Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Life Lately

It has been a while since I have posted, so I thought I would update you all as to what has been happening in our lives.  First of all, my dear husband painted our family room and I am working on decorating it.  I started Square Foot Gardening.  We currently have 3 4x4 boxes with lots of veggies growing.  Since this is my first time ever gardening, we decided to keep it simple.  Next year, we plan on more than doubling it to 8 boxes.  It is so easy and a lot of fun.  Everyone loves it!  We are also experimenting with herbs.  Our first herbs to own are lavender, pineapple mint, and peppermint.  My husband has also been working hard on our yard.  Finally, we decided to continue with Sonlight and ordered and received our curriculum.  This next year, we will be switching to just 1 core instead of 2.  We will be finishing the second half of American History.

We have completed through week 24 of Sonlight cores 1 and 3 (now B and D).  Our plans are to continue through the summer.  The month of May, I have doubled up on the lessons and then will go back to single lessons.  We just wanted to have some of a break before we start back in late August.  The kids are maintaining a great schedule and loving Sonlight and so am I!  

Another thing that we have been working on establishing is a workable schedule.  A few years ago, I purchased, read, and implemented a schedule from Managers of Their Homes.  However, we have moved since (in September) and things were in real need of help.  We are still in the process of making it completely workable, but it is MUCH better around here.  The kids even know what to expect when and look forward to it.

Visiting the chiropractor has also been a part of our lives lately.  My husband is also visiting him regularly.  We have found a chiropractor that we love and highly recommend here in Amarillo.  I can honestly say that I feel great and look forward to the day when my dear husband can say the same thing.

Exercise- I completed the Jillian 30 Day Shred and then moved on to The Biggest Loser Boot Camp with full intentions on completing it in the next 6 weeks.  But other circumstances have put it on hold for a little while.  I think that I will just be walking on the treadmill for a little while or sticking with level 1 of Boot Camp.  However, I have achieved my weight-loss goal and am now back to 122 and feel great!  Part of visiting the chiropractor, exercising, and over all health improvements also means improvement in  the way we eat.  We have switched to raw goats milk (and love it :)), farm fresh eggs, and will be picking up our half a grass-fed cow this week.  I have also started ordering bulk food and grains from Azure Standard and including beans in our diets a whole lot more.  We have switched from white sugar to Sucanat and I am even going one step further and completely going away from all sugar in my diet.  This is hard especially when my husband brings home donuts for a breakfast treat.  Instead, I happily cook eggs for myself and drink a spinach, strawberry, and banana smoothie.  Funny thing about all of this is that when I returned home from the chiropractor today, everyone was in a sugar slump and I was not!  I guess that is true motivation for me- a true sugar lover!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Good News

My oldest son, Matthew, wrote his first song, The Good News.  Our fantastic music minister, Steve, wrote the music to the song and brought it to us yesterday.  Here are the words:

1.  The gospel is the good news that Christ became a man to die for us on the cross.
2.  The gospel is Jesus, who bore my sin and pain and died for me on the tree.
3.  The gospel is the good news that, though they buried Him, He rose up from the grave.
4.  Christ Jesus came and will come to take His children home.  He rose, so we're raised with Him.
5.  The gospel is the good news, that Christ became a man to die for us on the cross.

Refrain: Jesus is the Savior; Jesus is the Lord; the good news of the world.

Also, if anyone knows how to add a song from an I-tunes file please share so that I can share the tune to this song.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Exercising With My Little Ones

A few weeks ago, my friend sent me an exercise video for a very belated birthday gift.  The video was Jillian's 30 Day Shred.  I immediately called her and told her thank you and asked if she was trying to kill me by sending me a Jillian workout video.  She just laughed and said that she thought it would work well with my schedule to only have to exercise 20 minutes a day.  Let's just say it sat upon my shelf for a few weeks because I was too intimidated to even give it a try and I did not own any dumb bells.

After thinking about it for sometime, I thought that I could at least give it a try and use what I had for hand weights- pint size jars of honey!  Don't laugh they work :)  So, this past Saturday I popped the dvd into our player and proceeded to exercise for 20 minutes with my honey.   You may be saying that 20 minutes is easy, but I beg to differ- it was a WORKOUT!  However, I still did not let that intimidate me, I continued on to day 2 and two of my boys decided to join me.  They, too, went and picked out jars.  One of them picked out 2 quart sized jars of peanuts and the other picked out 2 spoons.  At this point, I found it hard to stay focused on my exercises because I was laughing so hard!  If only I had a video camera in the background recording all of this I could have won a million dollars on AFV.  After laughing so hard, I pressed on and so did they.  They received LOTS of praise from me the whole time since they were supporting their momma exercise pursuit.  Today was day 3 and they were begging me to put in the dvd so that we could all start exercising just after family worship this morning.  Believe it or not, this time I had all of the children trying the exercise.  The two little boys stuck it out the whole time. My oldest girl joined us a little way into the routine and so did our oldest son.  My oldest son dropped out because he said that it was way too hard for him.

In the beginning, I wondered if I really had the endurance to stick this thing through for an entire 30 days  straight in a row.  Each day I am feeling it more and more.  It is hard and my whole body hurts, especially my legs.  However, I think that I will be able to stay with it.  I have cheerleaders!!!  They motivate and encourage me.  Who says that exercise is impossible with 5 children?  Not me any more!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Is It Possible To Eat Healthy While Maintaining A Limited Food Budget?

This is the question that I have been asking myself a lot lately.  While living in upstate NY, we had settled into a grocery routine and had bulk food shopping down to a science.  However, since moving to Texas in September and living in a city, I became lax in my pursuit of bulk food shopping and have made many more trips to the grocery store and health food store just because it is conveniently located in the same town  and not far from my house.  Our food budget is $600 a month for a family of seven.  I still make most things from scratch and have some favorite blogs that I get my recipes from and even get a menu mailed to me each month from one of my favorite cooking blogs, Stolen Moments.  She also has a blog at Stolen Moments Cooking.  That being said, I have been encouraged to look for places to order in bulk and save money.

This morning when I woke up, I decided to write out a spread sheet of all the food we regularly purchase, how much we go through in a year, and how much everything cost.  The next thing that I did was to brake it down by the month.  I divided that number by 12.  Finally, I broke it down even further and divided that number by 4 giving me the total for the week.  When it was all done, I was amazed that I had still had around $100 extra each month that I could spend.  Wow!!!  I encourage you, too, to do the math and see where your money is going and how far you can stretch it.

Here is a break down of what I did:

  • Nuts- $59 a month
  • Meat- $141 a month
  • eggs- $48 a month
  • Dairy- $80 a month
  • Bulk food order from Azure Standard- $175
         Total Spending = $503 a month

Recently I discovered that Azure Standard has a delivery stop in my town.  Boy, did I ever rejoice when I found out!  My nuts come from Braga Organic Farms in California.  This is a family owned business.  I order the nuts and dried fruit in bulk, get a 10% discount from Heavenly Homemakers, and only pay $10 in shipping.  This morning, I ordered 100 pounds of nuts and dried fruit and payed $708 with shipping.  Also, a friend recently told me about a nearby farmer who sells beef, pork, chicken, eggs, lamb, and goat.  His animals are grass-fed and are well taken care of with no hormones and plenty of sunshine.  His farm is in Lubbock, but he delivers all over Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado.  He has a delivery stop here in town each month.  The name of his place is Paidom.  His egg prices are between $3.50 to $4 a dozen.  Plus with all the other meats he sells our order with him will average around $1700 a year.  We plan on buying 3 dozen eggs a week, 24 chickens, half a cow, and half a pig.  Our bulk food order will come from Azure Standard and will cost around $175 a month in the beginning and then average out to around $100-$125 a month.  Our dairy will either come from Braums Ice Cream and Dairy or from a private farmer (hopefully this will be the case).  Vegetables will come from our back yard.  I also plan on ordering my herbs in bulk from Bulk Herb Store and this is a place that I highly encourage you to visit soon if you have not already.  The service is superior and the product is beyond amazing.  The shipping is fast and the herbs are super fresh!  Plus if you order from my side button, I get store credit.  All the more reason to order from them.  Olive Nations is also a great place to order things like olive oil, vanilla beans, and such.  If you order through Heavenly Homemaker you can get 10% of your total order and shipping is always free.

This year we also plan on having our own garden.  A friend recently loaned me The All New Square Foot Gardening.  I will be using this method of gardening while using Heirloom seeds.  Hopefully my garden will grow well and we will be able to harvest quite a bit of vegetables from it this year.  This will be my first garden ever and I am very excited about it.

So to answer the question about eating healthy while maintaing a limited budget- YES it is possible.  Just  look around and ask others.  Eventually, you, too will be finding lots of places where you can save money and eat healthy foods.  Before I found Azure Standard, I shopped a lot at Natural Grocers.  Their sales prices are amazing.  I still plan on shopping there.  In addition, there are farmers markets in the summer.  Last of all, there is Swag bucks (points that you get just for searching the internet that translate into gift cards or prizes) that you can use to purchase groceries and other things at Amazon.  If you sign up for their subscribe and save program, you can save 15% more.  Plus you can save 15% more if you sign up for Amazon Moms.  How do you save on your grocery budget while eating healthy?

Peasant Top Is Finished

Last night I finally finished the peasant top.  Today I get to start on the capri pants with ruffles at the bottom and then on to the kerchief.  After that is all finished, I will start a matching outfit for my two year old girl.  Sewing, even though it only happens in little time increments, is helping me to feel great.  It has been the best decision to keep the sewing machine out in the open.  Every time I walk pass it, it calls my name.  When I have a few extra minutes I sit and sew even if it is only 10 minutes a day like yesterday.  Yesterday, I used that 10 minutes during a very busy day to finish the top.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Highlander, Dress-up, Adoption, and Sewing

Life around here has been much the same with the exception that I have not written a post in the past week.  My excuse is Highlander.  In the evening, after the children are in bed, my husband and I sit together and watch Highlander on the computer through Netflix.

The children have had some fun playing dress-up and the girls have had fun playing horsey and baby dolls.  I have been thinking much about adoption and how that I can help others while God is working on my heart and it seems impossible for us at the time being.  For now, I am just advocating for Celine.  Will you join me in praying that God will place it on a loving Christian family's heart to adopt her?  The selfish part of me wants someone in our church family to step forward to adopt her since it cannot be my husband and I.  The other part of me just wants her to be in a Christian family where she does not have to spend her life in a mental institution.

The last thing that I have been doing lately has been sewing a peasant top and capri pants with ruffles at the bottom for both of my girls.  When I am done, I will be posting pictures.  I have finally figured out a way to add sewing to my schedule- keep the sewing machine set up and always in my view.  If I have only a few minutes to sew then I sit down and get busy.  This is motivation!  It may take others only a few hours to make this simple outfit for their children, but it takes me days due to many small children and a busy schedule.  At least, I am sewing a little each day.

Monday, February 28, 2011

A Day Set Aside For Olga And Celine

Do you know what happens to precious children who are born with Downs Syndrome in Eastern Europe? They are cast off to orphanages.  First it is a baby orphanage and then when they turn between 5 and 6 they are transferred to and institution where they will spend the rest of their lives strapped to a bed and un-adoptable.  Patti, has chosen to set aside today to advocate for the Abell family who is adopting Olga and needs to raise $7000 to submit their dossier.

I have pasted the information to advocate for her today here and I ask you to do the same on your blog or on your facebook:

Dear friends,

So many of you already know this beautiful little face....

Olga turned five last month. She has spent the last five years in an orphanage in Eastern Europe, without the love of a mommy and daddy- simply because she arrived in life exactly as God designed her. One chromosome too many, and her fate was sealed from birth.

Sealed, because in Eastern Europe, babies who are born with Down syndrome are deemed unacceptable at birth. They are discarded as cast-offs of society, and when they turn five they leave the only home they've ever known...

And I wish I could say that for most of these children, leaving that home means going to a place of safety, a place of happiness, a place where they would finally know the love of a family...know what it means to be cuddled or sung to or read to, tucked in at night, prayed for, loved.

Instead, they are taken to a place that most people wouldn't leave their family pet.

A place of living hell, where they will never know the tenderness of a parent, never know the security of being raised in a family, and there they will stay, one ugly, pain-filled day at a time...until they die.

I read a post last December that stayed with me to this day. It was called from baby dolls to bedstraps.

The blog author wrote about Elizabeth, an orphan on Reece's Rainbow who had been transferred to a mental institution, waiting for a family to step forward for her. Her words still haunt me.

I wonder where she thought she was going as they led her out of the orphanage that day. Did she think that maybe it was finally her turn? That they were taking her to her forever Mommy and Daddy?

And when they instead took her inside that dreadful place, when they shaved her head and tied her to a too-small metal crib

when they turned their backs and



when they left her confused, terrified,

in a room where the wails of schizophrenic adults echo through the cold air

what was going through her young mind?

Did she wonder if she was being punished?

How long did she hold out hope that this was only temporary?

That any minute, they would come and take her back to the baby house

to her baby dolls and teddy bear,

to her best friend, Angelina?

Did she long to free her arms from the restraints

to cover her head with her hands to drown out

the scary noises

the scary sights

the scary smells?

That could be my Lily….

It could be your child.

And what if it were?

What if you woke up one morning

and by some hellish, twilight-zone twist of fate

your child wasn’t still tucked into that warm bed down the hall,

what if your child was trapped

across the dark sea

in that nightmare that is

the institution?





Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. Proverbs 24:11

Elizabeth is being rescued today, thanks to the efforts of that blogging mama, and others like her.

Olga is being rescued today, thanks to so many of gave so much and created such a large grant that a family was able to step forward and start the process of adoption.

The Abells have done so much already, towards rescuing Olga. I can't even imagine all the paperwork and prayer and emotion and finances that goes into an international adoption. They have done numerous fundraisers, and will continue to do so until they can bring Olga home.

Through the help of so many, a grant of over $13,000 has been raised for Olga's adoption. That grant is set aside for the final travel costs and fees that it will take to bring Olga home. It will take every penny of that and then some.

Right now the Abells are in need of raising the $7,000 that is needed to submit their dossier for Olga. Without that dossier we don't even know if Olga has been transferred yet. Here in America you just pick up the phone and ask these questions. But here in America we don't tie five year old girls to cribs to keep them from climbing out.

The Abells need to submit that dossier as soon as possible- at the very least to find out if she has been transferred already- because I know an army of prayer warriors who is going to want to know that piece of information as well. And at the very most, it could be able to hold Olga at the baby house until the Abells can rescue her. I wish I could say with certainty that she won't be transferred- truthfully we just don't know that.

Olga has been so heavy on my heart for months- friends, I want you to know that I DO trust that God has a plan here.

I prayed like crazy for a way to help the Abells. I truly believe that there is a network of people who love Olga here in blogland...a net that is woven by God and is stretching out across this blessed country we live in, and even beyond to generous hearts in other nations. I really cannot express enough how thankful I am to be a small part of what God has already done for Olga, Peter and Kareen. But I don't think our job is done.

Olga needs us.

I don't want her to spend one more forsaken day in that place than she has to.

We're not doing a giveaway here today. I don't even think we need to do one- I know so many just have a heart to help and to give, and prizes were never the real reason we all gave anyway.

So I'm just asking- for one day- for you to do whatever you could to help Olga. Whether that's $10 or $20 or even a hundred...if you are able to help raise this money for the dossier, please do so HERE... This is the Abell's chip-in. 

This is the link for the Family Sponsorship Page on Reece's Rainbow...every single dollar goes to the Abell's adoption fund, and every single dollar will help.

We're calling this A Day to Save Olga, because there are about 17 of us blogging mamas and one blogging grandpa who have set aside this day to blog, post on Facebook, pray, give and spread the word to SAVE OLGA.

Will you help us?

I know you will:)

One last request.  Celine also needs a family.

She needs someone to step forward and start the process of adopting her.  She currently has a grant available to any family wanting to step forward to adopt her.  Will you be her forever family?  Will you pray for Olga and Celine?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Gardening Season Will Be Upon Us Soon

What will you be planting in your garden this year?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Stepping Out and Being Bold

I am going to step out and advocate for a precious little girl who needs a family soon.  Her name is Celine and she is five years old.  She lives in St. Petersburg, Russia.  She has downs syndrome.  I found her through Reeces Rainbow website and she currently has a grant available toward her adoption.  However, in order for her to come home, she needs a lot more money given to her grant fund.  The Lord has been laying her on my husband and my heart lately.  We want to adopt her, however, we do not even have the funds to begin the home study or to pay the agency fees.  She needs a miracle.  Very soon, she will be transferred to an institution in which she can no longer be adopted.  We serve a Big God who is in the mountain-moving business and I know that if He wants her to have a family, He can move these mountains to bring her home.  Would you prayerfully consider giving to her grant fund through Reece's Rainbow?  I have put her picture and a link to her page on the side of my blog.

Getting Personal- For Women Only

Do you ever struggle with cramps, heavy bleeding, irregular periods, or moodiness?  If you do, I have a solution that really works.  It is called red raspberry leaf tea.  This morning, I woke up feeling very crampy so I made a pot of red raspberry leaf and spearmint leaf tea and I feel a TON better.  My two favorite herbs for menstrual problems are red raspberry leaf and spearmint leaf and they are available from Bulk Herb Store.  Plus, if you order from them from my link on my blog I get credit.

Here is how I make my tea:  I use a coffee filter and spoon 1 teaspoon per cup of dried herb to be used into the filter.  Usually, I mix different herbs.  This morning I used half spearmint and half red raspberry leaf.  Then I add a cup of water for each teaspoon of herb used.  I choose to use our coffee pot because my husband has not been it and I am not a coffee drinker.  If someone in your home is a coffee drinker this can also be made using a little stainless steel tea diffuser and adding hot water, letting it simmer to desired darkness and then removing the diffuser.

I could not just leave this post with no pictures, so I had to include our happenings today.  The sun is shining and it is a beautiful day outside today.  Yesterday, we also went to the library and my children are loving reading their finds.  Plus, I found a few great recipes yesterday that we are making today.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's Official

Today was day five of Aaron being sick and struggling with fevers that would spike to 104.5, lethargy, stomach aches, and not really eating.  I decided that it was time to call the doctor and see what in the world was going around.  They told me the flu and strep throat.  I said, "well, he doesn't have strep cause he is complaining of his stomach hurting and not his throat."  They also told me that the flu was lasting a full 7 to 10 days with some patients experiencing post flu symptoms for up to 2 weeks after the 10 days.  So, I decided to just call the doctors office back and schedule an appointment and boy am I glad that I did!  The doctor was also suprised at the results.  She thought for sure that he had the flu.  He has strep throat!  So, she gave him a big shot and hopefully he is now on the road to recovery.  She also advised me to throw away all of our toothbrushes after 24 hours and get new ones.  Tonight my husband was complaining of a sore throat.  This time we will not be waiting 5 days.   Tonight Aaron did go to bed with a high fever and chills.  I hate using Motrin, but that is when I do use it.  Thank you for the prayers for Aaron and I am so thankful that we went to the doctor and he got a shot.  Hopefully the road to recovery for him is just around the corner and his appetite will return.  Five days of not really eating is not a good thing.

These two pictures were taken today just after bringing Aaron home from the doctor.  He is smiling because he had just finished a sucker from the doctor's office.  This was the first smile I had seen in five days.  Emily insisted that she get a picture too.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Please Pray For My Sweet Little Aaron

Aaron has been sick now for four days.  He has been running a fever, sleeping most of the time, and has no interest in food.  He says his stomach does not feel well.  I have been making sure that he is staying hydrated.

This is a picture of Aaron at AWANA taken several months ago.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

When You Have To Stay Home From Church

There will be time when sickness may come to you or to one of your children and you have to miss a Lord's Day service.  What do we do on those days to still set it aside as a Sabboth to the Lord?  We want to hear from the Lord and we are sad when we must miss, but there are many things that we can still do to make it a joyous day.  We live in a day of internet access in which the opportunity to hear good, solid, Biblical preaching is available.  I suggest to use this time to listen to a sermon online, spend an extended time reading your Bible if you can, listening to music that focuses our mind on Christ and what He has accomplished for those who are in Him, serving your sick child and loving on him or her, reading books that focus our mind on Christ.  Set this day aside and be intentional to make it special even when you cannot be together with other Christians.  It is only one day a week that we really get to do this and we ought to look forward to being with God's people and hearing from the Lord.

I say all of this today because I was looking forward with great anticipation to hearing my husbands sermon from Colossians this morning on the Colossian hymn: Colossians 1: For by Him and through Him and to Him are all things..."  Our son has had a fever and a stomach ache for the past 3 days and I was really hoping that this morning he would be better.  However, last night the fever was just getting the best of him and he was up a lot.  He is just laying around, drinking water a little at a time, and going to the bathroom.  My energetic little boy is just sick.  It is my duty to serve him and love him through all of this and I wouldn't do anything different.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Counsel From The Cross

This week-end I had the wonderful privilege to attend a conference with our secretary from church.  She invited and paid for me to go and hear a recorded conference of Elyse Fitzpatrick speak on Counsel From the Cross.  Wow!!!  I was brought to the cross this week-end and I wanted to share with you some of my notes from her speaking.  I know this is not the same as attending the conference, but I do hope that it encourages someone today.  Plus, I would highly encourage anyone to purchase a copy of her book, Counsel From the Cross or Because He Loves Me.

     "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children" (Ephesians 5:1)

- When we see this verse, our thoughts are often focused on the imperative (command) to be imitators of God.  We either try to keep this command and fall into self-righteousness (pride) or into despair.
- Often when we read verses like these they become as "white noise" to us.
- Our christianity becomes what we should do instead of what God has done for us in Christ.

- Christ is wonderful and I am in Him!!!
- Are we beloved children or begrudging slaves?  We are beloved children as the verse in Ephesians tells us.
- God is pleased with Christ!!!
- We can tell if we are a Pharisee if we judge others and expect them to hold to the law that we don't even hold to.
- Christ is making us into His image.  I am an image-bearer of Christ.
- I am sinful and flawed, yet I am beloved and welcome!!!

- God loves me with the same intensity as He love the Son.
- Christ became man for me so that I could be beloved by the Father.
- We are beloved children, not houseguests, foster children, or slaves.
- The law crushes us and brings us to Christ.  It is our schoolmaster.

- We see Christ in the Word preached and that is why it is important to be present in the Lord's Day services each week.  Lean forward and engage yourself in the preached Word of God.  It is Christ speaking to us.
- Don't shift aside from the hope of the gospel.
- When we don't witness to others it is because we are not in love with Christ.  When we are in love with someone, we speak often of them and it is no problem because they just flow into our every conversation.
- Only the gospel can transform us!

- When we don't pray it is because we are not really sure what God thinks of us.
- Jesus is the wrath-bearer.
- We see God's glory in the means of grace that He has given us: preaching of the Word, baptism, and the Lord's Supper.
- The Lord's Supper is Christ's hospitality to me.  His blood cleanses me and His body was broken for me.
- Don't ever move past the gospel or think it too elementary!!!

These we only my notes from the first night of the conference.  I want to put my notes from today on here also, but will have to do so on another day.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Home Schooling And Housekeeping

A few years ago, I was all classical education minded and nothing else.  I was convinced that if I was to educate our children at home then we needed to use the classical approach because in my mind that was the best.  Years went by and more children came into our lives.  Life suddenly got busier and schooling was taking the majority of my day.  By the time it was time for housework, I was tired.  I was also either pregnant or nursing a baby during this time.  Let's just say, I started looking at other options and reading all the different styles of homeschooling and was impressed with the Charlotte Mason learning style.  My children loved to read and I loved reading to them.  We were all about living books.  During this time of questioning our philosophy of education, the Lord humbled me and taught me that it wasn't really about what style a person used to teach their children at home.  It was about attitude and creating a love for learning.  I was trying to impress and create a smart child with lots of rigorous work and ended up creating a dislike for most of our schooling.  So, I tried several different things and finally ended up landing on Sunlight.  It has been the best thing for our family.  We all love reading and some days it hardly feels as if we are really doing school.  The flexibility of the schedules is also what persuaded us.  We had the option of choosing either a four day schedule or a five day schedule.  We chose the four day schedule and love every minute of it.  This also makes it easier to balance housekeeping.  Our reading time usually takes no more than about 2 hours.  Most of the rest of their schooling is independent work with the exception of spelling and grammar.  For those two subjects we use Sequential Spelling and First Language Lessons and these both are so very easy.

Today, we were able to finish our schooling by lunch time for the most part and then make bagels, granola bars, practice sewing, and clean house, and cook dinner.  Not all days are like today.  Some days are still a struggle, but for the most part there is now a routine that we are satisfied with.  If you are unhappy with your curriculum, I suggest that you look around and find one that will best fit your schedule and your families likes.  One thing that I have learned is that it is not always about what learning style you chose or what curriculum you land with.  You have to go with what works for your family.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Story Of Don and I:Part 2

Don went back to life planning his dad's funeral and I went back to life working as a summer camp counselor in Missouri.  He regularly wrote letters and I wrote back all summer.  He even came to visit me one time during the summer.  Our relationship continued to blossom.  When my job ended, I went back to school for the semester and so did he.  Once back in school, he asked me to marry him.  I said no because I wanted my family's approval first and I did not think that they would be ready.  Our relationship still grew stronger in spite of the fact that I was just not ready for marriage yet.   We both ended up not finishing the semester.  He was not ready emotionally due to his dad's death and I did not have the finances.  We both headed back to our hometowns.  Just before we departed, he asked me to elope with him and I still said no.  We both went back to work in our hometowns and planned on getting married in June.

About February, Don had had enough of being without me and he, in desperation, called me one last time and asked me to marry him now.  I said yes and that I thought Valentines Day would be a great time.  So, I traveled to Indiana and asked his pastor to perform the wedding on the 14th.  He said that he could not do that, but could perform the wedding on the 15th.  We took the plunge and had a tiny little wedding on February 15, 1996.  His family attended the wedding.  We had a total of 14 people attend our wedding.  Also, he drove us both to the church building and walked me down the isle.  It was a very non-traditional wedding, but worked great for us!  We are each others best friends and the years just keep getting better.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

15 Years

Today Don and I got the privilege to celebrate our 15 year wedding anniversary.  We chose to take a hike in the Palo Duro Canyon with our children.  It was a beautiful day for a hike.  Just a week ago it was -6 with a wind chill of -20 and today it was in the 70's.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Story Of Don and I:Part 1

The year was 1995, the month was March, we were in the same Bible history class and we also ate lunch at the same time in the school cafeteria, he noticed me!  He asked others about me and I did the same thing about him.  Who can turn down a handsome red headed man who was studying to be a preacher?  Not me!  The reason I even went to Bible college was to meet and marry a soon to be preacher.    He began walking over to my table where I was eating lunch and asked me to go to the bank with him.  In my mind, I was thinking, "sure, I need a ride anyway across town because I need to get a birthday gift for my sister."  It was his first semester at Bible college and my second.  I knew the town and he did not.  I said, "yes".  We hit it off from the very beginning!  After that time, we went out again on an official date- to Lambert's: Home of the Thrown Roll and then later to Andy's Frozen Custard.  I will never forget that date.  He did not feel well but did not want to cancel for fear that he would disappoint me.  Even though the did not feel well, we still had a great time getting to know one another.

We continued to date each other the rest of the semester.  Then I went off to camp to work as a summer camp counselor and he back home.  However, just before I left for camp, I spent a week with him getting to know his family in Indiana.  This week proved to be a life changing week.  His dad had a scheduled open heart surgery.  He made it through the surgery and then we went out to eat breakfast with a pastor friend.  While eating breakfast, we get a call telling us to come immediately because his dad was not looking good.  By the time we made it to the hospital, we were called into a small room with a chaplain.  We knew something was majorly wrong.  Then the chaplain told us something no one wanted to hear.  Don's dad had died during recovery.  He bled out.  The tears started flowing from everyone and everyone was in total shock.  I drove the family home that day and then they began planning his funeral.  My job was getting ready to start for the summer and I needed to fly out to get there on time.  So, Don drove me to the airport and said his goodbyes to me and then headed back home to help his mom and plan his Dad's funeral.  I wanted to be there for him in his pain...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Free Audio Book- Adopted For Life by Russell Moore

Who likes free?  I do!  If you head on over to Christian you can sign up to receive a free audio book every month.  A few of the selections that I have obtained for free have been C.K. Chesterton books, John Piper books, Jerry Bridges books, and this month a book by Russell Moore, Adopted For Life.  If you have not had a chance to read this book, I highly recommend it!  It will be a life changing book and change the way you think about adoption.  This book is for EVERYONE!  It is about adoption and the theology of adoption in Christ for the believer.  It is a book that is hard to put down and will leave you walking away rejoicing over your adoption in Christ and ready to do something for the field of orphans all over this world.  Then when you are done, I encourage you to head on over to Reece's Rainbow website and pray and advocate for these dear children who are created in the image of God and who need someone to be their voice and their parents.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Gods and Generals, Liberty's Kids, and Ken Burns Civil War

This year in school, the oldest is learning about American History and the other children are learning about Ancient History.  In lieu of studying American History, we chose to watch a movie about the civil war today, Gods and Generals,  and ALL the kids sat glued to the television with lots of discussion afterwards.  Don loves anything about the civil war and has also been watching a great documentary called, Ken Burns on the Civil War.  If you get a chance to watch either of these, I highly recommend them.  Another great television resource on American History has been Liberty's Kids.  Do you have any favorite books or movies that you have been able to enjoy as a family that are about American History?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bagel Making Fun

A few days ago my friend, Celee, posted a recipe for bagels on her blog.  I decided to give it a try today and literally could not stop making them with the many varieties that my brain could think of.    Our children now officially know how to make bagels.  They each got to make a batch on their own.  We made honey whole wheat, honey oatmeal, pumpkin spice (made with butternut squash), multi-grain (white flour, oatmeal, and cornmeal), and cranberry with walnuts.  We also thought of chocolate.  I suggest that you head on over to Celee's blog and find the master recipe and then when you are done go on over to The Fresh Loaf to perfect your skill at bagel making.  I plan on making bagels that are bigger next time.  Who knew that making bagels could be so easy and so fun?  Now all my children have a fantastic skill that they can carry on with them throughout life.  Another plus is that whenever I don't want to cook breakfast in the morning, I can just ask them to make some bagels.  The best of both worlds.  What skill have you been passing on lately?  Please share.  I love new ideas.

Then at the end of the afternoon, you just tucker out.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I'm Back To Blogger

The break has been long but I never really got over the learning curve with WordPress and I cannot continue to justify spending $10 a month for a domain that I have not been posting on frequently enough.

Life around here has changed a lot since I was last blogging on Blogger.  My husband accepted a new job back in September and we moved cross-country in September.  I now live in the same town as most of my family.  This was completely a work of the Lord.  My husband is now pastoring a church in Texas.  We also recently bought a house.  Again, a work totally of the Lord!  I am planning on sharing this story soon.  No new additions to our household.  Our cat that we did have in NY is now with my husband's parents in Indiana.  I made the switch to SonLight curriculum back in September and am not looking back.  I LOVE every minute of it!  Thanks to encouragement from my other blogger friend, Celee, I am now doing the 90 day Bible reading plan (a little behind, but at least I am staying with it).  Also, the Lord has been working on my heart in other areas for sometime that I hope to be able to share with you all soon.  For now, it just feels great to be back on Blogger.