And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Purposeful

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.



So I looked back at my post last new year's and my resolutions (see my post from Jan 4). One was to be healthier. I sort of stuck to that! I was very diligent about my diet the first few months of last year. Then the diet fell to the wayside but I did begin exercising and I followed through on that the rest of the year. One of my resolutions this year is to continue the exercise and GO BACK to the diet. I don't mean diet like only to lose weight, I mean like healthier eating, lower calories, more all natural (and I will lose weight in the process).

My other resolution was to bring more quality into our lives. To seek quality in all things. I think I did much better on that this past year as well. Not always but in the things I was striving to work on.

So this year my key word is going to be PURPOSEFUL. This word has come up again and again in Sunday School, church service, personal reading, etc. Meaning just to be purposeful in all things. Not my plans but purposeful in using our lives to serve the Lord. I very easily fall into patterns of wasting time playing on the computer, watching TV, reading, etc. This year I want to be purposeful in my time. I have joined Read the Bible in 90 Days. Reading is an awesome activity and I will continue to read this year but I want to be purposeful and read the Bible cover to cover in its entirety and I want to read more Christian books (not novels).

I was so impressed with my kids and the amazing way they behaved this Christmas. I know in my heart that all the extra bible reading we did for our Jesse Tree made a big difference. We will be doing more family bible time. We read Big Truths for Little Kids with them this past year. We may do it again. They both received age appropriate devotions in their stocking so we will go through those.

I have been busy as a bee planning Apple's homeschooling for this semester. I feel more purposeful by having it all laid out and ready to go. Now the time I would spend the night before, I can read the bible or do more purposeful activities.

Will we completely cease watching TV? I don't think so. Will we do more activities that praise the Lord? Yes. That's the plan.

We have discussed having more other families over for meals, spending time studying missionaries in other places, praying as a family for those requests we here. I'm even thinking of starting a prayer board in a place the kids can see it to help us all remember all those requests we here throughout the week.

Tell me what your New Year's resolutions are...... If you make them!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas from the Carter Family!


Our home this year was filled with cheer
and presents all the way up to our ears!
The children proclaimed "Happy birthday Jesus"
thank you for coming to earth to overcome our sin!
We are so thankful for family and friends
We are looking forward whatever the New Year rends!

Okay I'm all out of rhymes. Seemed like a great idea when I started! We had a fabulous Christmas. I was so proud of both of my kids. They get the most improved attitude award for Christmas! Last year they were very focused on gifts and what else do I get and that's not what I wanted. This year they reminded us and everyone else that Christmas is not about presents but the birth of Jesus. Apple retold the story almost word for word (from Luke) several times in the last 3 days. They were patient and well behaved when it was present opening time. They were grateful and happy and satisfied! Thank you Lord!

We really tried to be purposeful with the kids this year and telling them what we really thought about Christmas and it really paid off! I was so pleased! I am praying that in the New Year we will be this purposeful all year about God's plan for us! Imagine what Christmas will hold next year!

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas! God bless!




Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What has been lost & gained in 2010.....

I know it isn't over yet, but the the end of the year is quickly approaching! This post has been on my mind for the last few days. I'm going to try to get my rambled thoughts into a coherent post.

2010 has been an interesting year for our family. It feels as though it has gone by so, so quickly but yet as I think back to January, February, March they feels as though they were long ago.

We have already lost 2 families from our church congregation (soon to be 3) to the missions field this year. Oh how I miss them! As we prepare for the third family depart, I feel the longing for the others more acutely than I have in the last couple of months. Will you pray for all our missionary friends? The R family to Norway, the N family to Saipan, and soon the S family to Uganda. To be honest my husband and I have just really began to understand international missions in the last 3 years. Prior to that I always thought there was more than enough missions work in our own country that needed to be done. Why go so far as Africa or Norway? Why send so much money to other nations when so many in our own nation are struggling? Our country does need more missionaries, more people to stand up and say "I believe in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for me. I'm going to live, and speak, and behave so that everyone knows about Him." Many in our nation are struggling financially and could have much to gain from assistance. But oh, the Lord has changed our hearts. He has gently reminded us over and over of Matthew 28:19-20 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." Meeting so many missionaries from all over the world, watching friends heed God's call to other nations, and my hubby going on his first international missions trip has forever changed our hearts. So if you feel the way that I use to feel, I urge you to read deeper into God's word and to seek out blogs and articles on the things happening all over the world in the name of Christ.

We have lost loved ones. Dear friends lost their infant early in the year. We have seen again that the loss of a child bears so much pain. God reminded us in Matthew 5:4 "4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." I was so grateful for that reminder because later in the year, my grandma passed away. Still feeling the pain of loss from my father's passing, I wasn't ready to let go of someone else so near and dear to me. I feel though that I have gained understanding of the importance of God's timing and that His plans are so much better than mine could ever be. This was also a difficult time for Apple as she and Grandma had a close relationship. I feel like even though she is still sad and feels the loss, it has been a wonderful opportunity to show her a deeper understanding of Heaven.

On a personal note, I have lost 30 lbs this year and 3 pants sizes. Woohoo! I have gained a love for Zumba. I need to lose more weight and I hope to do so in 2011. I think this has helped me to see that it is perfectly acceptable to spend a little time and thought on myself and my health. It is so easy for me to engross every minute into my children and my husband. I know now that spending some time exercising is a great stress reliever and will help insure that my health will not one day prevent me from enjoying time with them. In all of that I have also seen this year how quickly just about anything worldly can become an obsession, eating, exercising, blogging, facebooking, television, reading. There are so many snares available to keep us from God. I hope in 2011 to be even more diligent about my priorities and just making certain that all things are done in moderation.

We have in a sense "lost" friends and family members to divorce this year. An alarming number really. We have seen many separations and rifts in marriages too. Satan loves to attack the family. He loves to bombard marriages. Please pray for yours and mine! It is so very easy to become selfish in marriage. It is so easy to start a line of thinking of "I deserve......" This was one of my statuses on FB earlier in the year "Do you work as hard at your marriage as you do your job? Do you treasure your marriage as much as your hobbies? Do you fight for it like you fight for your friendships? Do you pray for your marriage like you pray for your material desires? Do you love your spouse like Christ loves the church?" And these were the verses that played over and over again throughout the year Col 3:18-21 "Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged." Does Christ expect us to stay married? Absolutely!!! Does He expect us to be bitter and unhappy? No. BUT we are to live our lives in service to Him. Not for our own pleasure. Part of our service to Him is following scripture which clearly includes do not divorce. It is gut wrenching to see the father of 3 walk out because "he is unhappy." It is painful to watch him chose another woman and her child over his wife and children. It is heartbreaking to see a husband and wife chose hobbies, friends, and work over their spouses. It is terrible to see a wife chose revealing clothing and flirtation over her husband. Guard your marriage as you would a treasure. Choose to love your spouse everyday.

I have lost friendships over silly things, nothing at all, and some over reasons unknown to me. I try very hard to be a good friend. I try to be someone that is trustworthy, helpful, and a joy to be around. I try to give in every relationship expecting little in return. Sometimes however this just doesn't work. I have found this year that sometimes things just aren't going to jive. Do I expect everyone to be my best friend? Obviously not but I do treasure friendships. Growing up in the environment that I did, friendships were vital to my survival. As a teenager I could truly depend on my friends more than my own family in many situations. I, as most women, really value friendships. Other women that I can talk to, confide in, and bounce ideas off of, are really a blessing to me. Our choice as a family to walk out our journey with Christ has cost us some friendships. Our choices about homeschooling, traditions, and lifestyle have cost us some friendships. My specific choices in a few instances to choose my husband and children over friends have cost me. I will not apologize for those things. I will say that I am saddened by those losses. I carefully chose those that I draw closest to me (as I belive everyone should) and so friendships that have spanned 20 yrs, 10 yrs, and 3 yrs are big losses. I continue to pray that feelings will be restored and that healing will happen in all of those friendships. God has shown me that community and friendships are so important to our spiritual maturity. He has shown me what a blessing real true friends can be. Pray for your friendships, that they be strengthened by a love for Him!

I have gained a love for homeschooling, a new found respect for law enforcement, a host of new friends, a Panera Bread in my hometown (one of my favorites), and a renewed sense of awe for our Savior.


What have you gained or lost this year?

Semester Wrap Up

Whew so we are on our last week before the Christmas holiday! Woohoo! We have survived our first "real" semester of school! What a journey it has been! Fun and exciting, exhausting and mind warping, loud and rowdy! All of those things......

I have really enjoyed it though. There have been very frustrating difficult days but really the majority of them have sailed by. Apple has learned so much and I am very proud of her! She is reading with a vengence! She has completed both levels of Hooked on Phonics grade 1. When we begin again in January we are going to focus on reading several reader books to make sure that she is ready and then we will begin HOP grade 2. She is working her way through all of her math workbooks and we will continue those. She is well into her 1st grade Science book that we found last month. We have been studying the continents and she will be finished with those soon. She and I recently went to a singing Christmas tree play and performance and she LOVED it! She is so inclined to the arts. I am hoping to get a piano program soon.

Speedy is freezing as he does not like cold temps and it has been very chilly here! He will be performing in his playschool's Christmas program tomorrow. He is recognizing his name and beginning to learn his letters. We will continue working on letters and numbers at the beginning of the year. He enjoys playing and he is very excited about Christmas.

I am excited about the new year and the continuation of our homeschool journey!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Commercials

Dear Reebok, Victoria's Secret, Godaddy, and others,


I do not appreciate your commercials. I find them offensive. I find it very hard to allow my children in a room with a television on at all because of your commercials. Have your ad execs heard of modesty? Can you please tell me how mostly naked women are highlighting your Easytone shoes or websites? Victoria your secret should stay secret!! My 3 yr old and 5 yr old don't need to know those secrets! About 2 yrs ago we cut our cable back to only the first 22 channels due to shows and advertising. It is ridiculous, all times of the day and night, the filth that is on television. Really? The Reebok Easytone ad has got to be the worst offender right now. The whole commercial is shots of ladies rear ends in little more than underwear passing as shorts. You see more booty footage that shoe footage. I went to reebok.com and tried to lodge a complaint but 3 different times I filled out a contact form and 3 different times I was told to try again later. Guess they didn't want to hear my complaint.

I think that in our society today many people cry offense just to be heard crying. I rarely use the word at all because I do not want to be lumped into the group of cryers BUT it is offensive to me and to my family. We are raising our children to respect themselves and each other and that private parts are PRIVATE. We are teaching them morals and modesty. We have discussed totally cutting off the cable. It is that extreme. I don't think we should have to do that. I believe the MAJORITY of Americans would prefer commercials to be relevant to the product and not to be muddied with nakedness. I believe that the products would sell even if everyone in the commercial had all their clothes on.

While I'm on my soap box, I LOVE the NFL. Love it! (DA Bears) But seriously Football commissioners, your cheerleaders NEED more clothes!!! People would still watch your games. I'd even get more serious about taking my kids to a game. They aren't allowed to watch much football because the cheerleaders are naked, again the modesty issue. When did it seem necessary for them to wear little more than bikinis? My daughter loves cheerleaders. She is participating in upward Cheerleading this year but we cannot encourge her much in this area because they don't wear enough clothes! It starts young and gets worse and worse.

Okay that is my rant and I am through now.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Cheer

My husband asked this question in Sunday school this morning "How do you help your children focus on the true purpose of Christmas?" Well that's a paraphrase anyway! We compared our Christmases when we were children to the Christmas traditions or activities we do with our own children. In my childhood, Christmas was all about the materialism. I had a huge long list every year and every year my list was fulfilled. I cannot think of a single thing I asked for that I did not receive. I had, at various times, a pool, a pony, a power wheels car, every Barbie made, every Cabbage Patch available, dogs, clothes, the list could go on and on. In terms of material items, I was spoiled beyond belief! But how sad that I didn't really celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. I spent a little time at church so I think I knew that was the reason for Christmas but we didn't focus on it at all.

For our kids it is evolving a little more every year. We don't "do" Santa, we spend lots of time reading the Christmas story and talking about Jesus. This year we traded the tradition of going to the local Christmas parade to instead go to watch a live outdoor reenactment of the birth of Jesus. We have been to a live nativity before, this was so much more! About a 25 minute production in the freezing cold from the perspective of Mary, Joseph, the shepards, and the wise men. It was fantastic! I think it was an amazing visual for our children. Also this year we are doing a Jesse tree as our Advent activity. Much better than the old paper chain for a Christmas countdown. Next weekend Apple and I will be going to a living Christmas tree production.

I think for us it is about being a little more purposeful every year in any ways we can incorporate. So what are you doing to direct your children to the true meaning of Christmas?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas 2009




Our Christmas photobook from last year that I made on shutterfly.com. I love looking back to see just how much the kids have changed in 12 short months. I'm sad that they are growing up so quickly but I am so proud of them and all they have accomplished in the last year! :-)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving

What a rush of emotions holidays always bring! We had an amazing day Thursday with all my inlaws. Our trip to Mississippi was a fast but fun and family filled one! However I couldn't help but miss Kyle's Papaw who wasn't with us. It seemed like there was a hole that he should have filled.

Then there was the amazing shopping on Friday but I found that I wasn't as friendly as I normally am. I was tired and overwhelmed I think. I got all the deals I wanted and for the first time really took advantage of some online shopping mixed with some in store shopping.

Two years ago...... two years ago the weekend before Thanksgiving was the last "normal" time I spent with my daddy. I made a huge Thanksgiving feast for my grandparents, daddy, and my hubby and kids. We ate and laughed and visited that weekend. Things were clouded though because my husband had been laid off from his job right before we left for that trip. In fact we started not to go but I am so so glad we did. A few days later my dad had a wreck and things were never the same. He spent 7 months in the hospital and a full care facility before he left this world. I miss him so.... His mom, my grandma, left us in April. Tomorrow would have been her and my grandaddy's anniversary.

So while today with my family was wonderful, full of laughter and all our favorite foods, I miss those that aren't with us anymore. I treasure even more those that are still here. My heart yearns for friends that have moved and aches for those leaving soon. I pray with fervor for those that are not following God, not listening to His words and commands. Don't push Him aside, please don't think there is plenty of time to take care of it all later. We aren't promised a minute more.

I am thankful for God's grace and mercy, for His gentle direction, for all the LOVE He gives me and all the LOVE He surrounds me with. I am thankful for each of you. As my family moves forward we are seeking everyday to live for Him and I pray you are too.

“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” - Colossians 3:16

Friday, November 19, 2010

Review: Time for Learning




Apple & Speedy recently had the privilege of trying time4learning.com. Time4learning is a website with tons of *FUN* educational activities for PreK through 8th grade levels. We had one month to try it out. We weren't able to incorporate it nearly as often as the kids wanted to, but we did spend several sessions online.

So Speedy enjoyed playing with the computer like a big kid. He has not been allowed to touch the computer much in his life. He is so rowdy and rambuctious and he does not enjoy sitting most of the time. However time4learning intrigued him. He sat and tried a few of the games. While he was able to understand the games and get the correct answers, he needed lots of help on the technical ways of the computer. I think in another 6 mos or a year he would really get enjoyment out of the website.

Apple LOVED this site. She was able to navigate through the site easily. The material was right on level for her. When you register for the site, you put in a grade level for your child. The site says they put in material for the grade level you select and one above and one below that level. The reading program had choices for her to listen to the story or read it herself. She always chose to read it herself and loved the stories. She AMAZED me yet again with her story comprehension. Each story had questions and quizzes at the end to try. She also learned all about ordinal numbers in the math section and landforms in the science section. The landforms thrilled her because each correct answer gave her a puzzle piece and when she answered them all right, it unveiled a picture.

I asked her to share her favorite thing about time4learning.com. This is what she had to say "The playground! I could go around and pick whichever game I wanted to play."

Now as a parent I love that you can set time limits, the vast variety of subjects and lessons, and the parent page where you can track your child's progress. I liked that I could always see what she was working on. I loved that she found the games and lessons fun and that she was really learning while she played.

We are sad to see our month over. The price just doesn't fit into our curriculum budget for this school year but perhaps for the summer months or next fall we will be able to work it in. I would recommend this site for other homeschooling families or for children who need a little extra help after school.
If there were things we were disappointed with it would only be that the price is per child and not per family.

Disclaimer: The author’s opinion is entirely her own, the content was not written by Time4Learning, but the writer was compensated.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Looky what I got!!!

My Shutterfly.com Christmas cards came in the mail today!!!! WOOHOO! They are gorgeous!!! These are my first Christmas cards that are personalized with our names and pictures. I am really pleased. Some of you will get one of these beauties in the mail! "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Have you tried Shutterfly.com? Do you need Christmas cards?

I have been using shutterfly.com for the last few years! They have terrific products! This year I am going to be trying their Christmas cards for the first time! In the past I have used their folded stationary cards for thank you cards and their flat photo cards for birthday invitations. The cards are always crisp and bright, with options for lots of photos! I am so impressed with all the cards that say "Merry Christmas." I fet so frustrated trying to find cards in stores because so many have the generic "Happy Holidays." Plus from Shutterfly you can include pictures and go ahead and personalize them! How happy does that make me that all I will need to do is place them in an envelope and address them! Score 1 for saving time! Plus all those faraway family and friends will have great updated pics of my gorgeous kiddos!

So go check out their 2010 Christmas card collection! There are so many nice cards that I haven't chosen yet but I am leaning towards Nativity Night Scarlet, Three Kinds Journey, or Goody Garland. I love the message of the season in the first two but I also like the fun aspect of the last one! When I decide which pictures I want to include then I will really know which one is the best! I love the traditional look of the folded cards but they also have 2 types of flat cards if those are more your style! One of the best aspects of Shutterfly is the ability to try different styles, photos, and type and to see the outcome before ordering them! You are sure to find one that is perfect for you. Be sure to review them carefully before you order, look for well positioned photos and typos!

If you are looking for great Christmas gifts, shutterfly has you covered there as well!!!! Wall Calendars and Photo Books make grandparents *SMILE*! You can even buy personalized Christmas Gift Tags!

Shutterfly always has great deals available! Free shipping on orders over $30 with the code SHIP30. Other bloggers see if you are eligible for 50 FREE CARDS!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Motivation

So I was talking with a friend the other day. She is new to staying at home and was having a hard time finding motivation everyday. Who has not been through this? When I first began staying at home, all I wanted to do was sleep! I felt like I was on an extended vacation! However pretty quickly sleeping got old. My daughter was an infant at the time and so she slept most of the hours of the day away. My husband worked a lot of hours back then and I didn't know any other stay at home moms at the time. I was lonely and unmotivated! So I gave my friend the advice I had for her. These are the steps I used to keep myself going and on top of things!

1. Get up every morning and take a shower and get dressed as though you are leaving the house. I also always got my child dressed and still do. Even if we have no where to go, something about showering and getting dressed makes you feel as though you are ready to begin your day. And if you are already ready, if something fun comes up, you are set to go!

2. Start a schedule. Try to get up about the same time everyday, have your meals at about the same time, depending on your child's age, plan some routine things for them to do everyday ex. bathtime, playtime, reading time, snacktime, etc.

3. In the same vein, I made a task list for everyday of the week. Now this is going to seem overly simple, your spouse may chuckle at you (mine sure did!). My list looked something like this:

Monday-Kitchen
Tuesday-Bathrooms
Wednesday-dust & vacuum
Thursday-Sweep & Mop
Friday-shopping day

Everyday- check and sort mail, 1-2 loads of laundry, pick up, feed pets
Biweekly- linens, bills, fridge

Yours may vary and mine is a little different now that the kids have some of the chores, but this gives you an idea.

4. Find other stay at home moms or homeschooling families!!!! This is really important but can be the hardest. I tried a homeschool group in my area early on but it was not for me! Their ideas were radically different from mine. However that doesn't mean just give up! We eventually found an amazing church family with lots of other sahm. I also reconnected with old classmates on FB and some of them stay at home. If you can't find support that way, I recommend going to a local storytime at your library or find other day time children's events in your area! You are sure to find other local moms at these events and many of them are free. If your child is too young for a storytime, just go to the library about the time the storytime begins or ends, there are sure to be other families in and out of the library.

5. Basically you if you need motivation, you need to treat staying at home like a job. It is a job the best but the hardest in the world!

My friend seems to be doing well this week by following a couple of these tips, I hope they help you too!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another Update! :)

The kids are both doing so well! Apple is counting by 5s like a champ and Speedy can recognize his name and is learning all the letters in his first name!! They are zooming through their workbooks! I have recently found some awesome deals! At a consignment sale we found a brand new Science book for Apple and a really cool children's dictionary. Today at Goodwill I found a Science workbook for Apple and a Kumon Tracing workbook for Speedy! I love a deal!!!

Apple's reading is AMAZING! Hooked on Phonics has really been outstanding for her! She picked up a brand new book with chapters at Goodwill today and started reading. They have been testing out Time4Learning and my review on it will be coming soon!



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Just an overview of where we are!

So Apple has finished level 1 of Hooked on Phonics 1st grade! Woohoo! This kid is reading like nobody's business! She is going much quicker than I had anticipated. (I probably should have known) So I bought her two new workbooks about two weeks ago. Sam's Club has the best workbooks! She now has Total Math and Total Reading for first grade. So prior to this I really felt as though she was struggling with math. It is definately not her favorite subject, she finds it boring and tedious. I have tried several methods to make it fun and she just digs in her heels. She will however do her work, just moaning and groaning! So I thought she was running a little behind, however since getting the Total Math 1st grade and speaking to a kindergarten teacher from a neighboring county, I think she is doing okay!

At one time I had found a website that gave goals to strive for each schoolyear. Well the website changed and they took down the page of goals. I sort of feel like I am in the dark now. I really am not sure what I need to make sure she knows (mathmatically speaking) for this school year. The teacher I spoke with offhandly mentioned that her students in K only learn time to the o'clock. Wow! We are past the o'clock, working hard on the half hour, and have introduced :15. She can count to 100 (albeit begrudgingly), add and subtract using objects, and has begun to learn a little about fractions. Maybe she isn't behind at all!

One area that she also needs a little more prompting in is spelling. We LOVE LOVE LOVE Hooked on Phonics but the reading program doesn't help much with spelling. She can read tons of words but if you ask her to spell them, you get a blank stare. So I think after December I will buy her a spelling package.

I also am still looking for a local homeschool co-op! I don't know that I am going to find one. Faith Tutorial is huge here, and for good reason, but really isn't the best program for us. I am very jealous as I google and find large cities within a couple of hours of us that have 20+ homeschool programs! Our city has a vast percentage of homeschool students, but not a lot of organized programs. We have a local chapter that meets for curriculum sales and end of year testing and graduation, but nothing else. I will still search!

Speedy is at the beginning stages of learning letters. He can usually recognize his name. He is working on classification at playschool and seems to be doing well. He is very interested in homeschool and often asks to participate. I have bought him 2 Kumon workbooks to begin on. He is excelling at cutting! Doing much better than sister did at this age. She was writing her very long name at this age though. I am continually amazed by their differences! I really just marvel. It is amazing that they come from the same home, same parents, same environment and are complete opposites in almost everyway including learning!

I hope you are all achieving great things in your school year! I will leave you with some pics from our church's Fall Carnival! What a great time we had!


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Time4Learning

I’ve been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as a homeschool curriculum, for afterschool enrichment and for summer skill sharpening. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A day at the Farm.....

We took an awesome field trip this morning with other homeschoolers and stay at home mommies. What a beautiful sunny day! This was our first visit to this particular farm and we were very impressed!

There was a play area

a petting zoo, a barn of horses, a special talk to learn about the horses, a country store, lots of photo ops


a nice long hayride


a pumpkin patch


'

a corn maze

and a corn box!



Fantastic Day and now we are exhausted! :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tragic.....

I have a lot of thoughts and different feelings about the news media and all that they are reporting on bullying, cyber bullying, and teen suicide. I want to start by saying I think it is tragic. Anytime a child dies, it is an absolute tragedy. My heart goes out to any parents affected by the death of any child.

At the same time, I think that the media has a really bad spin on these cases. I do not sympathize with bullies, I think bullying on any level is wrong, I was bullied at different times as a child. The parents of bullies are dropping the ball, they are not teaching their children morals and ethics that they should be.

Across the board, too too many parents are giving their children open access to things they should not have access to. Children do not need open, unwatched access to the internet. Children do not need to be on social networking sites. There is no need! I have seen children as young as 6 with Facebook pages. Shame on you parents! Ridiculous! If you feel your child is old enough to have a social networking page, you need to be monitoring the content on that page, the content in their email accounts, and the time they are allowed to be online. If your children are old enough to be on the internet, you better have a computer program to block unwanted material.

I feel like many of these children are already depressed due to other areas in their lives. Whether I agree or disagree with particular lifestyle choices, many teens suffer depression and confusion. Children who are "sexting" and children who are engaging in sexual relationships (straight or gay) are dealing with much bigger issues. They are crying out for love and attention. I think it is wrong for people to place all the blame on bullies. These children have bigger issues than someone picking on them. One parent stated that her daughter's school "dropped the ball" in a sense blaming the school and the social worker at the school. Where is her blame? Why weren't the parents aware of all the issues the daughter was facing? One news website said there was no protection from cyber bullying. Sure there is, turn off the computer!!!! If a child is not online, they cannot be harassed online.

Again I think any death of a child is tragic, but let's place the blame where it belongs. To sum that all up for our lives, we are raising our children in church, showing them the word of God and His plan for their life. We are involved in our children's lives and have every intention of staying involved. We will be having many talks with our children to let them know that "sexting" and premarital sex  are totally out of line for what their lives should look like.

What do you think about these recent cases (I think the cases have always been there but are just now getting SO much media play)?

What kind of Homeschool Co-op does your town have?

I find myself wishing our city offered more. There is really only one well known homeschool program in my town. It is a Faith Tutorial. I hear great things about it and have lots of friends that use it. There are a couple of things that hold us back though. It is on the other side of our city (driving there and back wouldn't give me much time to do anything else), it is costly (esp for 2 kids). and you have to use the curriculum they recommend (great but not what we have chosen and again costly).

I really really wish we had a 2 day a week program that ran about 2 hrs, didn't cost more than $75 a child, and didn't require a particular curriculum. My thought would be that for an hour and a half kids could work on a particular subject- art, science, math, etc- in a fun classroom setting and then for an hour and a half they could do some physical activitity. Seems as though all that would be needed would be some teachers (really parents could swap out to help in an area they are proficient in) and a nice building with a few classrooms and a gym.

Do other cities offer this? Is this really a co-op? Do you use any type of outside program in your homeschooling??

:)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall has arrived...... or is it winter already???

Took Apple & Speedy to a really cool pumpkin display in town yesterday for some nice Fall pictures. Speaking of Fall last week was our first week of temps below 90 all week so we were so excited Fall had arrived. Then last night the low was 34!!!!! Hello winter????

I had 2 more pictures for you but this new wacky blogger picture thing just made them disappear so just imagine my gorgeous kids in front of more unique and arranged squash. :) lovely isn't it?

Kindergarten is FLYING by so quickly! Apple is doing amazingly still with her reading. We are still trying to find some math tricks to help her enjoy math more. I did find a couple of neat free math videos online that showed how math relates to everyday life. Not sure if it helped but she was intrigued for 2 minutes.

Speedy is well.... Speedy! He sits and enjoys homeschool for a minute or three at a time and then he is gone again! He is doing fabulous at playschool though and he enjoys it very much.

Everyday I am grateful we made the decision to homeschool. I get to watch my children learn and enjoy their company throughout the day. They are learning not only academic lessons but spiritual ones and practical home life ones as well. They have had many field trips and adventures! They have enjoyed it as well I believe!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Marriage........

So this past weekend I had the privilege of seeing a dear friend exchange wedding vows with the man God has had planned for her all along. I feel confident that God has a hand in this marriage because we have prayed for the perfect husband for her almost the whole time I have known her. I feel certain that after waiting so long for this blessing, that she will make an excellent wife and he will be an equally excellent husband. The day was perfect, the weather beautiful, the bride STUNNING, the air full of love and laughter, and God's sweet presence circled around the whole ceremony. It was attended by many family and friends and the reception was a wonderful opportunity for all to come to know one another.

It is the first wedding ceremony that I ever remembering shedding a tear during. I am by nature not an emotional person and although I find joy and happiness in weddings, I am not normally moved to tears. I cried out of pure joy for my friend and hope for her new future. As is natural, I reflected on my own wedding and my own marriage as a result.

Our wedding was spontaneous but not, fun but not extravagent, memorable but not what we had originally planned. It is ours and no one can ever change it or take it from us. Our marriage is the same. It was bumpy before and at the beginning, almost like a roller coaster the second year and subsequently amazing and beautiful when we allowed Christ to become the center of it. As with all marriages we brought in it the preconceived notions of what we thought marriage should be, the already formed ideas of conflict resolution or lack of thereof, and our own ideals of what we thought a perfect spouse should entail.

I brought myself, loud, southern, and domineering to the table. Any talk of obeying my husband brought a sarcastic remark and rolled eyes. My vows said nothing of obedience. I purposefully chose others. In fact ours read "I take you as my wedded husband, through the unknown future, bring joy or sorrow, health or sickness, prosperity or adversity, or sunshine or shadow, hopes fulfilled or dreams shattered, I pledge to be true to you for the rest of my life." (I cheated btw I keep a copy of these from our wedding day!) Were I to rewind and do it all over again (which I ABSOLUTELY would) I would change the vows, I would read the traditional ones. We have had adversity, we have had dreams shattered, and we have stayed together.

I credit my husband's unwavering patience. Many other men would have never married and certainly not stuck with such an overbearing wife. I felt as though my way was the only right way and no other way would do. I am so so THANKFUL that the Lord saw fit to open my eyes and to open my husband's eyes. He gently but steadfastly showed us that we were not living His plan and by His will if I was in charge. He didn't design us that way! Please don't stop reading here and assume I am a flake overpowered by my husband, not at all! He loves me and respects me and respects my opinion and wants and needs but at the end of the day he is leading our family. If you haven't heard the song "Lead Me" by Sanctus Real please stop now and go to this link and listen or watch the video http://www.sanctusreal.com/. It is an amazing song that falls on my heart and draws me back to the time when our marriage was so out of balance. Open your bible read I Cor 7 and Eph 5. See if your marriage lines up to Christ's plan. Read on through the bible and see how God compares the church to a bride and His love for it.

I literally cringe now when I hear a wife belittling her husband or telling of her plans for their marriage when they obviously don't line up with his plans or wishes. I want to shout "LOVE YOUR HUSBAND, LET HIM BE THE LEADER, YOU ARE NOT FOLLOWING GOD'S PLAN BY BEING IN CHARGE!" I equally want to shout at the husband to take control. If he does not, she has to. A man must take on the responsibility of leading his family, providing for them, caring for them, and gauging their spiritual health.

The direction of marriage in America frightens me. We pray daily for our children and the unknown spouses that God is preparing for them. With divorce at a staggering percentage I fear that marriage will completely fall away. God purposefully created us man and woman.

Please ladies take a moment to consider your marriage and if you are following God's heart. My marriage is no where near perfect, it will never be, but we are always evaluating and adjusting. We want to give our children a healthy perception of marriage. Can you give yours the same?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Soccer!

So Apple had her first soccer game today! She did so well! Her team played against her best friend's team. They will also play their last game of the season against each other.

She only fell down one time during the game! This is a miracle for Apple. She falls about 20 times a day! :)
She handled the ball really well and didn't complain about the heat. I think her favorite part of the game was the big blue powerade we gave her to drink. She would have carried it on the field if they would have let her! Bestie did awesome as well, she made several goals for her team!

Apple was excited to play! She got the treat of lunch at her favorite local Mexican restaurant after the game! Can't wait til next Saturday!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Schooling Update

We are well into week 4 of our official homeschooling year. It has been going really well! I have started Speedy on a letter of the week curriculum. I have found great resources on my favorite blogs and by googling different things I have been looking for. He is learning so much already! This feels like a huge success for me because he has been largely uninterested in any type of learning until recently.

Apple is doing so excellent! I think the time we spent schooling last fall and spring really has paid off! She understands that school time is a special time and she is really enjoying it! She is zooming right along in her HOP 1st grade. I have really been incorporating their free online worksheets this time around. There are fun activities for each unit and lesson. I have really tried to round out our studies beyond just phonics and math. She spends time each week on phonics, math, handwriting, social studies, science, geography, art, music, and pe.

She also began soccer for the first time recently. No games yet, but she has had several practices and two minicamps. She is still getting the hang of it but I am so proud of her for playing even in the EXTREME heat we were having. Praise the Lord it is cooler this week and we have really tried to enjoy it!

Apple is also so excited because at church she moved up into the Daisies class! She has 2 great teachers and a class of little girls that she has known for some time and is good friends with each of them!

I found 2 great websites this morning I will share with you. They are both handwriting resources. Apple needs more practice added into her regular activities.

http://www.handwritingworksheets.com/
http://www.handwritingforkids.com/handwrite/manuscript/alphabets/index.htm

How is your school year going so far?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Grandma

Patsy 1932-2010

You will be missed Grandma Pat! Thank you for the hugs, the yard sales, the episodes of Golden Girls, the peanut butter and marshmallow fluff graham crackers, the love of Elvis, and all the wonderful memories! Thank you for all the love you gave to me and my children. Thank you for opening your home to me for so many years. I love you and will miss you.

Uganda



My husband's words about his first missions trip:

"I have just returned from my first international missions trip. I accompanied several others along with the Union Lady Bulldogs to Uganda, Africa. The beds were uncomfortable, the showers were cold, there was no air conditioning, the bugs were huge, and none of that mattered. GOD blessed this trip in ways that I could have never dreamed possible. I was given the gifts of being surrounded by beautiful scenery, tasting wonderful food, feeling the longing touch of tiny hands on my arms and face, smelling the sweet, thick fragrance of exotic flowers, and being awakened by the strange calls of unfamiliar birds.




All of the inconveniences reminded me of the team’s goal. However, for every uncomfortable moment that kept me on track there seemed to be two new and wonderful experiences that enhanced my stay in Uganda. Before I left for Africa, I was a little apprehensive about being separated from my family for 10 days. I was a little nervous about taking my first plane ride. Of course the there was the issue of having enough money. It seemed like there was a hundred reasons why I should not make the trip. God provided the money though wonderful friends and family. I survived 9 plane flights. The absence from my family seemed to make us stronger than ever before. Small steps of faith started my journey to Africa. Faith that GOD would provide and protect. He did and I am grateful.



I pray that GOD will keep the lessons learned sharp in my mind the next time I am presented with an opportunity to go on a mission trip. I don’t want to worry about what seems impossible. I don’t want to worry about whether my family will be ok. I don’t want to worry about my safety on the way over or while on the trip. I don’t want to worry about getting dirty. In fact, I look forward to it. I bought some new khakis to take with me. After face painting outside of Kampala and playing barefoot soccer on the hills overlooking Uganda I now have paint and dirt stains covering my pants. I wear those pants with pride, knowing that for a little while some of those orphans and I felt the same feelings of love for one another. Different ages. Different skin tones. Different worlds. Same Father."



Who could resist these sweet faces?? I am so so proud of my husband for the time that he spent in Uganda. The whole team really did show the Lord's love as much as they could in those 10 days!

If you want to learn more about Uganda or the programs he worked with there, please see:



Friday, August 20, 2010

Speedy the ring bearer

Apple and Speedy were recently a flower girl and ring bearer. We traveled to Pigeon Forge with Nonna and Papaw for the special event!


Now Apple has participated in several weddings as a flower girl over the years. This was Speedy's first wedding as a participant however. True to his nickname, at the rehearsal he chose to run as fast as he could down the aisle. Over and over we tried to cajole him into calmly walking down the aisle. He never would. Against my warnings, the bride insisted that he carry the pillow with the actual rings attached. I had serious concerns. He is a pilferer by nature. He loves to put things in his pockets. Also he runs, away, quickly, quite often. Added to that, Speedy normally doesn't react well to strangers and crowds. He becomes a leg warmer. Hmmmm..... this was going to be interesting.
Well first of all he LOVED his "suit". He was strutting all around in it. When the time came to go down the aisle, he actually walked at a normal speed! Hallelujah! When he got to the stage, he marched right up and stood in the middle! No one could convince him to move over to the side! He is in every single picture because he stood directly behind the bride and groom for the whole ceremony! He also refused to turn  around and face them. He faced the crowd the entire time. And he had the whole crowd cracking up! He was holding the pillow pretty much by one corner the whole time. I cannot believe the rings stayed tied on! he just stood there with his big lips all pouched out. A few times he put one hand on his hip and looked disdainful. After they took the rings, we tried our best to call him down to sit with us. He ignored us!




On the other side, Apple did awesome! She stood so still and was so mature! There were two other flower girls and they did great as well but they did chose to break out in song one time! So cute!

After it was all over, all Speedy had to say was "That music was too loud. It hurt my ears."

My kids are hilarious! :) Thank you Lord for such amazing babies!

St Louis Zoo

We took an awesome field trip overnight to St Louis! Our biggest adventure was the zoo! We saw elephants, gorillas, penguins, seals, alligators, bears, insects, butterflies, dwarf mongooses, and much much more! The kids both LOVE animals and zoos are a family favorite for us! We took Apple to this zoo when she was 2 but Speedy had never been. They had a great time and learned so much about the animals we were able to see. They would have enjoyed even more time than we spent there but I am sure we will go again in the future. In case you don't know, the St Louis Zoo is always free! There is no admission charge! Parking is $11. You are allowed to carry in coolers, snacks, etc. We did run out of beverages towards the end so we purchased a HUGE souvenier cup. It was the best deal but I wish we had gotten in when we first went in. You pay $6.99 for the cup and the first soda fill up but after that you can refill as often as you'd like for $1 per fill up.









Also if you go, be sure to take an extra change of clothes for the kids! There is one area with a "water fall" for the kids to cool off! We let them do this last and then we put dry clothes on when we got to the car.

While in St Louis we also found a double decker carousel at the Chesterfield Mall and a cool play area there that was free! We stayed at the Drury Inn Chesterfield and it was great! They have a 5:30 free "appetizer". Let me just tell you they should call it the 5:30- 7:00 pm free dinner! It was a whole buffet! Salad, hot dogs, boneless chicken wings, baked potatos, chips, dips, and free beverages. They also have free soda and popcorn until 10 pm. In the morning there was a terrific free breakfast: cereal, juice, soda, coffee, tea, bacon, eggs, biscuits, gravy, bagels, donuts, muffins, etc. Made the room more than worth it! The facility also had an indoor/ outdoor pool, hot tub, and fitness room.




We took the kiddos to Build A Bear workshop too! They had never been and although they were a little tired, they were very excited! Apple made a peace bear that has a cheerleader outfit and says "I Love you!" and Speedy made a monkey with a helmet and knee and elbow pads complete with monkey sound! Our little friend "Lulu" made a puppy!



On the way home, we stopped at Lambert's Cafe for some of their famous throwed rolls! An awesome two day field trip for sure!



*Disclaimer I was not endorsed or compensated in any way for these reviews.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blessed Impressions Necklace Giveaway!

The lovely folks over at Blessed Impressions are doing a necklace giveaway! Check out their facebook page for giveaway details and to see their awesome designs!

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Murfreesboro-TN/Blessed-Impressions/306790831914

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wee-lax Wednesday

So mid week is upon us! We had great days on Monday and Tuesday! Really felt like both homeschool times were fruitful! After Daddy got home both evenings, A took time to review something with him that she had learned that morning! So since we accomplished so much the first 2 days, I though Wednesday would be a good day for review and easy lessons.

We had a flashcard party! Or at least that's what it felt like! A had flashcards to review the states she has learned. We looked at Landmark flashcards ($1 Target) for Statue of Liberty, since she studied New York on Monday, and  the Gateway Arch of St Louis, because we will be visiting there again soon. Then she learned a couple of new things. She spent some time finding Uganda on her new world map placemat ($1 at WM) and looking at the flag of Uganda on her Flags of the World flashcards ($1 Target). Then we began our study of the Presidents. We started with the current President, since she was familiar with him alread, and read some facts about him on the President Flashcards ($1 Target). E looked at his new number and letter flashcards (made free from some internet printables and workbook pages). He focused on the letter Ee and the number 1 today.

They also did some dry erase board coloring! E practiced trying to write Ee and 1, he made a face, and then they both drew houses!

A did some clock times on her clock manipulative and practiced counting with some counting triangles we purchased for $1 at Target. These were short a few (47 instead of 50) but I think we will survive! A friend picked up another pack for us so we will be good!

A started yesterday learning to do a Loop Loom, you know where you make potholders out of loops. It is slow going, she loses interest quickly, but everyone can go ahead and anticipate one of those for Christmas! :)

Have you started your school year yet? Anything really fun you have done yet?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Today was our first day of Kindergarten!!!!


Today was A's first official day of kindergarten here in our homeschool! What a fantastic first day she had! Lesson one of Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read (1st grade), a bounty of worksheets for different subjects, an art worksheet, and a state study on New York. She excelled at everything we did today and she approached it all with an attitude of excitement and eagerness to learn! I can only pray the whole school year will go as well as today did!

You can see part of our "classroom" wall in the background. I am going to add a few more elements and then I will add some pics on here for everyone to see!

While sister did her homeschool, little brother had a great playdate with a friend upstairs in our playroom! Looks like they were having a music class!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Still excited!

Our school calendar "officially" begins on Monday! I am excited to get started. Both of the kids are getting excited as well! All the new items are really beckoning to them. The night we got our new HoP in the mail, A had to rip it open & flip through the workbook. She said this one is a big kid reading program because it teaches how to read a recipe, follow instructions to make a paper car, and how to read a newspaper!

I found some fantastic deals (more deals) at the Dollar Tree and dollar spot at Target today! Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division charts, President, World Flags, and Landmarks flashcards, puzzles for E, and other fun tools! Our room is almost overflowing. I am going to clean off a bookshelf in our laundry room to store some of our items.

Please pray for my hubby and his team. The countdown is on for their missions trip to Africa! He is so excited gathering up the last few items he needs! I am excited for him as well but a bit apprehensive about being apart so long. Planning some fun outings to keep the kids and myself busy! I am also praying that their behavior takes a turn for the better! It has been a long few weeks with bad attitudes and constant reprimanding. It is a cycle we seem to go through over and over but this time has been a little longer than the norm.

I hope everyone is excited about the upcoming school year! I hope to have lots to share with you over the next few months!

Monday, July 26, 2010

We have the best time when the cousins from the north visit us cousins in the south!

We had Christmas in July! I started planning this idea when my cousin and her family left last summer! They only are able to visit one week each year and we have never been able to spend Christmas together. We always celebrate birthdays when they are here because 4 of us fall in the same week. We surprised them this year by putting up a Christmas tree and decorations and by wrapping all the birthday gifts in Chrismas paper. We also put lights up all over the deck by my aunt's pool. Thursday night we had a full on Christmas dinner! Turkey, dressing, corn, carrots, potatos, rolls, green bean casserole, deviled eggs, sweet tea, etc! Then we had homemade ice cream and a red and green birthday cake for dessert! It was a fun week. We were really sad to see them go.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Big Truths for Little Kids




Blogging has been slow lately. We have had some family in town this past week that we only get to see one time a year. A special post will follow about that visit later in the week. For today I just wanted to give you a recommendation! I had this book recommended to me several times before I got around to purchasing it. I am really glad I finally picked it up (actually got it on ebay for $1)!

We are only on story #5 but my kids LOVE this book! Each story begins with a couple of questions, then there is a short story, then questions specifically about the story, then a verse to pray over. Now the book goes along with the catechism. We haven't read the whole book so I am not sure that we will fully agree with everything in it (had one friend tell us he felt there was a doctrinal issue or two). I can tell you for certain though that this book has my 5 yr old talking it out, asking questions, and it is giving her many practical life examples of showing Jesus to others. She asks for it every night without fail and she is spending time during the day leafing through it, looking at the pictures and such.

If you don't have it, I would recommend you get it or see if you can at least find a copy to leaf through. The same authors also have an ABC book out for even younger kids.

*Disclaimer- I have not been solicited or paid for this recommendation

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

30 Biggest Blessings in my first 30 years......

1. My relationship with Christ, He above all things is THE blessing of a lifetime

2. My wonderful hubby who takes great care of me & my family and who also always looks to Christ first

3. A, my first child wonderfully curious and totally unlike any other 5 yr old I have ever met

4. E, my second child totally different from his sister and totally enamoring to all around him

5. My mom, my friend for life, our relationship has evolved so much pver my life

6. The Bible, my guidebook to life as God wants us to lead it

7. Brandy, my BFF! Girls need a friend that is always there for them that you can talk about ANYTHING with

8. Julie, my childhood friend, we live totally different lives now, hours apart but no one knows you like the folks that grew up with you

9. The beach, my favorite place to get away, bummed that my all time favorite beach is horribly affected by oil but know that there are many other beauiful beaches to go to

10. My education, I didn't make everything out of it that I could have and I didn't finish as much as I should have, but I have enough to teach my children and that is a blessing

11. My sunday school community, 'nough said

12. My church family, never before had we experienced such love and friendship

13. Swimming pools, my favorite way to relax, just wish I had my own!

14. Books, I love to read!

15. Coffee, otherwise I might not have stayed awake for all these other things!

16. My children's friends, love, love, love to see my kids play and to hear them laugh

17. Snow, nothing is as beautiful as freshly fallen snow

18. Babies, their innocence, the way they smell, their capacity to fully love

19. Being an American

20. Music, can take you to a place that nothing else can, my latest favorite is "More like Falling in Love" by Jason Gray

21. my dishwasher

22. Riverdale, my high school, crazy times but always remembered with fondness

23. Friends, some for long periods of time, some short, but true friends that love and support are HUGE blessings in this life

24. My great grandparents, they are both gone now but they were my first real examples of Christians

25. Trials I have had in life, they have shaped my and brought me closer to the Savior

26. My Dad, for good or bad, watching him suffer was tragic, knowing God gave him time to turn his life over, PRICELESS

27. Spoons, my extended family has the most laughs over a few games of Spoons (or somthing else)

28. Cake, we all need a little cake sometimes

29. My family, some good, some bad, mostly crazy but God choose me for them and them for me and through it all they are my family

30. The opportunity to begin a whole new decade in my life..... looking forward to seeing what God has in store for me!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Great deal!!!

Home Shopping Network (hsn.com) has the 2nd grade level of hooked on phonics on clearance for $24.95!!!! This is a great deal!!! Has 2 levels, the dvds, & many books!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

E is 3!!!!!

A little over a week ago my baby E turned 3! He is so proud to be a big boy! He was able to have a great pool party at our Aunt Peggy's house!




As always there were way too many gifts! He was thrilled with every single one though! It was a great day with family and friends to celebrate one of the sweet blessings the Lord has given us!

This, that, and the other.....

Working on a little planning for the school year. I have set out our school year calendar and now I am working on loosely setting plans & goals. It is exciting! My hubby is getting excited for us as well! My children have done great throughout the summer! One more week and they are finished with the Summer Reading program at the local library. They have been so excited to go in eveyr week to claim their prizes. This is a great tool to keep them excited about reading!

We had a wonderful weekend for the 4th of July with a few tense moments. First the fun! We went to a wonderful party with our lovely Sunday School class friends. Great grilled food & potluck dinner for all! Then afterwards some of the menfolk pulled out some fireworks! The kids were SO SO SO excited. This was really their first up close experience with fireworks. They had sparklers, poppers, pop rocks, mini roman candles, etc. Then the big boys fired up some big, beautiful fireworks! Some of the best I have seen! Such a wonderful experience made all the better because we shared it with wonderful friends. The next day we had a 4th/ birthday party at my aunt's home. It was my little cousin Cambri's 2nd birthday! We swam, had BBQ, & had a little party! My mini me cousin had gotten engaged the night before so we were able to ohhh & awe over her gorgeous rock!

The tense moment involved my grandma. She is not in good health and we were called to her local hospital (about 2 and a half hours away from us) on Friday night. She had another heart attack and her bp bottomed out. By the time we arrived things were not as intense and we were able to have a good visit with her. My kiddos were upset because they weren't allowed back since she was in ICU. Also we had not been able to get there until the 9 pm visitation and then we came straight back home so it was 2 AM when we got back! We were tired to say the least! However my granddaddy was very happy that we came and so was grandma so it was worth it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Feeling productive....

I just registered A for homeschool in the fall! Since this is our first official year, this is a big step! I feel relief from getting it done! I have one more major curriculum item left to purchase but it is picked out. Since we haven't really stopped through the summer (we've been taking it easy though) this is just another part of the seamless transition into really real kindergarten with all 1st grade curriculum! I find it all very humorous!

I have had the opportunity to talk with 2 other families in my area that are treading water, thinking of homeschooling! It feels really great that in just about 8 months I have gone from nervous and hesitant about even trying homeschooling to shouting it's joys from the rooftops! A herself has gone from asking when she will go back to school (because some of her friends go) to loving it homeschool and asking to never go to "regular school". Our local school system has many challenges and they only seem to be getting worse. I am glad that my daughter (and eventually my son) will not have their education impacted by school changes, building changes, principal changes, zone changes, etc.

This verse has come up twice already today so I will share it with you!

“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”- Isaiah 40:31

Just a reminder!!!!


This is my sweet hubby Kyle! Isn't he cute? Yesterday was our 9th wedding anniversary! I am so pleased that the Lord has blessed us and our marriage. Kyle works hard at everything he does, being on task for the Lord, being a husband, a father, at his job......

He will be chaperoning a missions trip to Uganda in the fall. It is an expensive trip. He was asked by our Sunday School teacher to accompany a young ladies basketball team on this trip. Being a one income family, this is an expensive task for him! However he knows that God commands us to go unto all the nations in His name! Kyle is excited about the trip and I am excited for him! Spending time in orphanages and with a feeding program are going to be amazing experiences!!

So most of you have seen other posts where I have given you an opportunity to help with this trip. I am putting it out here one more time. The remaining balance of the trip is due in 2 weeks and we still need to raise quite a bit! I have taken down the paypal buttons because of the fees they were chargin per donation. You can give directly through https://www.visitingorphans.org/donations/donate.aspx. In the drop down list, please choose the August 2010 Uganda trip and designate your gift to Kyle Carter.

You can also still buy coffee from justlovecoffee.com/kylecarter. They have a wonderful selection and $5 from each bag goes to the missions trip! There is a buttonlink down my right sidebar also!

Thank you for contributing! The biggest contribution the whole team needs is prayer! Many of them have not been out of the country before. It is an 11 day trip that involves over 20 hours of flight! The culture and environment are going to be very different. Like Kyle many of the team members have never been on a missions trip before. Pray that hearts will be open in Africa to the message they are bringing!

Thank you blog friends! May God bless your day!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Raising Homemakers- you have to check it out!

Raising Homemakers

Let me encourage you to check out the blog "Raising Homemakers." I stumbled upon it right at the beginning through Facebook and it is wonderful! If you have daughter, you really should look at it. The blog gives tips, resources, and encouragement for raising your daughters in a Godly fashion emphasizing family and home life.

Today's post really struck a cord (most of them have for different reasons!) because I was raised in a home where both parents worked. My parents later divorced and so I was in a home where my mom worked all the time! As I grew up I really only knew one homemaker, my best friend's mom. At first I thought of her role as silly, I wondered why she did not work. Later I really respected and loved that she was available to come to school functions, pick us up and take us places, and make us an afternoon snack. She did not homeschool her children but she schooled me on being an available parent.

While I was in high school and later college, I realized that my dream was only to raise children and have a happy family. While I did not yet know much about Jesus and the bible (although I spent some time in church settings), I wanted my family to have a different life than the one I was leading. I always thought it was just a silly dream though. I never thought in this day and time that it could happen. However when my hubby and I first started dating, I shared that dream with him. We were not living our lives for the Lord at the time but Kyle always remembered that dream of mine.

God came into our lives and later through prayer and changes to our lifestyle, God granted my dream! Even in that I did not even consider homeschooling until last year. Needless to say I mostly feel as though I am bumbling along just doing the best I can! As the writer reveals in the blog above, good thing it is not in our ability but the Lord's!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Daddy wish I could have called you today to tell you I love you,

Wish my kids could have yelled "Happy Father's Day Grandpa Eddie!"

Wish I could mail you their beautiful new portraits,

Wish I could have bought you a new Daddy O tshirt

Wish I could laugh with you over something silly

Wish I could have made you some peanut butter fudge,

I hope you know how much I miss you.

Save a place for me in heaven above!