October 31, 2008

Christmas Planning

Ok, ok... I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet. But I am one of those people that waits till the last minute every year to start thinking about Christmas.

We try to keep things simple and make sure our children remember the real reason for Christmas. One thing I like to emphasize to them is that we should take more joy in giving than in receiving. So this year I thought it would be nice to find something we could bless family and friends with that would be fairly simple to make (handmade gifts are always best!) and not too expensive either.

I saw these in a magazine the other day and thought we might just make them. I'm hoping to find some really pretty boxes to package them in. Of course we will decorate them nicely was well! It's a really easy recipe and they look SO GOOD! :0)

October 28, 2008

No more "ba"!

I am so happy to say that I think I have finally weaned 1 year old from her nightly "ba-ba". My baby just could not go to bed without a bottle! It really worried me because of her teeth. I didn't want to let her sleep with a bottle and ruin her teeth, but she is VERY stubborn and in order for anyone in the house to get sleep, we chose to give in to her.

A couple nights ago, we came home really late and I honestly forgot about the "ba". I put her down and she slept straight through. Last night I gave her a cup of water and she slept until 4 am, at which time I did give her a bottle of milk because she was honestly hungry (she's always hungry, LOL!).

Tonight, she went down fine again, as long as she had 6 yo's baby doll and 4 yo's stuffed puppy. They were happy to loan them to her for the night.

I plan to have a bottle ready for her for the early morning but if she wakes up tonight I will offer her water.

So far, so good... let's just pray this will last!

October 16, 2008

Great Deal!

We decided yesterday that it would be a good time to go shopping for winter coats for the girls. Where we live it doesn't get extremely cold in the winter but we do like them to have nice warm coats for evening time and outdoor activities. I figured for 4 children we would likely spend about $150 to $200 for coats. However, I was so happily surprised when we went to a Ross store and found the coats for $15.99 each! The larger ones are coats that retail normally for $70! So for under $100 they are all warm and ready for winter now. Here is a picture of what the coats look like.

I chose the larger style for all three bigger girls and the smaller one for 1 year old. They are all nice and warm and cozy with a furry type lining and hoods. The smaller one also has a zip out liner that can be worn as a light jacket. If you live near a Ross, go take a look and maybe you will find the same deal!

October 9, 2008

Our Evening

My oldest daughter and I were sorting beans to soak for dinner the next day and I just had to take a picture because she looked like such a little lady helping me out. Isn't she sweet? :0)

While we were working with the beans my other three daughters decided to have some Bible reading time on the sofa. Too cute! :0)

We had such a nice evening waiting for Daddy to arrive home from work.

Praying your evening was a blessed one too!

Bible Study: Romans (Part 5)

Today I'm continuing the study I have been doing on The Book of Romans. If you missed the past part you can find it here.

Without God's law there is sin and there is still sin with his law. Sin did not "go away" when God gave us His laws nor when Jesus came to earth. Sin still exists. (Romans 2:12)

His law is what we will be judged by. Hearing (knowing/reading) the law is not what makes us justified, it is obeying His law that justifies us. Obeying God's law because of "intuition" shows us that God's law rules His creation, whether we "know" the law or not. His law is within us as His creation, He put it in us to recognize His commands because we were created by Him. He speaks directly to us with His law which is in us by nature. (Romans 2:13 - 15)

God will judge us - by what we have done, even though no one else may know about it He knows about all that we do. God's people need to know His law, and learn from it... obey it, and use it to teach others about Him. We need to realize that the truth is in His word. (Romans 2:16 - 20)

We also need not be hypocritical, we must "practice what we preach". Being hypocritical about teaching God's Word is blasphemy. We do not show ourselves to be Christians if we are hypocrites. Non-Christians could theoretically be mistaken for Christians by their actions (if they are "good", so to speak) and can actually judge Christians because of their "good deeds". (Romans 2:21 - 27)

Although we are commanded to obey God's law, our actions are not what makes us a Christian. It is our hearts. Our commitment in our hearts to Christ. It is not by men that we are to be judged but by God Himself. Yes, we need to obey God's laws but not to the point to thinking that that is what leads to our salvation. Our hearts need to be turned to Christ to be saved. (Romans 2:28 - 29)

I'm really enjoying this study, I hope you are too. I'd love to have some comments and hear your insights as well.

October 6, 2008

Our Homeschool Journey

After homeschooling for 4 years now, getting up every day and teaching my kids is just a way of life. I really don't give it a second thought. "School" is just what we do, it's how we live. When I get into the topic of homeschooling with a non-homeschooling parent and it really gets me thinking. Why did we decide to homeschool?

Our homeschooling journey started when our oldest turned 5. We were planning to send her to a Christian school, but our finances ended up not allowing us to afford to do so. We have many, many reasons why we don't want our children to go to a public school, to our only option was to homeschool.

I had no idea what homeschooling entailed when we started off. I felt that I could do it, at least in the younger grades. My cousin's wife was homeschooling their children so she gave me some basic information on what I needed to do to get started. I had no idea how many curriculum were out there nor had I ever attended a convention or met any other homeschooling parents. That first year was a very hard one. I second guessed every thing I did and didn't really have any mentors to help me along. We eventually joined a homeschool support group which was a big help to us. I began to meet other homeschool moms and get a little home insight into how others manage their homeschool day.

We then began to attend a church that has a very high number of members that homeschool. This was a realy turning point for me in our homeschool journey. I really began to see more older children that had been homeschooling and were so well mannered and articulate and just plain smart. It was so encouraging to our family.

Every year of homeschooling has gotten better for our family. I think my biggest challenge has been to create structure in how we "do school". I have also really had to work hard to break myself out of the vision of teaching as it is done in a classroom setting.

This year we are doing things in such a more relaxed manner yet we still maintain structure and are able to get things done. My children are becoming more confident of their abilities and I am learning how to work with each one of them as individuals while still being able to work on certain subjects with them in a group.

The reasons we continue to homeschool are so numerous. Having my children with me and knowing what they are learning and helping them shape their beliefs and knowledge is priceless. Being able to teach my kids not only "book knowledge" but "life knowledge" means so much. Watching my older girls help each other learn as well as watching them learn to care for their baby sister is such a blessing.

We also love to watch our children prove all of the stereotypes of homeschoolers wrong. I keep hearing people say that homeschooled children are not social. That just amazes me! Whenever I meet a homeschooled child (not just my own!) they are so articulate and social, it is a delight. Most children (especially teens) that I meet from public schools are often quite introverted and really have no idea how to relate to other aside from peers of their own age group.

Knowing that my children are receiving one on one attention from a teacher that truly cares about their education (me!) means so much. Choosing books for the girls, based on what they enjoy and watching them get so excited about learning is wonderful. I could go on and on but I really need to get to sleep because we have school in the morning. :0)

Have a blessed day!

October 3, 2008

A Matter of Prespective

God's blessings are so good, I always wake up every morning thinking of how much God has blessed me and my family.

I didn't always think this way. When I was a "baby" Christian, I had just come out of a bad state of depression. The negative thought patterns that had developed in my mind, over the course of many years living a worldly life still continued in some ways even after I gave my life to the Lord. I spent a long time continuing to worry about things and trying to "fix" them myself. However, with God's grace and His word to guide me I am now so aware of every little way He blesses us each day.

Lately I have been reading all the news reports about the economy. We have also been feeling the pinch here at home and watching the struggles that friends and family are enduring because of hard times financially. The funny thing is, despite any struggles we face we feel so amazingly blessed and are happy and joyful every day. In fact, I have honestly never been quite as happy in my life than I am now.

God is just so good and I just felt tonight that I wanted to share my feelings on His blessings. No matter what we may endure, money problems, health concerns, losing a family member, etc, God is bigger than all of those things and can give us joy despite them.

O my soul, thou hast said unto Jehovah, Thou art my Lord: I have no good beyond thee. (Psalm 16:2)

Here's one of my favorite praise songs, I hope you enjoy it too...

October 1, 2008

Kitchen Fun

My girls and I are about to have a fun day in the kitchen! We are making a meal for a family at our church that has a new baby and is moving. We are also going to be making coffee cake, chocolate chip cookies and a cookie pizza (a recipe given to me by a dear friend) so that we will have treats ready for the next several days. I'm going to freeze the cookie dough so we can bake a few at a time as we need them for dessert and snacks. When I do this, I then take out just as many balls of dough that we need then let them thaw on the cookie sheet and then bake as the recipe calls for. It should be a fun day!