Friday, December 31, 2010

Lukewarm and Loving it?

I was looking at some posts over at Like a Warm Cup of Coffee. This post really struck me. I guess she had seen this article about a "famous" pastor that left his church and headed to Asia. You may not agree with everything this pastor teaches, but this message really struck me. I just wanted to share it with you.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

She is...

 just so cute! My mother brought up a few things of mine a few weeks ago. She also gave me my grandmother's wedding dress. Sweet E was so intrigued by it. I decided to let her try it on. She just had the biggest smile on her face and was so giddy. It definitely made her day. I will have to scan the wedding picture of my Grandma some time and show it to you all. ;-)


That's it. A short and sweet post. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thank you....

God for providing for our family. I can say our debts (minus the mortgage anyway) are paid off. We paid of the ER bill (the biggest bill) off this week. It felt so good! We thought it would take a long time to pay these bills off and with a surprise blessing they are taken care of! So I just wanted to share that with you all. ;-)

And during this blessed week of reflection on God's love, goodness, grace, and forgiveness we are constantly trying to figure out what is best for our family. I guess you could call them traditions. Of course any time I hear the word tradition I think of this song. I just can't help it. ;-) (just make sure to shut off the music in the side bar).

 
We don't do the Santa thing with our children. That's our choice. We don't spend a ton of money on gifts for everyone in the family either (not like we could if we wanted to. LOL) For a few years we didn't celebrate Christmas at all. We would attend family gatherings but that was it. I don't regret doing that. It has helped our family focus on Christ and figure out what is best for us. We now give the children a few gifts. This is actually the first year we will do this. We have decided to give the children their gifts on Christmas Eve so all the focus can be on Christ on Christmas day. On Christmas day we are having a wonderful brunch and hopefully spend some time at the nursing home visiting with some people there. Then we will be going to my Mother-in-Love and Father-in-Love's home. (Hope it's okay to steal your term Marci. Calling someone a " "-in-love sounds better than in-law :-)


I don't know why I am sharing this with everyone, but I just felt like writing it out. It's nice to come up with traditions for our family  that are our own and no one else. Traditions can become idols as well. I know that. No matter the intent of traditions we need to be careful they don't turn to idols. Just knowing that is a big step in the prevention of losing our focus of Christ at this time of year. I know that he wasn't born on December 25th, but I find that this is a good time to be a witness to others. To share the gospel. For he was born to die. Praise the Lord! I am saved.



*Disclaimer- I am not a poetic writer. I am not good at explaining my thoughts in a way that always make sense to others. LOL But I just wanted to share. :-)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

MamaBuzz Review: Where the Jewels Are

What little girl didn't pretend to be a princess? It's something I think all little girls want to be at one time or another. As a mother it's hard to find a fairy tale type of book with good morals and values. Something that is really beneficial to my daughters.


Where the Jewels Are, written by Diana Symons, is about a young princess who has everything. How do you tell her no when so wants even more? Her wise Father sends her on a journey to find the one thing she is missing. This book is an easy read with short chapters. Good for young readers and great as a read aloud book. (Written for 8-12 years old or the young at heart.)

It's hard to find a book like this without magic, witches, and the like. It was refreshing to find a book that didn't include any of this. I am always on a lookout for books about knights, kings, queens, princesses and princes, but they usually have magic or witches involved. I am glad I had a chance to review a book that didn't feel like it had to go that route. It's a wonderful book. 


You can purchase the book for $5.99 here or on Amazon. If you are curious what other reviewers had to say about this book you can find that out at MamaBuzz. Oh...and one more thing. Here is a booktrailer for Where the Jewels Are.  One more thing...don't forget to go over to Facebook and add Diana Symons as a friend. ;-)



*Disclaimer: I am a reviewer for MamaBuzz. This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Really...

A year already? It can't be...can it? ;-)

Saturday, December 04, 2010

God is Good....

all the time! Praise the Lord for his mercy endureth forever.We have had a ton of things happen this past month. From doctor visits, to an ER visit, to more doctor visits, Special K chipping her front tooth and Beloved getting in a car accident this week.....we haven't had a dull moment. And during all of this the Lord has helped us every step of the way. His hand of protection was on our family during all of this. Especially with Sweet E (ER visit), Special K (Chipped tooth), and Beloved (in the car accident.)

And during this time of year we reflect more on God's goodness. The fact that a little baby was born just so he could die for our sins is unbelievable. (I know there is debate about the actual time of year Christ was born, but I am not getting into that right now.) I just want to focus on his love, greatness, and forgiveness. Thank you Lord for sending your son, to be born on this earth and to die for our sins. Because of Jesus we can be saved and have a relationship with you. Thank you seems so trivial....it's not good enough, but I don't know anything better than....Thank You!

 Here is a video that has touched my heart this week. I hope you enjoy it as well. (make sure  you turn the music off in the side bar first)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

"O, give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever." 1 Chronicles 16:34

"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:57
 
Our family has had a lot going on the past couple of weeks. One week Beloved and Special K went to the doctor and came out with 5 prescriptions between the two of them. Then on Friday (about 3 am) we rushed to the ER with Sweet E. Her face (on her left side) had swollen up so bad that she was screaming and crying in pain. So we took the other three children over to my in-laws and headed to the ER. No definite cause was determined. The ER doctor thought it had to do with her saliva gland and our family doctor thought it had to do with a lymph node. She was prescribed antibiotics and ibuprofen. (along with instructions to place a warm compress on her face every few hours). Praise the Lord, the swelling finally went down and it appears to be totally gone now. We are praying it doesn't come back. It could have happened when one of her brothers accidentally hit her in the jaw the night before or it could have been an obstruction somewhere. I guess we will never know for sure. 
 
Our family has also been struggling spiritually and emotionally the past few months. I am not going into details, but we were under attack from the enemy. I can gladly say that we are doing very well now. God is so good and we are trying to follow his will for our family. So we have so many things to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving. Make sure to give your children, spouse, parents, etc. a great big hug today. And be sure to let them know how much they mean to you. You never know if you will get another chance.
 
So....Lord...thank you for sending your son to die for my sins. I don't deserve it. And thank you for giving me such a loving, caring, and giving husband. Oh...and for my sweet loving children. It's such a joy to see Big T growing into a fine young man....Sweet E, she is such a loving/caring little girl.....Little E, ornery just like his Papa...and Special K's smile will melt anyone's heart. 
 
So count you blessings, name them one by one. :-) Have a great Thanksgiving! 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Prayers for a local family

Maybe you have heard in the news about the 4 people that went missing last week. They rescued the young girl on Sunday and they just found the bodies of the other three (two women and an young boy). My heart is aching right now. The girl was found about 2 minutes from our home. Not knowing them doesn't matter. It's a tragic thing that has happened and we all need to pray for everyone involved. Especially this young girl. She has a long road ahead of her and God is the only one that will be able to help her through it. Please keep everyone in your prayers.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ouchie Family Pick-Up

What does the title mean? Well...I will tell you. Here is the ouchie part. It's sort of hard to tell. But Special K kissed the pavement one day. She scratched up her nose and had the biggest fat lip I have ever seen on a baby. :-( And of course it had to happen before a trip to see family.


The family part of the title is just that. We went to Indiana for a family Christmas. Yes, I did say Christmas. My grandparents go to Florida for the winter so the beginning of November is usually Christmas time for us. Here is a picture of all the grandchildren plus 4 great grandchildren with Nana and Grandpa.


I almost forgot to post this. Before we went to see my Mom's side of the family we stopped off to see our oldest niece at college. We didn't get to spend much time with her but we did have a chance to take her out for supper. We miss having her around, but we know she is loving college. 



And the pick-up part of the title has to do with leaves. Every year when the leaf truck comes around my children love to watch. They think it's great entertainment to see the leaves there one second and gone the next. ;-) The only bad thing is it kicks up a lot of dust and bits of leaves into the air aggravating my sinuses. At least the children are entertained for a short time. :-)



So, a sort of miss mash of things to write about, but that should catch me up on all the pictures I have from the camera. We are dealing with bronchial infections with Beloved and Special K right now. We would appreciate your prayers for healing and for our family in general. I hope you all enjoyed the beautiful weather this past week. Blessings to you all. :-)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Live Gluten Freely Review

Don't you just love surprise packages? I sure do! Look what showed up on my doorstep one day.


Our household has been 90% gluten free for over a year and a half. Hubby is the one that needs to eat gluten free, but the rest of us do as well because it's just easier. (So that's why we are not 100% gluten free.) I make the majority of things from scratch. But It's hard sometimes to always have something. That's why I was ecstatic to have a chance to review all these gluten free products. 

We had the yellow cake with chocolate icing the other night and it was a hit with the entire family. The only thing I have a problem with is that gluten free products are usually twice as much as the gluten free counterpart and half the size. Which is what this cake was. It only made one round layer instead of two. I guess you can look at that as a blessing in disguise. It keeps me from eating too much of things I shouldn't. ;-) 

Oh yeah...and the brownies are delicious as well. :-) Beloved said the children could have the fruit snacks. Of course those were well received by them. Even though I prefer to make everything from scratch. With cooking/baking gluten free, it's not always an option. Sometimes we are in a hurry to get somewhere and we can't stop by some fast food restaurant and pick something up for him. So having an option with things at home that I can make quickly is nice to have. 

So, if you are or know someone is gluten free there are more and more options out there for you/them. Even if you aren't gluten free, maybe you could try something one time just to see what others are going through and what they eat. You could even try going gluten free for a day and see how it goes. It's much harder than people realize. I didn't realize how much I have to watch for things when we started on this journey. Gluten is in almost everything we pick up at the store. 

So once again, I am so grateful that more and more businesses are realizing the need for gluten free products and offering them in a more accessible way. Not everyone has a health food store where they can go pick up items like this.

So, thank you to MyBlogSpark for letting me have the opportunity to review these products. My family greatly appreciates it!


*Disclaimer: I received this gluten free package free of charge in exchange for writing a honest review. Thank you to General Mills for allowing me to write reviews for them. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

October Roundup

Yes, once again I am way behind on updating this site. I know. Excuses....excuses. But we have had sickness go through the house the past month. First up are the cake pictures from Special K's birthday. I did a take on Sweet E's 1st birthday cake. Here is a picture of Sweet E and her 1st birthday cake.


I made a gluten free yellow/chocolate layer cake so Beloved could join in. I was going for more fall colors, but I ended up with fluorescent instead. :-(



 I have to say that Special K's cake did turn out nicer. But I had to start somewhere right? And she wasn't sure what to do with the candle either.

video

 But she sure loved eating cake for the very first time!


The Saturday after her birthday was the Upward Soccer Celebration. There was a bonfire, hayrides, face painting, corn hole, jump house, giant soccer balls, and the local college radio station was there too. 




The announced each of the teams and the children received a nice Upward backpack. 

The Little Cubs

The Junior Flash

The Tornadoes
 
I think that wraps up October. :-)

Adventures in Odyssey: Cause and Effect Review

Welcome to Adventures in my Review! Sorry. I couldn't resist. I hear the line "Welcome to Adventures in Odyssey" almost every day. ;-) It quickly became a family favorite this past year. Big T, my oldest, can't seem to get enough of it. Thanks to MamaBuzz and Tyndale House I had the privilege of reviewing the lastest volume of Adventures in Odyssey called Cause and Effect.

From the website-


It’s all-new Adventures in Odyssey episodes in volume 52, Cause & Effect. Join Eugene and Matthew as they investigate why the clock tower at City Hall seems to be counting down to a mysterious deadline. Could it have something to do with the anniversary of a lost love from twenty years ago? Barrett couldn’t be more excited about getting the lead role in the school play. But when his first practice is interrupted by a mysterious booming voice, Emily Jones must investigate the “phantom of the school play.” Also, perfect for the holiday season, are stories on Thanksgiving (“A Thankstaking Story”) and Christmas (“Grandma&rsuo;s Christmas Visit”). 

Adventures in Odyssey is fun and exciting audio entertainment that teaches quality character traits and ignites the imagination of all who listen. Imagine, Discover, and Grow with Adventures in Odyssey


As I already mentioned Whitt, Eugene, Connie, and Wooten seem like people we have known for  a long time. Wooten is my favorite! And this newest volume couldn't have gotten to our home at a better time. We left over the weekend for our family Christmas. Yep...Christmas in November. That's what happens when my grandparent go to Florida for the winter. Anyway, our drive was over 4 hours and this Adventures in Odyssey set was perfect for our trip. It help all of us to enjoy the drive more and to pass the time more quickly. I forgot to ask my children which story was their favorite out of this set. But if I had to guess I would say that Big T really enjoyed the one called "an Agreeable Nanny." My favorite was the one called "Thankstaking."

If you have never listened to Adventures in Odyssey before this would be a fine place to start. And if you already love Adventures in Odyssey this is the perfect addition to a collection. I know I am going to have to purchase another one soon before we wear this one out. Yes, I know it's CD's. But if it's possible to wear CDs out I think my children are on their way. ;-) Oh yeah, here is a clip from one of the episodes if you have never heard Adventures before.

And before I forget, make sure to head on over to Whit's End and check the website out. A lot of information can be found and some of the episodes can be listened to online as well. :-)




This is a MamaBuzz review. Tyndale  provided me with the products free of charge for my honest opinion. Thanks Tyndale!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

BookSneeze Review: Lee (The Generals)

Boy....am I ever behind on getting this review posted. *shaking head*  It's a good book too. I just let things get in the way of posting this review. So....without waiting any longer. Here is my review.




 Description from the Publisher: 

A powerful, compact biography of Robert E. Lee, focusing on how his intrinsic goodness shaped everything from his battle tactics to his treatment of his troops.
It’s no surprise that Robert E. Lee graduated second in his class from West Point. His four years there were marked by exemplary conduct and nary a demerit. He went on to become one of the most successful generals of the Confederate army during the American Civil War, inspiring his troops with his unselfish character and devotion to duty. Lee’s string of victories earned him praise on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. He was admired for his tactical success in battle, and even after surrendering to Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomatox court house, his example of conduct for thousands of ex-Confederates made him a legend. After the war, he assumed the presidency of Washington College and devoted the remainder of his life to setting an example of conduct. He remains one of the most distinguished military heroes of all time.

 It's amazing. In school, history just wasn't something I was interested in. As an adult, I can't get enough of it. And since we are now a homeschooling family I am always on the lookout for books for the children in the future. A lot of time all you get is one side of the story. John Perry, the author, does a good job showing all sides of Genereal Lee. This book also confirms more of what I have been learning over the past few years. In school they made it seem like the Civil War was all about slavery. When it actually was only a part of it. It's amazing all the things you never learn in high school history. 

So, for someone wanting to get more in depth on a key player in the Civil War this would be a good book to read. It will definitely be placed on our bookshelf of resource books for history. If me children keep up with their interest in the Civil War this will become a invaluable book. :-)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

She's One!

I can't believe it. My baby girl is one year old today! Where did the time go? To Special K: I am so happy to be your Mama. God has given me a very precious gift and a big responsibility. You are such a joy and blessing to our family. I can't imagine not having you around walking and giggling at your siblings. I love you so much!









Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Knights of Arrethtrae Review

Are your children into knights, swords, chivalry, etc? Mine sure are. They love it! I was excited when I had a chance to review some books from The Knights of Arrethtae Series. This series is written by Chuck Black, a former F-16 pilot/engineer.



From the Website- 
Two friends face the Dark Knight’s deadliest scheme, but only one knight has the courage to overcome.

Sir Quinlan leaves his boyhood friend to serve the Prince, fighting a battle darker and more intense than any he’s ever known. The mysterious Sir Baylor recruits him into the ranks of an elite unit of knights known as the Swords of Valor, but when tragedy strikes and everyone blames Quinlan, the Swords of Valor disband ending a legacy of heroic deeds
.




From the Website- A knight left for dead. A country on the verge of ruin. An evil lord rising to conquer.

Sir Rowan is the most decorated tournament knight in Cameria, but when he is attacked and left for dead, his world collapses. Betrayed and lingering at death’s door, only a bizzare vision of his Prince and the help of a woman dedicated to the King keeps hin alive. As Rowan heals, he finds new purpose in life through service to the King

These are books 5 and 6 in the Kinghts of Arrethtra Series. This series is a medieval action and adventure allegory. It's also a companion series to the Kingdom Series. My children aren't old enough to read these books on their own, but these would be nice to use as read aloud. Knights, princesses, princes, sword fights, etc have been something that has intrigued my children for a long time. So these two series would be perfect to invest in as my children get older. If I start now I should have most of them by the time they are ready to read them. :-) It's difficult to find a book with a medieval/knight background that doesn't have magic and/or wizardry. So it was refreshing to have a chance to read these two books. Chuck was inspired to write these books because of his children. He also lets us know that they battle scenes are tastefully written so that as parents, we don't have to worry about what they might right.

So I know I will be gradually purchasing this series to have on hand for read alouds and as Big T gets older. :-) So go check out the website now and see what you think. :-)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Apple Time!

I love this time of year. Yes, Autumn is my favorite. I love the changing colors of the leaves, the crisp air, the crunch of leaves underfoot, and the smell of apple butter in the morning. My wonderful MIL had a week of vacation last week, so we had a chance to go apple picking together! I love to go apple picking. I love going into the store at the orchard because you are just bombarded with so many wonderful smells! I wasn't sure if we would be able to get enough of our favorite apples this year (They only have one row of trees of Jonagold and all the apples were ripening earlier this year.) But we were apple to get a bushel worth of Jonagolds. :-) I think my MIL even got a 1/2 bushel of apples. The children loved picking their own apples and later, getting to pick out pumpkins to decorate our front steps. If I had the money I would go to the orchard every week. :-)



Big T was a huge help getting apples we couldn't reach. :-)


 I can't wait until next year!

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'm Alive...I promise :-)

Yes, I am alive and well. I made an emergency type trip back home to Indiana the end of September and I have just been trying to catch up (again!). I hope to be posting some pictures and video of the children very soon. :-)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

You Make What?!

I make my own laundry detergent. Yes, you read that right. I make my own laundry detergent. I used to purchase a large bucket of laundry detergent from Sam's Club. Since we don't have a membership there anymore and I don't like spending money on name brand detergents I started making my own. It's so easy and so cheap! All you need is some water, washing soda, Borax, and a bar of Fels-Naptha soap. That's it! Easy right?

First you just need to grate your soap. I grate it right into the pot I am going to use. I have a pot, plastic spoon, and grater that I purchased from the Dollar General just for this project.


Once you have the bar shredded just add 4 cups of hot water and put it on the stove at a medium-low heat. Keep stirring until it's all melted. It will go from this.....


to this.


Oh, I should also add that you need a 5 gallon bucket. You can find one pretty cheap in the paint department of most home improvement stores. Fill the bucket up half way with hot water. Then add the soap you just melted, 1 cup of Washing Soda and 1/2 cup of Borax. (make sure it's WASHING soda...not baking soda). Then stir until it's all dissolved.


Once it's all dissolved finish filling up the bucket with hot water.

This bucket is what I used to buy my detergent in from Sam's club. I bought the screw top lid from Amazing Graze General Store. It makes it so easy to open/close the container and keep the soap safely out of Special K's reach.


Let it set overnight and it the morning it will become gel-like.

I will occasionally give the detergent a stir to break up the large pieces. I use about 1/8 c of detergent in my HE washer. For regular toploaders I think it's recommended to use 1/4 cup. Some people think it's easier to take an old detergent bottle, fill it half full with water, then fill the rest of the way with the soap. You shake it up (because it will gel) and then you would use 1/2 c. in a toploader and 1/4 c. in a front loader. You could even add tea tree oil or other essential oils to it if you like. I found that if you can smell the detergent on your clothes after they come out of the wash...then you have detergent build up. Your clothes shouldn't have a smell after coming out of the wash. (not much of one anyway.)

So...if you have any questions about making your own detergent feel free to ask. There are plenty of recipes on making your own (they are all pretty much the same) and recipes for powdered detergent as well.