Friday, October 30, 2009

Homeschooling with Little Ones

I have to admit that until I joined the blog world a couple of months ago, my best trick to keep my 3 yr old quietly occupied during homeschool hours was a really long bath. Yes, I mean really long.

It's been such a blessing these last couple of months to learn from the experience of many other homeschooling moms with little ones. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but I'm grateful for the help and advice on what to do with little ones while homeschooling from Kimberly at Raising Olives, Connie at Smockity Frocks, and especially Tara at Too Many Kids in the Bathtub. The reason I'm especially in debt to Tara is becuase I won her homemade homeschool giveaway which included 10 fun games/activities that reinforce learning of shapes, colors, and numbers. We've only had it a few days, but it has already been such a blessing!

Here's our American Boy with his favorite, the picnic fruit and color matching game. For some reason our 3 yr old loves food. He calls it "pood". His favorite thing to play is food, so when he saw this game he had to play it first. He gets it out a couple of times a day.

Our sweet boy is a ball of energy and I feel sad that I spend so much time shushing him during our homeschool day. He's so happy to have some school activities just for him. Of course, this makes his older sister finish up her work more quickly so she can play, too.

Here they are with a button color sorting game. There are lots of buttons of each color and an index card in each color. My kids love organizing so this is right up their alley. Of course, the real goal of the game is to keep Baby Lu from messing up their good work.

Thankfully, Measle is proud of her burgeoning reading skills and takes time out of her school day to read to her little brother. I have to watch her closely, though. Sometimes she pretends to read while telling a story of her own.

We have a long way to go, but we're doing better than we were. It isn't all fun and games for our American Boy, either. He sits quietly during our morning read-aloud time which lasts about an hour. This way he's in on our Bible time, memory work, and character training. He naps in the afternoon while we read history, literature, and science.

What do you do with your little ones during your homeschool day? To what degree do you try to involve them?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Making or Breaking of a Habit

Some of my friends and I have been studying through The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. It's been a wonderful study that challenges and encourages us each week. This week we discussed holiness of spirit and habits of holiness. Bridges gives 4 principles that can help us to make or break a habit, though he adds that we must not try this in our own strength or it will be doomed to fail.

Principles for Making or Breaking a Habit

1. Frequent repitition.

2. Never let an exception occur.

3. Diligence in all areas is required to ensure success in one area.

4. Don't be discouraged by failure.

The context in The Pursuit of Holiness is that of breaking sinful habits and forming holy habits, but the principles apply to all kinds of habits.

Do you know what I'm thinking? I'm thinking it's going to be pretty hard to make a habit of our homeschool schedule when we do let exceptions occur. I'm also thinking that we need to be diligent in all subjects or they will all suffer to some degree. Now that I think about it, I'm also a little discouraged because exceptions do happen and we are less diligent in some subjects.

However, Bridges wasn't applying these principles to homeschooling or schedules. And certainly when trying to break a habit of sin it's infinitely more important to be consistent and diligent, but principles are principles. They're principles for a reason. The reason is they're usually true.

On the bright side, the holy habits we're practicing in our homeschool of Bible reading, memorization, catechizing, and character training can be accomplished morning, noon, or night. When something comes up, like the two doctor's appointments that came up this morning, these holy habits can be practiced in the afternoon. The main thing is that they are repeated. Frequent repitition is the key.

I'm also encouraged because I know that in our homeschool not all subjects are created equal. It's not like godly habits or the fruits of the spirit. As Christians we need to pray and study our Bibles and go to church. To leave out one of those habits is to miss a large part of the Christian life. And to have love and joy without self-control makes for a sweet Christian that isn't of much use. However, it's different with school. Some subjects we study deserve greater diligence than others. For instance, character training is more important than math. And, oh how I love math! The Bible is more important than language arts. It wouldn't make much sense for us to expend more energy teaching our children how to communicate than what to communicate, would it?

So, once again I've come away challenged and encouraged by Bridges. I'm challenged to make the formation of holy habits in my children and myself our top priority. I'm challenged to be diligent with my children in this one area above all others. And I'm encouraged that when we don't fit everything into our day, it doesn't mean I'm a failure. I'm not a failure of a mother or a failure of a teacher. It simply means we failed to stick to the schedule that day. And that is not a sin!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Peace Amid the Chaos

Peace amid the chaos. This has been my prayer request the last few days. I'm considering revising our homeschooling schedule AGAIN in order to have a more peaceful home environment. I keep reminding myself that the reason I chose to homeschool my kids is so I could spend all day with them and enjoy them! So why does it seem so stressful?

These are the changes I've decided to try in order to make for a more peaceful home. Please give me additional suggestions or comment on the changes that I'm trying.

1. Gone are our big blocks of independent study time. My kids are not able to stay on task for an extended period of time (more than 1 hr.) I'm going to limit their independent study sessions to 45 minutes max. They can't get their math done in less than an hour, so I'm going to have to temporarily shorten their lessons (thank goodness they're each 1 year ahead) so that they can complete them in 45 minutes or less. This will do several things, I hope. It will allow us to spend time on more subjects each day (more on what we're adding to our curriculum later) and I'm hoping it will also help the kids to stay focused until they complete their lesson.

2. I'm not going to try to cram all our subjects into our Bible study days. My kids and I go to Community Bible Study on Wednesday mornings. It takes about 2.5 hrs out of our school day, but it's well worth it. We are all studying Acts this year and are blessed to have a homeschool program in our local CBS. This has meant that our Wednesday mornings and afternoons have been crazy busy. I decided today that we would substitute 30 minutes of Mathtacular for math on Wednesdays. The kids love it and it's a load off me. Again, I'm grateful they're a year ahead in math so I can make these changes without feeling like I'm compromising their education. I'm also making sure we read ahead in Bible on Tuesdays so we can skip our morning read-aloud time on Wednesdays.

3. I am committed to tweaking our schedule until we find a happy and productive routine that allows peace to reign in our home, not stress. Stay tuned for a revised schedule that will include a new subject.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ever had one of those days?

Ever have one of those days that you just can't remember everything you're supposed to be doing? Well, I'm having one of those years.

I've missed a kid's well check-up (on her birthday, no less) and two hair appointments lately. You know, the kind of miss where I don't even realize I've missed it until the end of the day, or worse, several days later.

A few months ago I dropped off my older kids at swim practice and in a weak moment decided to drive through a local coffee shop and get a frap. When I got to the window to pay I realized I didn't even have my purse with me. How embarassing. The guy was so nice that he just gave it to me anyway and said I could catch them the next time. I was so embarassed that I rushed home immediately and got my purse then drove back to the shop and paid for my drink. He didn't seem surprised to see me.

Then, although it seems impossible for this to happen to the same person more than once, I repeated my faux-paus at a different coffee shop in a different part of town a few weeks later. This time there was a young girl at the window and she wasn't so sure what to do with me. I really wanted, no needed, that drink so I pulled out all the stops. I told her I'd write an I.O.U. and she looked at me like, "Huh?" I told her the manager knew me (ok, so this wasn't my first or second frap) and I would definitely be back to pay for my drink. She finally relented and did seem a little surprised when I was back with my purse in 30 minutes.

When I shared these stories with my mom, shortly after they happened, she said she could top them. She was at Walmart with a cart full of groceries when she realized she didn't have her wallet. She had been there an hour and didn't have time to go back later- it was now or never. Since she was always running into people she knows at Walmart, she decided that there must be someone in the store who could help her. So she started cruising up and down the aisles looking for a friend. It wasn't long before she found my across-the-street neighbor and begged the use of her credit card. My neighbor laughed and said she knew where to find her if she had to come looking.

Have you ever had one of those days?

For the Rest of the Story...

I'm a little excited that I'm guest barista today at the Internet Cafe and one of my stories is the featured devotion.

If you have the time please follow the link above and leave a comment in the comments section of the devotion.


Monday, October 26, 2009

When the Truth Hurts

I had a painful revelation tonight. My good child isn't so good. Don't you hate that?

Thanks to a recent post by my friend Tara at Too Many Kids in the Bathtub, we've started more consistently studying godly character sketches from ATI in the mornings after we do our Sonlight Bible reading. Right now we're working through the booklet on obedience. Today we talked about how important it is to obey our own conscience.

Tonight our 10 year old son had a few things he wanted to get off his chest. First, he admitted to sneaking some time on his Nintendo DS last week. He had traded a bunch of his old games for a new one that he was very excited about and instead of waiting for the weekend like he was supposed to he went ahead and sneaked it. I probably asked him 3 or 4 times what he was doing and each time he lied and made something else up. Ouch. Then after his dad went easier on his punishment since he confessed, he told us he had something else he needed to fess up to. Turns out one of his friends showed him some klay world youtube videos that had bad language and then after his friend was gone he looked at some of them on his own. Again, we were grateful that he admitted this to us, but heartbroken that he did it in the first place when he's not ever supposed to be on the internet without one of us. (We're also thankful that his version of really, really, really bad is klay world.)

Then there's our 3 year old son who has started lying about doing what he is told. He has to be reminded to go potty a lot and now he's started lying about it. He also lied about picking up his room today and when I said, "Ok, let me go check," he knew he was busted and started crying that he would do it. We take lying very seriously at our house and never allow it to go unpunished. After three times in one day, though, I'm starting to wonder if I'm getting through!

Ever get frustrated and feel like you're failing your kids? I know my husband and I will stand before God someday and give an account for how we brought up our children. We so desperately want to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

After our 10 year old confessed his past lies to us tonight I asked him if he remembered what we can do to restore our conscience. He did and I guess that's something. He said, "Read the Bible." I told him that's right that our minds are renewed through the reading of God's Word.

It's hard when trust is broken. I know we only have a short time with our children and soon they'll be walking this path of life on their own. The whole purpose of God's law, after all, is to show us our duty to God and man. And with that comes the revelation that we cannot measure up. The truth hurts. It hurts our pride. It makes us painfully aware of our sin and the gravity of it. It causes us to bear responsibility for separating ourselves from God. The sooner we all come face to face with this bitter pill, the better, because it's in this place of honesty and humility that the grace of God is found and appreciated. For, "the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost," (Luke 19:10) and for that I am eternally grateful!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ahhh, that's better.

Well, it's looking a lot better, but don't look too closely since I haven't done anything with the shelves, yet. I've learned a great deal through this process. I've learned that less really is more. I've learned that 18 m is probably not big enough for Baby Lu's holiday dress, so I'm going to try to exchange it tomorrow for a bigger size. And I've learned that Lu lets me get some work done as long as I allow her to eat bingo pieces. Until I figured that out it looked like I would never make any progress. Just as soon as I'd put something in a box, she'd take it out. Hey, it worked and we all have to make sacrifices, right?

Now I just have to make room in the clothes storage closet. Yikes! I have 5 or 6 space bags crammed into some shelves and hand-me-down coats and shoes in the "dead space" of the closet under the stairs, which also serves as a broom closet. I'll post on that closet later. It's actually in pretty good shape right now, I just have to find room for three new boxes:)

Depressing Doll?

Now I know somebody out there in blogdom is going to take this the wrong way, but I'll try my best to prevent that. I love Vision Forum and have 8 pages dog-eared in my new catalog. My children will definitely be having a Vision Forum Christmas this year, but I saw something in their catalog last night that seems a little bit off. Maybe it's just me.

My girls love American Girl dolls and my 8 year old daughter was having so much fun looking at the Beautiful Girlhood dolls in the Vision Forum catalog. I was reading something else while Twinkle Toes sat next to me reading the doll descriptions out loud. I heard her describe the Priscilla Mullins doll as a teenager who came to this country on the Mayflower. Cool, a pilgrim doll! Next she read the description of Dolley Madison, the Christian first lady with a heart for hospitality. What a wonderful role model. Then she started reading the description of Nan Harper.

"Nan Harper was just a girl when she and her father boarded the R.M.S. Titanic. Her father, John, would perish on the fateful night of its sinking, but Nan would later learn of him leading men to Christ as they froze together in the North Atlantic. Dress your doll in this pink dress, trimmed with satin ribbon, pink lace, and a rosebud at the waist." (p. 52)

I knew when I heard Titanic that it couldn't be good news for poor Nan. The paperback book that accompanies the doll has a picture of the Titanic sinking on its cover. Now, as a Christian I know that to live is Christ and to die is gain, but doesn't this seem a little macabre for a girl's doll? I can just see my Measle opening this up on Christmas morning and beginning to cry as we read her the story of her doll. "That's right, honey, her daddy froze to death, but don't you like her pretty pink dress with the satin ribbon and rosebud at the waist?"

Am I the only one who thinks this is a little weird?

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Sufficiency of Scripture

We all know what 2 Timothy 3:16 says:

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

The question is what does it mean?

My husband is a pastor and very passionate about the sufficiency of Scripture. He gets frustrated because through the years he’s seen people try everything from getting charged from singing great praise songs to making sure their kids are in super youth programs to try to bring their spiritual lives to new heights. But according to 2 Tim 3:16, God’s Word is all we need. God could have chosen to reveal Himself to us through osmosis or by zapping, but He chose to communicate to us through the written Word. Of course, we know the Bible is not just a book, but that it’s the very words of God, breathed into men chosen and guided by Him to write His Word. Isn’t it amazing that we can know God, the creator and sustainer of the universe, the One whose name is “I Am”, the One who always was, is, and will be, the very One who grants us each breath and knows when we’ll take our last, the One who knows our thoughts and words altogether, the One who is both our Judge and Deliverer? In light of this, doesn’t it seem ridiculous that we don’t devote the better part of our lives to studying His Word?

How can a Christian not be passionate about the Bible? How can we really think that the world has the solution to our problems? Why do we keep trying to reinvent the church to be more attractive to the world, when we belong to God, bought and purchased through the blood of His Son? Why do we need programs and gimmicks, video arcades and bowling alleys in our churches? Why don’t we believe that God’s Word is enough?

According to 2 Tim 3:16, our knowledge of God, our ability to obey Him, and our service to others all hang on our commitment to studying the Bible. There is no short-cut. There is no buy-out option. None of us will progress in our spiritual lives apart from the discipline of Bible study.

God sanctifies us through the cooperative work of His Spirit and His Word. How can the Holy Spirit convict us if we have no knowledge of God's law? How can the Holy Spirit illuminate God's Word to us if we're not in it? How can the Holy Spirit comfort us apart from the hope contained in the pages of Scripture? And so it goes... there is no other life for the Christian, no B team, no second string. God promises to make His chosen people holy, and to do that He uses His Word.

It has to get worse before it can get better, right?

It does have to get worse before it gets better, right? Right?
At least I've started and sometimes that's the hardest part.
Check back to see my progress. Oh- and that completed bin is full of 0-3 and 3-6 month clothes. Does that look like 24 outfits? Well, I added some jammies and blankets, socks and shoes.
I can't tell you how disappointed I'm going to be if the Lord never blesses us with another baby girl! It's so much fun just looking at all these cute little outfits and remembering Baby Lu in them.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Must organize! Need help!

Am I the only one that gets overwhelmed by my to-do list and wants to just chuck it? I’ve needed to go through Baby Lu’s closet for some time now, but have been putting it off. I should have done it when she went from 0-6 to 6-12 m size. But I didn’t. I should have done it when she outgrew 6-12, but I didn’t. Now it’s an unbelievable mess with clothes in piles and stacks ranging from 0-3 to 12-18 m. (Also, she’s my third daughter and each time the clothes seem to increase exponentially.) Why do I do this to myself? I thought maybe if I put it out there in the blog world I might actually work on it. Will you hold me accountable?

Then there are our books. We were already book lovers and collectors of books before we started using Sonlight curriculum, now it’s getting ridiculous. We’ve also been fortunate enough to inherit books. We have the complete Nancy Drew series, countless other assorted mysteries such as the Peggy Lane and Connie Blair series, and a complete Encyclopedia Brittanica set. And these are just the books given us by my aunt. Then there are the 100 greatest books my parents started giving me while I was still single. They truly are the gift that keeps on giving! (One per month for over 8 years!) Then there are the books from my studies. All my College and Graduate science texts, a whole bookshelf full, that I just can’t bring myself to get rid of, especially since we homeschool. And on our trip to Indiana I discovered my sister-in-law also used Sonlight the last three years and she let me bring home the books we’ll be using next year. My husband and I love books. I haven’t even gone into all the biographies, history and political books, and works of fiction. Thank goodness my husband has a library at the church for his commentaries, church history, and theology books. I actually went through our books last year and got rid of 5 boxes of them. I sold them back to a local bookstore that gives store credit in exchange for used books. Can you guess what I used the credit for? You got it, I bought more books. Needless to say, I must get around to reorganizing our books!

Then there are our drawers. I want to get rid of all the drawers in our house. Is that even possible? It’s not that I never organize our drawers, it’s that they never stay organized. Most people that come to our house probably think I’m a pretty decent housekeeper. I like things to be neat and organized. If only they could see our drawers, though! And the drawers in my girls’ room are the worst! They have 5 top drawers, 3 of which serve as catch-alls. They have 6 other drawers (for clothes) and one cabinet, as well as a closet. Is this overkill?

I need some motivation and organizational tips. Please help and encourage me! If nothing else, hold me accountable. They say the first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem. I admit that I have a problem and that I’ve been in denial about it. Please, help!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Tale of Two Journeys

I've already posted about how much fun we had with our friends in Arkansas and with our family in Indiana, but traveling with a baby is no easy task and Baby Lu definitely made the trip a challenge. It seemed like she was constantly getting into trouble.

You've heard of a Tale of Two Cities, well this is my Tale of Two Journeys. While my husband was busy taking pictures of all the beautiful scenery, I was chronicling a much different vacation. I thought I'd post a few pictures of our trip through Baby Lu's eyes. This was quite an adventure for her!

"So this is what playing dominoes is all about. There's nothing to it really."

"I can't believe my good fortune- someone left a step stool right underneath one of those fun looking doodads I've always wanted to spin." Notice the complete lack of remorse.

"You say it's how warm in Texas right now?"

The realization sets in that going up is a tad bit easier than going down.

"Oh, here we go if I just squat down like this I feel much more secure."

"Aha! Now how am I going to get that boot off? I need another hand."

And the winner is....


Check out her winning recipe below.

Salsa Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup (LOW sodium)
1 packet reduced sodium taco seasoning
1 Regular size Jar Salsa

Put chicken in crock pot and sprinkle with taco seasoning. Pour soup and salsa over the top. Cook on High for 3-4 hrs. Serve over rice and add sour cream and cilantro.

I can't wait to try this recipe! Heather's recipe perfectly captures the quick and easy part of what I had in mind. I'm sure it will be tasty, too (we love Tex-Mex)!

Thank you to all who entered this contest! I am going to make my way through each and every one of your wonderful recipes. Check back often for more giveaway fun.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I'm ba-ack, sort of.

Big D and I decided to make the 15hr drive without stopping over anywhere on our way home and we left yesterday after church, so we got in between 2 and 3 this morning. I'm sort of back in the groove. I got the car cleaned out and 4 suitcases full of laundry done, but I still haven't been to the grocery store (thanks for dinner mom!) and I'm just now sitting down to catch up on my blogging. Tomorrow I'll pick the winner of my $25 Chili's gift card giveaway, so check back tomorrow if you entered. For now I'll show you some of the highlights of our trip to Indiana to see Big D's family and his beloved homeland.

Mr. Monk with his cousin at the Covered Bridge Festival in Bridgeton, IN.

Big D going a little crazy with a funnel cake. (His first and last for a very long time:)

I had to don Big D's coat on top of my own at the oh-so-cold Bridgeton Covered Bridge Festival. I was so cold I had to take a hot bath when we got home to defrost (note the blue lips).

Twinkle Toes in the one room schoolhouse at Billie Creek Village. These are homeschooled kids who dressed in appropriate costumes (we'll have to plan for this next time) and had fun experiencing what school might have been like 100 years ago. Twinkle Toes even won a spelling bee for K-3rd graders.

The kids got to see candle dipping, a printing press, pottery making, and wood carving at Billie Creek Village.

Off on our hiking adventure. I'd have to ditch the stroller in about 100 paces. I carried Baby Lu for the duration of the hike. I had a sore neck and biceps the following day, but lots of good memories to go along with them.

View of Sugar Creek from the suspension bridge at Turkey Run State Park.

Our All American Boy hiking on ahead of Big D on trail #3 at Turkey Run.

Our gracious hosts in Indiana, Big D's big brother and his saintly wife. They had 15 people in their home (7 under 10) for almost a week! We so enjoyed our time with them!

Mr. Monk hanging out with his big cousin, 4 years his senior. He shadowed his cousing the whole time we were there. What a blessing to have such a mature and kind 14 year old for your son to look up to.

Here we are, the whole motley crew. The kids had so much fun with their cousins, they spent the 15 hour drive home scheming about when and how they could see them again.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What's your dream?

We played the game Cashflow yesterday, in which you're a rat stuck in the rat race, trying to get out by creating residual income. Aside from my 8 year old winning, it was a lot of fun! At the beginning of the game you have to pick your dream on the game board and set your cheese on it (I guess this is the proverbial carrot on a stick that keeps you going while you're stuck in the rat race). The dreams you can choose from vary, but for the most part are ridiculously expensive one-time experiences like heli-skiing in Switzerland for $100,000 or something of that sort. I had a terrible time finding a dream, because they were not my dreams. I can't imagine working my whole life and saving and sacrificing for a trip that will be over in a week or a month.
And the other thing that gave me pause, was that the entire goal of the game is to create enough residual income so you can quit working. Now I know that work is work and that not everyone has the privilege of doing something they enjoy, but I find the goal of this game flawed. Surely this kind of perspective that sees work as bad and something to be avoided if at all possible is going to be the downfall of our society, if it hasn't been already. We work now, not because God says it is good, not because we are to take dominion over the earth, but to achieve an end and that end is to afford luxuries and then ultimately to be able to afford luxuries while no longer working.
This doesn't mean I don't find any value in the game. We may buy it at some point. I found the following helpful about the game:
1. It gave my kids practice with arithmetic
2. It helped my kids see the damage of all the "doodads" that we don't really need, but add up to a lot of money.
3. It allowed my kids to see how damaging debt can be in terms of month to month expenses.
4. It helped my kids to grasp the concept of delayed gratification- working to pay off debt and investing early on to reap the rewards later in the game.
However, I find the ultimate goal- to work for as few years as possible for the greatest riches possible to be shallow and contrary to Biblical Christianity.
I did enjoy getting to see which dreams my kids picked. I learned that Measle and I both have the same dream. I'll share it with you at the risk of putting myself out there. I dream of going to Africa, Ethiopia I think, and taking friends from our church with us, and working with orphans. I would like for us to take enough money with us to complete a building project- like a school where the Bible would be taught along with other subjects. I don't think it will take $150,000, which is encouraging. And I'm so grateful that there are people already doing what I dream of and that my family can "invest" in what they're doing right now. All God's Children International has an orphan care ministry established in Ethiopia, as well as Bulgaria and Guatemala. Rafiki International has wonderful orphan care programs in several countries in Africa that include a classical Christian education and they have recently begun building schools for children not living in their homes.
So, to sum it up: Cashflow is a fun game, but Christian parents will need to explain to their kids, as my friend Tara at Too Many Kids in the Bathtub has done so well, that our goal is to lay up treasure in heaven, not on earth, and also that God made us in His image to work and declared that it was good. Is retirement a Biblical concept? How about early retirement? I'm not talking about changing careers to something more enjoyable, but no longer contributing to our society. Do you think we have a little problem with consumption and that it drives our work ethic? What drove the Puritans and other Christians that came before us, upon whom our great nation was built?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fun on the Road

Remember that Seinfeld routine about the special "cart people" in the airports? You know when you're loaded down with luggage, rushing to make a connection, and you see those special people ride right past you on the cart. "Make way for the cart people, Timmy!" Well, it didn't take the kids long to warm up to Pop when they learned he rides a scooter. He was so good to them- riding them up and down the halls of their retirement village. Have you ever seen our American Boy smile that big? Pop even let him work the controls!

Pop and GrandMary live in a vary fancy retirement village with a dining hall that is as nice as the place my parents take us every year for a special holiday brunch. Big D and I had a little talk with the kids as we were walking in to the dining room about how they were to use inside voices, etc. Ours were the only children in the large room and I was so worried that they'd cause a commotion. At one point a woman came over to say hello and complimented us on how well-behaved our children were. Big D and I beamed and Mr. Monk blurted out, "Oh, we're usually not like this. Only when we're in public." One lady, when she learned we were from Texas asked us if we watched the game. I told her we didn't watch football and our 3 year old then blurted out that, "We only watch cartoons!" Also, every time the waitress came by to offer anyone coffee, our 3 year old would say, "No thanks, I don't want any." (I have never given coffee to ANY of our kids, much less the 3 yr old!" At least he was using his manners!

GrandMary and Pop let Mr. Monk and Twinkle Toes stay the night with them. Here's Twinkle Toes posing with GrandMary before we left.
Oh, and the kleenex in the hotel room was the same height as Baby Lu. I'm sure you can conjure of that image on your own.

Don't you just hate eating on road trips? We don't eat fast food. My kids have missed out on this world. Measle said at one point last night, "There's another Old McDonalds." We did stop at McDonalds once and Big D got Mr. Monk a Big Mac, his first. I've never seen anything like it before. He went nuts over it! He couldn't believe there was anything that tasted that good! Even as I was telling him not to get used to it, his dad was telling him about the Wopper.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Chili's / On the Border Gift Card Giveaway!!!

We’re leaving today on a road trip to Arkansas and Indiana. Big D hasn’t decided yet if he’s going to let me blog on vacation (I bought an html for dummies book in case I’m grounded from my laptop), so I thought I’d get this contest in before I go.

I have a $25 Chili’s/On the Border/Macaroni Grill/Maggiano’s gift card that I want to give away.

I am a very unimaginative cook. I’ve told you before that my goal in cooking is to feed my family well for as little money and time as possible. We’re usually at the swimming pool from 5-6 pm so I like having meals that can be cooking while we’re gone. There’s nothing like coming home with cold, wet, hungry kids to a house that smells like yummy dinner.

To enter the giveaway leave a comment with a delicious, low-cost, easy prep meal-in-one dish that can be prepared ahead of time. It can be a crock pot recipe or one that bakes in the oven for at least two hours.

I’ll draw the winner upon our return, which I think will be next Monday.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Leaving, but it won't be on a jet plane.

It's been a while since we've been on a full-fledged vacation. We did steal away to Great Wolf Lodge for a couple of days in May, but we've been wanting to visit Big D's family in Indiana since Baby Lu's impending arrival spoiled our plans for last October.
As the title of my post suggests, we're going on a road trip. Flying is certainly cost prohibitive for a large family, but more importantly several of us developed a distaste for flying after a little mishap on our last vacation. In fact, it was THE vacation in the history of our family. Big D and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary in Hawaii with our kids in the summer of 2008. It took lots of planning and saving and collecting and managing points from various credit cards to be able to make that trip. Our kids were perfectly behaved on the 8 hr flight from Houston to Honolulu. We arrived at Hilton Hawaiian Village, weary travelers, to discover they had dropped the ball on our reservation and somehow lost it between the hotel branch of reservations and the vacation club branch (where big families stay). They felt terrible and saw how long we had had the reservations, so they gave us the penthouse suite that first night then switched us the next day to the room type we had reserved. Oh, and they didn't charge us one cent for our entire 4 night stay. We were feeling pretty good about our vacation at this point.

We took in the sites on Oahu: Pearl Harbor, the Dole pineapple plantation, dinner cruise out to Diamond Head, and the boys had fun snorkeling. The kids loved Oahu and Hilton Hawaiian Village, but all good things must come to an end and Big D, who had vacationed in Hawaii as a kid, said that we couldn't go all that way without seeing Maui. So off to Maui we went on a tiny little puddle jumper of an airplane (Iflygo). The plane seated maybe 10-12 people max. It was only one seat deep on each side of the aisle, so our kids all had to sit alone. The seat belts were a joke. The shoulder harnass didn't tighten or retract, so only the lap portion fit around them with the shoulder harnass hanging loosely. Oh well, what do you need seat belts on an airplane for, right? I mean, if your plane crashes, it's not like a seat belt is going to save your life, right? It was a turbulent flight and I found myself praying more than I normally do on a plane, which is to say a lot. We were surprised that the airport was more like a dirt road (why don't travel books mention little details like this that some might deem important?) with a couple of steel buildings acting as the terminal. We exited our plane with our luggage (they handed it to us as we got off) wheeled it out past "security" where a man was sitting reading a novel and waited for our rental bus to pick us up. Of course, Big D and I are the only people on the face of the earth without a cell phone, so after 15 minutes I asked the security officer, who was engrossed in his novel, when the rental car bus came by and he said that we'd have to call them. (I had given them our flight number, but maybe things don't always go according to schedule around there.)
We finally made it to our hotel, which was very nice. We saw the big tree, ate at a sea food place on the ocean, and even went on a boat out to Molokini where there's great snorkeling. The boys decided to snuba dive, which is a lot like scuba, but your tank is in a raft on the surface instead of on your back. Mr. Monk didn't have to be certified, and at not quite 9 was able to enjoy the adventure and excitement of scuba diving with a little less personal responsibility. Then on Mr. Monk's 9th birthday we made the drive to Hana.
Let's just say that if I had seen the "I survived the road to Hana." t-shirts sold around the island before we started off on our ignorant way that day, we might have had some clue as to what lay before us. Maybe it's us. We always seem to be have a hard time away from home. If you've read about any of our adventures in Kazakhstan you know what I'm talking about. We make the Griswalds look almost normal. It was raining that day, as I guess it does a lot there. We had a map and guide of all the falls by mile marker. The mile markers were few and far between, however, and none of the guidebooks told us it would be such a narrow road which often turned into one lane just as you're rounding a blind corner. Is it just me, or wouldn't it make more sense to make it one lane on the straight parts and two lanes when you can't see what's on the other side of the bend? I've decided Hawaiians really don't want tourists messing up the good thing they have going. So its raining, we're missing most of the falls because of the poor visibility, trying to avoid accidents when it turns to one lane, and whenever we did spot a fall there were already so many cars pulled over that there was no room for us. On the rare occasion we were able to pull over to the side of the road, we had to get out and hike to get to the water fall. Remember we had a 9, 7, 5, and 2 year old with us and I was pregnant. The terrain was very rough with large rocks and muddy in between the large rocks. The straw that broke the camel's back was when we finally made it to the black sand beach and the tide came in while were exploring a little grotto. It almost swept several of the children away and my $95 Jobst support hose were ruined!
When we made it back to the hotel 8 hours after we had embarked on our little adventure that morning, we were beat and carsick and poor Mr. Monk was lamenting that it was his worst birthday ever. It's become a kind of reference point. Last summer on his birthday his friend Cole was out of town and couldn't spend the night. There went his plans, but he was like, "Oh well, it could be worse. We could be on that endless road to Hana again." So, exhausted and ready to go home we arose early the next morning excited to take the puddle jumper back to Oahu where we'd board a real plane and fly all the way back to Texas, greatest state in the world.
Customer service in the Oahu airport is not what it is on the mainland. In fact, they really don't want to mess with you at all. They want you to check yourselves in and print your boarding passes from a computer terminal. We had purchased two sets of tickets (some were points purchases and a different class) and we had to make sure we could sit with our kids. This always makes me smile. They act all tough like it's just too bad we're too late and we're not all going to be able to sit together. Big D and I are like, "Ok, that's fine with us. We'll let you explain it to the people you seat our 2 and 5 year olds next to." But, by then nothing was going to phase us. We had just survived the airplane hatch door on our puddle jumper flying open mid-flight from Maui back to Oahu and we were all in a kind of post-traumatic daze.
Remember the flimsy seat belts I told you about? We diligently had them around all our kids. Mr. Monk was in the jump seat in the tail of the plane. Because Measle and I were the white knuckle fliers (after the bumpy ride over to Maui) we decided to sit across the aisle from one another and hold hands. It's a short flight, 20-30 minutes, I think. About 15 minutes into it the hatch door adjacent to Measle's seat blew open. I don't mean it opened a crack. I mean there was a rattling sound that all of a sudden turned into a loud whooshing sound as the door opened all the way up and poor Measle no longer had any airplane next to her seat. She had been leaning into the aisle holding my hand and I didn't know if I should reach over and unbuckle her or what I should do. Of course, I had seen the tv movie about that Aloha flight that lost part of the aircraft in flight and sucked out several rows of seats. We weren't high enough to be in a pressurized cabin, but I wasn't really processing all of that. I was just freaking out. Big D was in the seat in front of her and turned around in his seat to try to close the door, but it took the co-pilot crawling back from the cockpit to get it pulled to. It wouldn't latch, though. She had to hold it in place until we landed.
The seat pictured was where Big D was sitting.

This was Measle's seat with the door closed.

Do you know they had the audacity to ask me if she had opened that door? I was like, "First of all, no she didn't. Second of all, if a 5 year old can open the hatch from the inside the plane in mid-flight, don't you think there's something wrong with that picture?" I'm sure they were just worried about a law suit. Big D took pictures and he was mad enough to sue. I reminded him that thankfully we had no damages!

We ended up missing a connection in Houston, so our homecoming was delayed even more. When we finally landed at home we were all ready to get off the plane and kiss terra firma. We have not flown since then. I could go the rest of my life without flying again.

So, that's why we're driving to Indiana. Aren't you glad I explained?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My First Blog Award!!

Kimberly @ Raising Olives gave me my first blog award. Thank you so much! I'm new to the world of blogging, but found Raising Olives early on and have stuck there. Kimberly has helped me work out kinks in our homeschool schedule using Sonlight with kids of different ages, even pre-schoolers. Most recently we've begun following the example of Kimberly's family by implementing Mathew 18 as a way of teaching our children to get along with one another. This is so simple, yet profound. It's cut down on the tattling already and the best part is we're helping our kids to develop Biblical conflict resolution skills.

The catch is, to accept this award I must answer the questions below using only one word.

1. Where is your cell phone? What?
2.Your hair? Thick
3. Your mother? Best
4. Your father? Greatest
5. Your favorite food? Cheese
6. Your dream last night? Forgot
7. Your favorite drink? Cocoa
8. Your dream/goal? Holiness
9. What room are you in? Study
10. Your hobby? Blogging
11. Your fear? Airplanes
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something you aren’t? Relaxed
15. Muffins? Blueberry
16. Wish list item? Baby
17. Where did you grow up? Texas
18. Last thing you did? Worship
19. What are you wearing? Jeans
20. Your TV? Lonely
21. Your pets? Jack
22. Your friends? Diverse
23. Your life? Blessed
24. Your mood? Excited
25. Missing someone? No
26. Vehicle? YukonXL
27. Something you’re not wearing? Earrings
28. Your favorite store? Amazon
29. Your favorite color? Red
30. When was the last time you laughed? Tonight
31. Last time you cried? Forgot
32. Your best friend? BigD
33. One place that I go over and over? Pool
34. One person who emails me regularly? Facebook
35. Favorite place to eat? Mom's
Now I get to pass this award on to 6 of my favorite bloggers.
1. Bridget @ Don't Blink! . She's a lively spirit and is taking her show on the road. She and her family will be touring the US by RV and I know you won't want to miss out on their adventure of a lifetime.
2. Heather @ Especially Heather. Heather and I knew one another in "real life" a million years ago. I caught up with her through facebook and her blog recently. She's a cancer surviver and has a miracle daughter. Heather cuts through the small talk and gets right to what matters- glorifying God in all circumstances.
3. Jennifer @ Praise Like David. I just found her blog last week. Check out her cool post on the excavation of the ancient underground city of Derinkuyu located in modern day Turkey.
4. Noelle @ TripleSmiles. Noelle is my "real life" friend who first convinced me that I should join facebook and then suggested I start a blog. What will it be next, Noelle? A cell phone? Answering machine? I feel fully planted in the 21st centurty with two feet now thanks to my friend Noelle. She blogs about her exciting life with a 3, 2, and 1 year old.
5. Snuzi @ Every Captive Thought. Snuzi's mom and my mom are best friends and we had our babies 3 days apart last year. This year we're in the same Community Bible Study discussion group and I'm enjoying getting to know her better. She loves the Lord and has such a great sense of humor- I know you'll love her blog.
6. Amy @ Raising Arrows. I just found her blog recently through At the Well. Amy suffered the loss of her precious daughter Emily a few years back and recently wrote about grief and what you can do for a friend who's grieving the loss of a child. She has a heart for the Lord and for family and has a wondeful way with words.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fit to be a sacrifice?

“I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1

I’ve always thought this verse meant that I needed to inconvenience myself, even make sacrifices for the Lord. This is the definition of sacrifice I had in mind; doing something difficult, denying myself, like we sacrifice for our kids. Studying this verse would result in my making a list of ways I could give more, be more, do more for the Lord.

Lately, the kids and I have been reading a lot from the Old Testament. We read about the first Passover where God told Moses that He would pass over only those households with the blood of a sacrificial lamb spread on the lintel and doorposts that dark night in Egypt when the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land. We know there is no atonement for sin without the shedding of blood. Remember that God accepted Abel’s sacrifice, but not Cain’s. They were both of their first fruits, so what was the difference? Abel offered a blood sacrifice acknowledging to God his sin and his need for atonement, while Cain offered only grain, whether in ignorance or in rebellion we do not know.

Just as the law was meant to show God’s people their sin, the sacrificial system was meant to serve as a sober reminder that the penalty for sin is death. There is no way to work your way or buy your way out of it. You can only pay for your sins with your life. And animal sacrifices, never sufficient to atone for sins in their own right, only served as a copy or foreshadowing of the atonement Christ would bring in His perfect life and sacrificial death for His people. “But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:12-14)

And then it came to me. How many times had I read that the bull or lamb that is offered as a sacrifice for sins to the Lord must be “without blemish”? Why did it have to be without blemish? Of course, because the animal sacrifices were copies of Christ, who would live a perfect, holy life. He was truly without blemish, totally unstained by the world. God in His infinite holiness and justice cannot accept a sacrifice that is not “without blemish”.

I think I finally get it. It’s not that I’m supposed to make a sacrifice, it’s that I’m supposed to be a sacrifice. Paul is telling the Roman Christians, and us, to be holy! He could have said it this way. “Your blood is not required to pay your penalty, since Christ already shed His blood for your sins. Because your death is not required, offer your life instead as a sacrifice.” His Jewish audience would have understood the requirements for an acceptable sacrifice. They would have known this meant they were to be untainted by the world.

The next verse confirms this. "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2

I never looked at it quite like this before. The things on my "do more for the Lord list" may still get done, but getting them done while having unrepentant sin in my life misses the point. I think Psalm 40:6&8 sums it up nicely. "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears you have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Family Worship and A Church in the House Giveaway

We haven't always done family worship in our home, but we're learning that these can be some of the most precious times with our children. We have several devotional aids that we use some evenings. Other times, like tonight, one of the kids reads from the Bible or a Bible storybook. It's also a wonderful opportunity for the kids to share with Daddy the Bible passages they've been memorizing, which is so much more meaningful than my just telling him. They all pretty much memorize the same verses since they use the same plan (Truth and Grace Memory Books edited by Thomas K. Ascol), but it's interesting that they want to share different ones. Tonight Twinkle Toes recited Psalm 23, Measle said Psalm 8 by herself for the first time, Mr. Monk quoted Ephesians 4:25-32 and American Boy said Genesis 1:1 (might as well start at the beginning, right?).

I have to confess that we normally wait to have worship after we put Baby Lu in bed, but she was unhappy in her crib this evening, so I got her out and let her join us. I'm so glad I did. Big D built a fire tonight, at the request of the kids, and Baby Lu was good as gold on my lap while Twinkle Toes read from the book of Joshua. I think everyone enjoyed it even more than usual with her there. She was not a distraction at all.

Big D and I grew up in church, but the concept of daily family worship is new to us. Mathew Henry preached and wrote about the importance of family worship over 300 years ago!! There truly is nothing new under the sun! Scott Brown has edited this little book by Mathew Henry called A Church in the House, to make it easily readable. It's very compelling and practical, too. I have two copies that I want to give to readers of my blog who are interested in family worship. I'll draw the winners late Saturday night since we're leaving town Monday morning.

To enter the giveaway simply comment on this post about what you do in your time of family worship. You can give the format you follow or devotional aids that you've found helpful. If you've been thinking about starting family worship in your home and haven't yet or if you haven't really given it that much thought until now, comment about why you'd be interested in this book or what's been holding you back. Maybe you're like us and just didn't think about it until you heard how wonderful it is from someone who's already doing it.

Here's what we've been doing in our family worship times:

Big D or Twinkle Toes (she always wants to read!) reads a passage from the Bible or Bible storybook followed by Big D asking some questions to make sure the kids understood what we read. Or I read a chapter from Wisdom and the Millers: Proverbs for Children by Mildred A. Martin, followed again by a Q&A time to insure the kids got the message.

Next we sing some hymns. Big D loves picking hymns and teaching them to the kids. Two or three hymns later Big D prays for our family.

Then we either drill the kids on catechism or verses from their TAG books, or we allow them to choose a longer Bible passage they've been working on that they'd like to share with the family.

This only takes us 20-30 minutes and also is a nice way to send the kids off to bed, instead of going bed to bed for individual tucks and prayers. We've absolutely loved family woship, especially the kids. I'm so grateful that the Lord brought books into our lives like The Duggars Twenty and Counting and A Church in the House to encourage us to take the plunge. I know you won't regret it if you do!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The role of activities in shaping a disciplined life

Thank you to those of you who shared how you instill discipline in your kids. You gave me some good ideas:) I think chores are an important part of teaching children to be responsible, and our kids have chores, too. All of our kids (except Baby Lu) have to keep their rooms picked-up and make their beds every morning. Someone usually helps my 3 year old with his bed, but he gives it the old college try.

Mr. Monk is in charge of keeping the upstairs picked-up. He also takes out the trash for me and walks his dog daily (well, almost daily). Twinkle Toes and Measle both know how to work the Shark (cordless vacuum) and Swiffer wet-jet and also both enjoy cleaning toilets (we use the Clorox toilet wand, which is a lot of fun). I also have help a couple of times a week and since our homeschooled kids aren't swamped with homework every night, they still have plenty of free time that requires careful management.

I believe activities can be used wisely to help develop self-discipline in children. I know there's a lot of controversy surrounding kids and activities today. Some complain that kids are too busy and don't have time to just be kids anymore. Others say that these activities can be blown out of proportion and be detrimental to the health and closeness of the family. I propose that there's a happy medium where kids can gain a great deal from sports or the arts, while not sacrificing family priorities.
I like for my kids to be busy. Big D and I do not like them to be "plugged in" during the week, but we do allow them Friday night movie night and to have limited "plug in" time on the weekend. Our three older kids swim on the local swim team. I love watching my kids swim. Mr. Monk works so hard. You can see his determination with every set. Mr. Monk also does Scouts. We are blessed that he can be part of a wonderful Christian homeschool pack where all the dads work and play alongside their sons. I know my son might like to have more "free time", but I think maybe there's more value in carefully selected activities.

Twinkle Toes and Measle also take music and art lessons and ice skating in the winter. Big D is extremely artistic and musical and didn't get to have many lessons as a child. He's always felt strongly that if possible we would provide these opportunities for our kids. We are blessed that my mom and dad pay for our two oldest kids to take piano and my mom even picks them up and takes them for me! We are also very fortunate that a friend comes to our home and gives Measle violin lessons once a week. The older kids also take art from a wonderful Christian woman who is a retired art teacher. Monk has often referred to her as his "other Grandmother". God has graciously provided for us in this area and we believe our kids are benefiting from it.

Big D and I have goals about what we'd like activities to accomplish in the lives of our children.

1. Cut down on the amount of free-time they have (idle hands and all...).
2. Encourage physical fitness.
3. Teach them the value of hard work and discipline.
4. Teach them to set goals and work toward achieving them.
5. Help develop skills they can use for the glory of God. (music/art in the church)
6. Give them a healthy dose of humility.

Let me add this disclaimer onto my plug for activities:

Big D and I are endeavoring to teach our children to put the Lord first. We do not participate in activities that interfere with worshipping in church Sundays or Wednesday nights. Big D and I also take very seriously our commitment to having a women's Bible study in our home on Tuesday nights, so activities cannot interfere with that, either. One time last summer I took the kids to a 3 day swim meet. They swam Friday and Saturday, but not Sunday. It was hard, because my kids are both breaststrokers and their best events were on Sunday, but they didn't plead or argue with me at all. They all wanted to come home for church. Big D and I also feel strongly that we eat home-cooked dinners together as a family most nights, so supper time is sacred. We are also striving to have family worship 5 evenings a week (Tues and Wed nights are Bible study and church). There may come a time in the future when Big D and I feel we have to drop certain activities, but right now we are happy with the balance.
I also want to share that when a friend was in re-hab a few months ago I took the kids to see her a few times and Monk decided to give her his most recent painting. She was really blessed by that and in turn praised him so much that he ended up being blessed by her. It was really neat to see that his art lessons allowed him to give one of our friends a lift and brighten her day (and her rehab room)!
What activities have you found that work well for your family? How do you guard against activities dividing the family? Do you let your kids choose their activities, or do you decide for them?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday Baby Lu!

First photo shoot.

First Christmas.

First time we caught her sleeping with her fanny up in the air.

First six months.

First time to the ranch.

First professional haircut.

First and last spaghetti.

First birthday party that her sibs threw her in the middle of the day.

First cupcake.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The godly life is a disciplined life

Discipline, don’t you just hate that word? We struggle with it in our family, as do most comfortable Americans. It’s especially tempting in a homeschool environment to let a few things slide, so we have to work doubly hard at instilling discipline into the lives of our children.

If there’s one thing that great men and women share in common, it’s discipline. I read the book Condi a few years ago and was blown away by the hard work and dedication that young Condoleezza Rice applied equally to her studies and her hobbies. She was an outstanding figure skater and concert pianist in addition to her scholarly achievements most of us are familiar with. Condi’s parents had grown up with racism as a stumbling block to their dreams and were determined that nothing would hold their daughter back. Condi says of her parents that they “were very strategic” in providing opportunities for her and teaching her the value of hard work so that her many and great accomplishments would shield her from any racism.

Now my children are not up against racism and I don’t share the same career goals for my daughters that the Rice’s did, but the take home message remains the same. Instilling discipline in our children and teaching them to work hard will prepare them to accomplish great things in life. Of what use will they be to God if they are lazy and undisciplined?

Jonathan Edwards, arguably the most influential theologian and philosopher our country has produced, was an extremely regimented man. He made a scientific study of how much sleep he needed to be most effective for the Lord and resolved to sleep no more than was necessary! He also ate and drank only what he deemed necessary to have the energy to serve God and others to the maximum of his capacity. In his quest for the disciplined life, Edwards determined to not merely choose between right and wrong, but to choose between good, better, and best.

Jerry Bridges says it this way. “There is no place for laziness and indulgence of the body in a disciplined pursuit of holiness. We have to learn to say no to the body instead of giving in to its momentary desires. We tend to act according to our feelings. The trouble is we seldom “feel” like doing what we should do. We don’t feel like getting out of bed to have our morning time with God, or doing Bible study, or praying, or anything else we should do. That is why we have to take control of our bodies and make them our servants instead of our masters” (from The Pursuit of Holiness p.111).

So, how do we do this? My husband and I don’t live on a farm, so there are no chickens to feed or cows to milk. Our toil is light in this day and age. Can you imagine doing all your laundry by hand and hanging it out to dry? I buy most of our food at the grocery store, although my husband does grow some vegetables. We have a lot of leisure time. How can we guard against our children becoming soft and lazy?

Here’s where you come in. I have prepared a second part to this post sharing what we’re doing at our house to help discipline our children, but I want to hear from you first. Is that cheating? I want to know how you are teaching your kids the value of hard work. How do you guard against sloth in your home? Where’s the balance between “letting kids be kids” and giving them responsibilities so that they won’t always act like kids? I can’t wait to hear from you and get some good ideas for our family! And don't forget to tune in tomorrow for the next installment.
(Pictured above is my very undisciplined almost 1 yr old whom I found sitting her toy drawer.)


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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.