learning to relate to others of different ages, personalities, and abilities? I could go on...but I'll spare you. I am so very happy that my kids will avoid the 'socialization' that includes drooling over the latest boy band, being pressed into the 'popular' mold, being exposed to the filth that I heard on the bus when I was 8.

Many people say that homeschoolers 'overshelter' their kids. Maybe some do in an extreme way. We can't keep our children in a bubble, and even the most vigilant parent can't watch every moment. I know that homeschooling is no guarantee of absolute safety or purity. But I love the analogy of the tender little plant that needs to be sheltered in a warm greenhouse, not planted outside in the middle of a snowy winter day. All of our kids will one day come face to face with evil; that is an indisputable fact. I just hope that when that day comes for each of my children, that they will be strong, mature oak trees, and not vunerable little seedlings.

I See Smooshed Fingers in the Near Future

It was fun to see Annesley learning to open the 'toy drawer' in the kitchen this morning. The kids were giggling at the way she hooked her index finger carefully over the pull. I know what's coming, though....

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pumpkin Muffins

This afternoon Rowan and I made pumpkin muffins: one of our favorite things to have for breakfast. We double the recipe below and the muffins last for 2 or 3 mornings. Roo was so excited to bake with me. I should include the kids more than I do, but I really am trying to be better about letting them help in the kitchen. I've concluded that only one child helper at a time is best. That way the craziness is contained and my 'helper' gets to enjoy some one-on-one time with Mom.

I decided to clean out my terribly disorganized pantry after I put the kids down for nap, and check out what I found at the very back. I just hate it when I do that--it's so wasteful. I probably only use corn syrup two or three times a year, so I guess that's why I always assume I don't have any. At least none of them are name-brand: less money going to waste! :)

I'm including the picture of the kids raking leaves, too. They are out there now, and they seem to think I am a cruel evil mother from below. Imagine! Making them work! I love it! But I did promise them some hot chocolate when they come in...

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

1/2 c. raisins
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 c. canned pumpkin*
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan. Place raisins in a cup and cover with hot water. Let stand a few minutes to plump.

2. In large bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, pie spice, baking powder, soda, and salt. Make a well in the center and put in eggs, pumpkin, oil, and honey. Mix just til dry ingredients are absorbed. Drain water from raisins and stir in along with nuts. Spoon 3/4 full into muffin cups.

3. Bake for 18 minutes, or til tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pan before removing from pan.

*If you double the recipe, you'll need exactly one small can of pumpkin.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Little Princesses

I saw this today on Fox News. Wonder how this will bode for these kids' marriages?

Along the same lines...this is excellent.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Redeeming the Time

On Wednesday the kids and I rushed through some bookwork because my sweet friend Jo wanted to have the kids for the day. She is such a blessing! She loves the kids and spoils them, but I think keeps 'em in line, too. God has blessed us with so many friends over the years who love our children and invest in their lives. I so wish that the kids were closer to their grandparents, but that isn't the case right now, and we see God's faithfulness and care through other 'family' in Christ. After dropping the kids off I headed home to tackle some projects. I finished cleaning the carpets (thanks, Dawn, for lending your spiffy new carpet cleaner!) and did some odds and ends around here.

Several weeks ago, the kids' bathroom stool broke, but I haven't been able to bring myself to trash it. I was straightening up in our closet when I saw it and pulled it down from the shelf. Four (only four!) little footprints document the fleeting moment when Keely was 6, Noah 4, Lily 2, Rowan, just a baby. So many days seem like a race to keep a handle on life from the moment my feet hit the floor. While I am plugging through dishes and laundry and schooling and cooking and disciplining...the kids are growing.

Some time ago in Sunday School we were discussing the verses in the Bible that compare our life to breath and grass that lasts only for a season. Some of the women seemed to think these verses were a little depressing. To me, they are motivating! Our time, our opportunity to do good and serve God and love others is limited, so we have to get busy! Oh, how I want to remember the brevity of our time here on earth every day. I want that 'heart of wisdom' that keeps the little things that trouble me in perspective.

I decided not to throw the stool away. Instead, I'm going to hang it in my closet as a reminder to redeem these fleeting days.
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Postscript: The kids and I went to Wal-Mart this morning, and it got pretty wild toward the end. The lady checking me out gave me the evil eye and I felt embarassed that the kids were all over the place. A bag of coffee that I had in my cart somehow got a hole in it and spilled all over the floor by the check-out counter...and at one point Joseph was licking it off the floor. I know. I tried to remember the stool with the footprints on it...but all I could think of was how I look forward to calmer trips to the grocery store. :)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Morning Greeting

Another reason I love my husband: He comes into the bedroom this morning with coffee in each hand and a baby bottle in his pocket. How blessed am I?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Acts 17:24-25
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (ESV)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Urgent Announcement

I just found out that if you come in with your 'I voted' sticker tomorrow, Starbucks will give you a free tall brewed coffee. We may need the caffeine boost to stay awake for those returns!

Update: don't have to just have to ask.

Learning Fun

Even though I'm not too excited about the election, I am excited when the kids and I get to learn about the process! These are the first lapbooks we've done, and it was a blast! We had some great discussion about politics while we worked together cutting, writing, and gluing. It was fun to hear the kids' ideas of what they would do if they were president (Keely's was: share the gospel with everyone, Noah: ending abortion) and to figure out the date of the first presidential election they'll be able to vote in.

this site.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Unpopular Facts

*See the comments section for more information.