Saturday, May 30, 2009

Websites for Kids: KinderSITE

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Looking for some great websites for your toddler or preschooler? Be sure to check out some of the sites that I'm reviewing over at Totally Tots.

This week I'm reviewing KinderSITE. Head on over to Totally Tots to read more...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Keeping it Real ~ Really

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**Warning!! Frustrated mom on keyboard.**

I had grand ambitions of sitting down to write a lovely post. It isn't going to happen. At least it won't be what I had in my mind. Probably won't be what you expected today either. It isn't glowing. Isn't sunshine and roses today ~ but it is real. Me in a nutshell at this very moment.

As I'm writing this, I am frustrated beyond measure with both myself and one of my children.

Unsure of how to best handle specific behavior and attitude that just seems to exude from every pore of the little being. Stuff that doesn't just push my buttons ~ it essentially takes fists and pounds on every single button of my emotional keyboard {how's that for a pitiful metaphor?}.

And I'm not always proud of my reactions to all that pushing. Not proud at all.

I'm struggling to find the 'solution' to the behavior {and boy don't I wish there were a quick fix to it}. Trying to best tailor my response to all that's happening. Without losing my cool, going off the deep end and making a bad situation even worse.

It might not be so bad if there were just one child to deal with {ummm...well, yes it might}, but trying to piece myself out to four different kids and still maintain a degree of sanity lately has been nothing short of a miracle. I'm pretty much at the point of physical exhaustion by the middle of the day. Literally.

I'm just not sure where to even start anymore. What to ask God for. I seriously would just love to have something, anything, dropped in my lap {are you listening, Lord?}.

What do I want? A quick and easy solution. I.e. Do 'X' and the problem will be solved. What do I need? Patience. Direction. Love. Peace. Gobs of grace. Patience....and heaps more patience. Lord, help me, please. I just need a touch from you ~ so much more than I even know how to express right at this moment.





Visit Me @ Today's Housewife

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I'm guest posting over at Today's Housewife about 'learning spaces'. Stop on over and say hi!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dressed to Impress

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Zachary can come up with some pretty funny outfits. His explanations on why things match are generally completely off base, but arguing with a four year old can be exasperating.

Sometimes it's better to let it go ~ at least he is wearing clothing, right?

We had some friends over for dinner a little bit ago and Zachary disappeared for bit and emerged dressed in some of his favorite 'church clothes'.

Minus a shirt.

But he came out strutting his stuff. Confident that he was looking good.



Dressed to impress even the youngest of the ladies. Hopefully we'll have him back in shirts before his teenage years.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Free Magazines ~ lmnop

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I came across a fun FREE magazine for parents and kids. Yes, you read that right ~ FREE!! The magazine is called "lmnop" ~ laugh . make . nurture . organise . play.

The current issue is dedicated to the alphabet and there are some neat projects: crochet letters, reading boards, and an AMAZING section on vowel construction.

Don't just take my word on it ~ head on over and download your free issue now. And while you're there, check out some of their past issues too.

Just wanted to pass along a little something that is Working for Me!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We Belong To Heaven ~ John Mandeville

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Today marks the official release of We Belong to Heaven from John Mandeville. Over the years he has written hit songs for Point of Grace {Jesus Will Still Be There}, 4Him, Clay Crosse, Avalon, and Tammy Trent...to name just a few. We Belong to Heaven was birthed during a difficult season in John's life:
“This project really wrote itself as a result of what I was living through, it was meant to be a monument of change for my family, sort of like David wrote the Psalms,” he recalls of those initial sessions. “This was the turning point, the line in the sand, to see all the drama come to a close”. It was my chance to find my heart and return to a place of hope, while also returning to the heart of who I am as an artist.” ~ JM
We are blessed {and I mean that with all my heart} to know John and his family personally and witness firsthand the heart for worship and love for the Lord that they all share. John is truly one of the most open and honest men I've met with a desire to help others discover a passion for worship and lead them into TRUE worship.

The album is available through John's site, Lifestyle of Worship, iTunes, or through Amazon {both CD and mp3 format}. John is also easy to find on Facebook and has a few videos there that he's sharing ~ here's a clip of one so you can get a peek!





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On Breaking Things and Nose Picking

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The kids went out with my mom to get me a birthday present last week...a birdfeeder. They arrived at the store a little before it opened and the kids were standing outside looking in the windows.

At all the highly breakable glass products.

Laurianna looked at my mom and said, "I don't think that we should go in there. There is a LOT of glass and we are probably going to break something."

Oh, the wisdom of an 8-year-old. Probably so. Walmart it is!

_______________________________


Zachary and McKenna were arguing back and forth about some nose-picking issues. McKenna was accusing Zachary of picking his nose.

Zachary responded with: "I don't pick my nose anymore!! Sometimes I just need to itch it a little bit. Inside."

_______________________________


Once we get the kids in bed each night we take turns praying with them. Kaleb is apparently a stickler for details and now likes to have us pray certain things each night.

The other night I apparently didn't hit all the "regular" stuff, because he wouldn't let me go and kept saying, "Dad on cass me. Dad on cass me..." It took me a minute to realize he wanted me to pray, "Thank you for dying on the cross for Kaleb."

Too sweet.

Head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7 for some more Tiny Talk Tuesday!!


Monday, May 25, 2009

Tim Hawkins ~ Imagine

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A laugh for your vacation day...



Saturday, May 23, 2009

Spring Reading Thing: Kiss ~ Ted Dekker

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There's only one month left of the Spring Reading Thing over at Callapidder Days and after I reviewed my list I realized I've finished all my fiction books - and even squeaked in a few non-fiction. And there's still time!! :)

I picked up Kiss by Ted Dekker from the library this week. I am IN LOVE!! I have never read a book by Dekker before but I can tell you I will be scrounging the library shelves in the upcoming weeks and months to read more!

Kiss is Dekker's latest book {written with Erin Healy}. After a horrible car accident, Shauna, wakes up after having been in a coma for several weeks and remembers nothing of the past 6 months of her life. She struggles to remember anything ~ her boyfriend, what happened that night ~ and then discovers she is somehow 'stealing memories' from others. I can't give much more information than that, but I will tell you that it's filled with suspense, action...but I did figure 'most' of it out about 2/3 of the way through. Definitely didn't stop me from reading it or from wanting to read more from Dekker!

This week I read through half of a new book by Jackie Kendall called Free Yourself to Love: The Liberating Power of Forgiveness. I've already gleaned some great nuggets from this book and will be posting about them in upcoming weeks. The book should be finished up this week and I'll soon post an author interview with Kendall too ~ so stay tuned!

Here are the books that I currently have stacked up to work on this week/month:
  • Ted Dekker books...oh yeah, I'll be looking for those!
  • Assaulted by Joy: The Redeption of a Cynic ~ Stephen W. Simpson
  • The Unexpected Adventure ~ Lee Strobel / Mark Mittlelberg
  • Finding Favor with the King: Daily Inspirations ~Tenney
  • Free Yourself to Love ~ Jackie Kendall
  • Grace Based Parenting ~ Dr. Tim Kimmel

Be sure to stop by and visit Semicolon for other blogger's book reviews and 5 Minutes for Books and their monthly meme called "What's on Your Nightstand?".



Friday, May 22, 2009

Obedience and the Bathing Suit

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Both of our girls got a new suit for the season. One of my daughter's was a little irritated with the tag in the back of the bathing suit and wanted it cut out.

Right now.

Since it was 61 degrees outside and we were in the middle of schoolwork when she asked, I opted for the "I'll take care of it later" speech, knowing all the repercussions involved in getting a tag properly cut out of clothing without major issues.

Apparently that wasn't soon enough for her. Of course I only found that out after hearing the 'Uh-oh' and the cries of 'There's a hole in my bathing suit!!! I didn't mean to! I didn't know it would make a hole!"

I lost it. Came unglued. Because we'd had the conversation about 'letting me take care of it' not 10 minutes before. I knew what would happen if she tried to do it on her own. Knew that I needed to take care of it for her. But she chose to disobey.

Later in the day as I was sitting {still fuming thankyouverymuch} I was reminded of a passage that I've been reading and studying about in 1 Samuel 15:1-29 where Saul disobeyed God's instructions to wipe out the Amalekites completely. Instead he spared the king and the best of the livestock.

Saul was given specific instructions to take care of the Amalekites. But he thought he knew better. He was sure that it was fine to spare some of the livestock to use as a sacrifice to God ~ "but to obey is better than sacrifice" {vs.22}. God had a reason for asking Saul to take care of every single thing. He was able to see the bigger picture. But Saul thought he knew better and had a better plan.

Saul's plan resulted in his rejection as king, his eventual death, and years down the road the entire Jewish nation being put at risk due to a man known as Haman ~ an Amalekite. Saul had the chance to nip it in the bud with obedience. To take care of it when he was asked to, but he chose to do it his own way and the Jews were almost wiped out as a nation.

If he just would have obeyed when he was asked to, how different would things have turned out?

As I look at that hole in the bathing suit during this swim season it will remind me daily of the importance of obedience. Instead of digging in my heels, crying for my own way and taking matters into my own hands I want so desperately to please my King. To follow Him in obedience ~ and let go of rebellion that remains in my heart.

See what a little tiny hole can lead to?





Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ten Google Searches Leading to My Blog

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If you want to know how to best search the internet and land on my blog, here are some of the top phrases googled that directed people here. Sad, but true.
  1. The 8th Dwarf ~ I hate to tell you, but there were only 7 of them. Walt Disney would be ashamed to hear you ask if there even were eight. But I'll let you in on a little secret....there actually was that lesser known one that Zachary decided to name...

  2. How to Get Sharpie Off a Desk ~ Sadly, I do know the answer to this one. And I can vouch for it actually working. I can also tell you that all of our Sharpies are now well hidden. In a place very high and much out of reach ~ even for me.

  3. What Do They Fill Moats With? ~ I'm going to go out on a limb here and say 'WATER', but it could just be me. Come to think of it, McKenna was pretty sure for awhile that they filled them with chocolate milk. It's really a toss~up.

  4. Scary Things to Watch ~ One would think it might be monster movies, but around here it's more like movies about rodents {and honestly, after the little scurrying creature on my floor the other night, I'm with my kids on this one}.

  5. Bryan Adams nickname ~ really, I can't divulge that information. It's just between me and him...and I'll never tell.

  6. 5 Little Monkeys ~ Sorry. No plans for a 5th one here. Four are plenty enough for me to handle right now.

  7. Contraptions for Kids ~ Perhaps you were looking for something like this?



  8. Lockdown ~ Probably not what you were looking for, but around here it's Fort Knox security for our medicine cabinet. Come to think of it, we probably should just put the Sharpies and our lighters in their too.

  9. Frozen Pancakes ~ We cook extras to eat later, but apparently we don't feed our children enough so they resort to eating frozen food. Straight up from the freezer.

  10. What are ordinary moments? ~ If you know the answer to this one, I'd love to know. Rest assured, the post I linked to is NOT one of them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Emergency Binder: Money Matters

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The 'Money Matters' is a 6 page document for our Emergency Binder. I'll be using it to track our banking information, loan information, 401K, retirement, college, etc...


Click on graphic to print


What is an Emergency Binder? Simply put, it's a binder that stores all the important information in one central place so it can be grabbed quickly in any emergency {i.e. fire, flood, accident, etc...}. Something to flip through and have everything handy that might be needed: life insurance contact information, bank contacts, monthly bills/addresses, work information, etc...all organized and put together to help save time in the event of an emergency.

The information you choose to keep track of is entirely up to you ~ if you don't feel it's safe/essential to keep track of certain things, just leave that area blank. There are also blank areas provided to keep track of other important information that might not be on forms. These were created and are relevant for our family, so it might not all apply to your family.

If this is the first you are reading of my Emergency Binder documents, you can find any other ones that I've currently posted here ~ but stay tuned, there are more coming in the upcoming weeks too!

Just wanted to pass along a little something that is Working for Me! Hope it helps you out!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Future Hackers of America

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The kids have been fascinated by my iTouch. This is clearly evident by the fact that it turns up missing and I find someone huddled over it, furiously trying to figure out the passcode that unlocks it.

Laurianna did.

One night as I was sitting down in the chair and unlocking the screen, she discreetly stood behind me and watched.

And then informed the entire family.

Obviously I need to change it, so I decided to use my birth year {and for good reason didn't tell anyone what it would be}. Today the kids were laughing in the van, saying how they were going to play with my iTouch later, since they knew the passcode.

I informed them I was changing it, and Laurianna said, "To what? The year you were born?"

{insert large mouth drop here}

"It's ok, Mom. I don't know when you were born."

Until McKenna leans toward Laurianna and whispers, "Hey! We can ask Miss Crystal!"

Quick rethinking of my password....and I opt for my old password ~ but BACKWARDS!! My genius overwhelms me at times.

After I let the kids know I've already come up with another password there were a few minutes of quiet. Until McKenna pipes up from the backseat: Is it going to be XXXX? You know, your old password ~ but backwards?"

Apparently, I'm raising the future hackers of America.

Lovely.

Head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7 for some more Tiny Talk Tuesday!!


Monday, May 18, 2009

You Know You Homeschool When...

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~ Your daughter walks into the house carrying part of a dead bird's head and after your initial shock {and screams of 'GET THAT OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!'} you quickly grab a baggie and have her put it inside so that you can examine it later for science class.

Exhibit 1



~ The dead bird is such an intrigue, that it causes your children to stay outside for almost TWO HOURS happily searching for clues as to what might have killed the bird.

Exhibit 2



~ Two days later you gasp in horror when you see your other daughter pull the dead bird head out of her purse in the MIDDLE OF CHURCH to show to her friends {fortunately it is still in the ziploc baggie conveniently labeled "bird head"}

~ You kill a bee that has been hovering around your children's picnic lunch and realize that the specimen is perfectly intact and would make yet another wonderful science specimen.

The best solution is to store it in a piece of Tupperware and stare at it on your windowsill for weeks on end - because someday it will come in handy.

Exhibit 3



*** Only a bee was harmed intentionally in
the homeschooling process. All hands involved in
the bird head incident were completely and thoroughly cleaned.***


I ♥ Faces: Blurb Photo Book Contest

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"I am submitting this photo into the www.iheartfaces.com Blurb Book photo contest. I am granting I Faces permission to use my photo in a printed version of a book for commercial use and possibly advertising of a photo book on both the Blurb and I Faces web sites."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Websites for Kids

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Looking for some great websites for your toddler or preschooler? Be sure to check out some of the sites that I'm reviewing over at Totally Tots.

This week I'm reviewing the site Storyplace.org. Head on over to Totally Tots to read more...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Update on Justin

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Justin is back home with some increased meds. No definite answers at this point but his parents have a meeting with the neurologist on Monday.

Thanks so much for all of your prayers!

Jolanthe


Friday, May 15, 2009

Finding Favor With the King - DONE!!

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I finished another non-fiction book this week. And I'll admit I'm just a wee bit proud of myself. Finding Favor with the King by Tommy Tenney is a book that I would HIGHLY recommend to you all. Out of the 200 pages in the book, I have something underlined, dog~eared or blocked off on over 80 of them.

And I'm not one to write in books at all. So that right there is a good indicator {to me} that there's quite a bit of good stuff between the covers. I've tried several times to sit down and pull my thoughts together on the book in the form of a blog post, but for some reason it is so difficult.

I can say that it has:
  • really opened my eyes to my relationship with God in some new ways
  • helped me see and understand what intimacy with God is
  • view obedience to God in a new light
  • put a whole different perspective on worship
  • made me love the book of Esther even more
I loved it so much, that I am going to continue the devotional that goes along with it, but also read the book AGAIN straight through so that I can see it all together, rather than in the chunks I've been reading it in over the last few months.

Since fiction seems to be the thing for me lately, I even started a new book by Jackie Kendall called Free Yourself to Love: The Liberating Power of Forgiveness. This one I plan to work on this week since a friend and I are going to read it together and then work our way back through it over the next few months. I'm still going back through her other book The Mentoring Mom bit by bit too.

I did grab a fiction book for this week though, so I'm sure at some point during the week I'll be curled up to get lost in another world.

Here are the books that I currently have stacked up to work on this week:
  • Kiss - Ted Dekker
  • The Mentoring Mom: 11 Ways to Model Christ for Your Child - Jackie Kendall
  • Finding Favor with the King: Daily Inspirations- Tenney
  • Finding Favor with the King - Tenney
  • Free Yourself to Love - Jackie Kendall
  • Grace Based Parenting - Dr. Tim Kimmel

Be sure to stop by and visit Semicolon for other blogger's book reviews and 5 Minutes for Books and their monthly meme called "What's on Your Nightstand?".



Would Appreciate Your Prayers

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One of our nephews, Justin (2 yrs old), is back in the hospital right now. He was in earlier this week {Sunday through Tuesday}because he started having unexplained seizures.

He was able to go home on Tuesday, but today was taken back to his local hospital and then airlifted to another one. Please keep him and his family in your prayers ~ and pray the doctors will figure out what is causing the problem. Even more that God would heal his little body.

Thanks so much!


There's More for Me

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"...consider the fact that you are more than just somebody's wife, more than just somebody's mom, more than just somebody's daughter. God is dreaming great dreams and He has a noble purpose for you."
p. 167, The Mentoring Mom

There are times during my week when I wonder what my purpose in life is. Beyond laundry. Washing dishes. Cleaning up after four kids....did I mention laundry? Outside of my family, what does God have for me? I know there are things beyond these four walls.

Don't get me wrong. Where I am right now as a wife, a mother, a teacher to my children...is part of God's purpose for me. I know that with all my heart. Each day I understand more deeply the importance of where He has placed me right now in this moment.

I am not trying to make light of that in any way ~ because nothing would more greatly please the Enemy. My role as a wife and mother is incredibly important. Immeasurably so.

But it is a part of His purpose for me. Each day I have even more chances to bring honor to God. With every moment there are opportunities to glorify God. Become more of the woman that He created me to be.

I want so desperately to walk in all that He has called me to be, to do, and to say. Hear His voice. Know His dreams for me and be obedient in what He asks me to do.

Because I know that He has more in store for me.

"I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord has given to me ~ the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."
Acts 20:24




Thursday, May 14, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

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If you love strawberry shortcake, then you are sure to love these cookies. I'm not generally one that likes cooked or mushy strawberries, but after finding this recipe I'm a changed woman.

Who can't quit eating the cookies.

And lest you think that I came up with the wonderful recipe all on my own, I will give credit where credit is due ~ good ol' Martha Stewart is to thank for this one. I'll give you her directions and note where I went off course.



Ingredients

~ 12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces {2 cups}
~ 1 tsp lemon juice
~ 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar
~ 2 cups all purpose flour {I used whole wheat pastry flour}
~ 2 tsp baking powder
~ 1/2 tsp salt
~ 6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces {I used salted}
~ 2/3 cup heavy cream
~ Sanding sugar for sprinkling {I used coarse unrefined sugar}

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375. Combine strawberries, 2 Tbsp of sugar and lemon juice in a bowl.

2. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub it in with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cream until dough starts to come together.

3. Stir in strawberry mixture.

4. Using a small melon scoop or a tablespoon, drop the dough onto well greased cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.

5. Bake until golden brown, 17-20 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Makes about 3 dozen {unless you eat some of the batter...ahem}.




Wednesday, May 13, 2009

TwitterBar for Firefox ~ LOVE it!

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I needed another add-on for Firefox.

Ok, not really. But that doesn't mean I can't love it!

When browsing the web, there are sometimes links that I want to share and now I can post them quickly to Twitter without having to cut and paste. TwitterBar just adds an icon to the end of my address bar. When the link that I want is in my address bar I just 'hover' my mouse pointer over the Twitter icon and it will automatically post it to my Twitter account.

Better yet?

I can even type some intro info in front of it to let others know what the link is about ~ like this:


{In case you can't quite see, I typed 'Great math idea to help with subtraction!:' before the link}

You can download the Firefox add-on for the TwitterBar on the Mozilla Add-ons page. And if you don't already use Firefox as your browser, you just might want to consider it. I switched over a few months ago and have loved it ever since. Our windows browser was continually crashing and this has helped so much!

Don't know what Twitter is all about? This little youtube clip is a cute and fun way that gives a great sum-up of it.



**I will be continuing on with Emergency Binder documents next week~ just took a little break this week. :)

Just wanted to pass along a little something that is Working for Me! Hope it helps you out!

Too Cute for Words

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tiny Talk in Years Gone By

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I was going through our scrapbooks and on the last page of each book I have some of the 'tiny talk' from years past ~ when Laurianna and McKenna were little.

Since Laurianna never really had a fair shot at Tiny Talk, I figured I'd share some of her past moments with you all today.
______________________________

Laurianna {age 2}

~ I walk around in my yiddle bare feet {little bare feet}

~ {shuts the bathroom door while potty training} I NEED MY PRIVACY!!

~ {with the potty seat pulled up around her waist and walking around the house} Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream...

~ Laurianna walked into the house with us after running errands and declares: "This house is a filthy mess!"

Head on over to Mary's at Not Before 7 for some more Tiny Talk Tuesday!!


 

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