Friday, November 30, 2012

I love Fridays!

Yay! Friday is here! This week has been a little crazy with some bumps and hiccups along the way so I am thankful that it went by fast! I am looking forward to a weekend of family time.

I borrowed my mom's camera this week (hers is a little newer and therefor awesomer than mine... yep.. it's a word, ha!) and have had fun taking pics of my favorite peeps.

Seriously, I look at these pics and wonder, "how do I not smile all the time?" How does one girl get to be so blessed? What can I say? I love the people I live with... and lucky for me they are also my very own family.

Also, if you get a chance, watch this video below. The hubs' brother-in-law and his church were on the news last night! Someone nominated them to win $500 for Fox 2 News' Pay It Forward. They make a free lunch for the highschool in their community every Wednesday. I think it is so cool what their church does to show the love of Christ in their community. And I am so excited that they were recognized for their efforts!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Stick to the {plan}

Last year I did it. I read through the entire Bible. After probably 20+ attempts of trying to do this I finally did it. And it really was awesome. Everyday (or just about) I would pull out my little reading guide and read a little from the Old Testament and a little from the New Testaments and then I got to make that one gratifying check mark next to what I read!

In August I finished my reading plan. I was so glad to be done but after finishing I really found myself struggling to read the Bible everyday. I felt like I didn't know what to read. I would read the different chapters and portions I was using in my Bible study or Discipleship but I didn't really know what to read during my "just for me" quiet time. More often than not I found myself flipping aimlessely through Psalms or Proverbs.

So, I realized that I am just a girl who needs a plan. And that is okay! And I want to encourage you if getting into the Word everyday is a challenge to use a Bible reading plan. There are literally hundreds of them online you can choose from. You can read based on different topics, read through the Bible in a  year, or two years, or 90 days! Read through the Bible chronologically, read through just the Old Testament, Read through the New Testament... seriously, there are so many awesome options out there.

I have decided to do a plan where I read through the New Testament in a year. I knew that this year I would still be doing discipleship and I will probably do a ladies Bible study again this winter so I wanted to make sure I picked a plan I could stick with. I am using this one right here.

I also thought I would pass on a few tips that really helped me to get through my reading plan last time...

  • Don't worry about the dates on the plan! I started my Bible in a year plan in August of 2011 and read through the next August. Start whenever you want... you don't need to wait until January 1st!
  • Don't stress about missing a day. Don't give up... who cares if it takes you 14 months instead of 12 months to read through the Bible? It is still an accomplishment!
  • Don't be a slave to your plan. It is to help you, but you are the boss. If you need to keep reading, keep reading! 
At the end of the day it doesn't matter if you use a reading plan or not! My husband has never used one and he has read through the Bible probably almost a dozen times. For him it works to just start at the beginning and read all the way through and then repeat. All that matters is that you are in God's word daily and that you are reading all of God's word. 

Here is a short 25 day reading plan I found online if you are looking for something to get you started! This plan focuses on preparing your heart for Christmas. Love it.
Growing Home

Monday, November 26, 2012

our {elf} is back!

The kiddos were so excited this morning when they realized that Pickle, our Elf on the Shelf, had returned! We don't do much with Santa in our house but we do love our elf! (Yeah, doesn't make sense... it has just kind of worked out that way!) This year I was inspired after I saw this pin on Pinterest and I decided to have Pickle help us focus on Jesus this year. Instead of watching to make sure the kids are naughty and nice, Pickle is here to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas and will be leaving a note complimenting the kiddos on Christlike behavior.

Last year we found the idea of doing an activity as a family every evening as we count down to Christmas day. We enjoyed it and decided this year to let Pickle be in on the fun. In his nightly note he will give us a little "challenge" for the day. Tonight it is to read the nativity story in the Bible. Some other challenges will be making cookies for a neighbor, making a card for the mail carrier/trash pick-up man etc., driving around to see Christmas lights, etc.

Here are a few pics from Pickle's reappearance this morning. He was sitting on one of the chairs in my stairway.

Welcome back, Pickle!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

{Thanksgiving Weekend}

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Max is sick so he and I are lounging around the house this morning hoping that rest = recuperation. The poor guy was up all night last night coughing. Reactive airway disease is the pits - side effect of being born a few weeks too early. 

The hubs took the younger two to Wal-Mart this morning to get a new tire. Yep. We need another new tire. This one is for the car though. I had to grab this pic of Jack in his adorable penguin hat and new coat from Grandma before he left... that wild boy melts my heart (in related news... I cropped the toy gun he is holding in his hands out of the picture...)
Not sure what the rest of our weekend will look like now that we have a sicky, but I am still thankful for the family time and the chance to just be together as a family. I am thinking tonight is the night to pop Elf in the DVD player and get this Christmas season started right.

To catch up a little I thought I would add in a little list of things I am thankful for...

  • A long weekend with the hubs at home. Lots of time just the 5 of us (plus our furry babies of course)  has been wonderful.
  • Christmas music on the radio... it makes me smile.
  • Online shopping... I might manage to avoid actually having to go into a store to buy any of my gifts this year... yay for avoiding long lines and crowded parking lots!
  • Lots of moving and shaking from Baby #4. I think he and Jack tie for most active baby in the womb so far... start praying for me now, Friends! 
  • Fireplaces and coffee on super chilly days.
  • A hubs that takes care of our family so well and works hard to get things done for us.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Day

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was fabulous. My mom made an amazing meal which looked beautiful and tasted even better. I might still be dreaming about the sweet potatoes... (pause to wipe drool). I am kicking myself for not getting a photo of the beautiful table too! It was almost too pretty to eat off of... yeah... almost! 

Before dinner we attempted to get a family pic for the Christmas card. We did end up with one that is passable (barely) but I thought you all might enjoy a few of the outtakes. 
Yep. We probably should have looked into professional pics. But, it seemed silly to spend the money with our family a few months away from adding a new member. So, those of you that get our Christmas card can enjoy the photo and know that it really was the best one we got that day! 

After our photoshoot kind of bombed and after we stuffed ourselves with incredible food, Jack and Sophie helped Grandma make cookies! They had a blast. And Max enjoyed watching.
I for one am thankful for a wonderful Thanksgving with our wonderful family. We are feeling extremely blessed this year.

Today was spent cozied up at home putting up some Christmas decorations, listening to Christmas music, and enjoying time with my very favorite people. Eager to post pics of my decorated house soon! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

our {hearts} on Thanksgiving

"Why do bad things happen to good people? That only happened once, and he volunteered" -R.C. Sproul Jr.

I saw this quote today posted on Facebook and my mind immediately jumped to the next question that you have to ask, "why do good things happen to bad people?" and in reality we know that we are all bad people.. no matter how much good we try to do. Romans 3:23 says, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." 

The answer is God's amazing grace. It is the only answer. I love James 1:17, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." It changes our entire perspective. We need to stop asking why the bad in our life is happening and instead look at why there is any good in our lives at all. 

I think Thanksgiving takes on a whole new meaning when we view every blessing we have in this light. We do not deserve a single good thing and yet we are blessed with lives full of goodness. Most of us will spend Thursday with our families and friends. I hope we will be counting every blessing and remembering that each and every one is more than we could ever deserve.

Let this be us this Thanksgiving, "They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness." Psalm 145:7 (NIV)

month of {gratitude} day 19 & 20

Wow, Thanksgiving is sure sneaking up on me this year! I can't believe we are only two days away! But with that, I also need to do two days of gratitude to catch up! So here we go...

I am grateful for God's provision. I feel like we have had a lot of random/unexpected/really not fun expenses come up lately. But, God has totally provided for those ahead of time and I am so thankful for that. It is such a humbling reminder that God does not owe us a single thing and yet he loves us so much that he chooses to make sure that we are cared for.

I am also grateful for my daughter, Sophie! In my world of boys (I am going to have 3 sons soon... oh my goodness doesn't that sound crazy?) I am so thankful for my little ray of girliness. Sophie is by far one of the most girly girls I have ever met. And trust me, it is not something I have tried to accomplish. If anything, I try to tone down all of the pink and dresses and baby dolls... but it is to no avail! She is just such a blessing to our family though because in the midst of all the sword fights, wrestling matches, and building pretend explosives out of Legos, there is this precious and feminine little girl who I think helps to mellow everyone out a little. She is still in the middle of every game her brothers play but she brings her own "element" to them. Aliens find an ally in a princess or Batman has to deal with Catwoman who also has 5 daughters that need to get home for nap time and be fed their bottles. I am so thankful that God knew just what our family needed and gave us our sweet, Sophie Nichole!

Monday, November 19, 2012

What I am loving lately...

Just thought I would take a minute and share some things I am loving lately...

OPI Shatter polish. Have you seen it? Tried it? I bought some in silver. Below is a really bad pic of my nails painted blue with the silver shatter polish on top. First of all... it is super fun to sit and watch it crackle as you paint your nails. But even better... this stuff is rock hard... no chipping! I had mine for over a week and had to take it off only because my nails were growing out too much. This gold might be fun for the holidays over some red polish? (By the way, I got mine at Target)

Catan Junior. I love playing board games as a family and Nick loves Settlers of Catan. Me, not so much. But, when I saw this junior version I thought maybe it would be more my speed. And it totally is. The game is for ages 6 and up but Soph at age 4 can play with a little coaching and seems to enjoy it. Nick and I actually enjoyed this game so much we have played a few times by ourselves after the kiddos are in bed. Ha!

 My new Keurig! I got the Platinum edition one. I got it at Kohls when it was on sale and I had a 30% off coupon. I am mildly obsessed with this thing. And the kids love using it to make hot chocolate. I also got the nifty drawer thing underneath at Sams to store my K-cups in for $10.

 And speaking of... my favorite K-cup so far is definitely these Donut Shop Coconut Mocha ones. Deliciously yummy. And even better? I used the Kohl's cash I got when buying the Keurig to score a pack of these babies and a pack of green tea for free.

I am also enjoying reading "What's It Like to be Married to Me?" By Linda Dillow. It is a really good read so far and gives a ton of food for thought. I like to read at least one marriage book every year and this one is definitely one I would recommend.

So, do you have any things/products you are loving lately?

month of {gratitude} day 18

Today I am so thankful for our church and I was reminded why in a major way today. Tonight was our church's annual Night of Thanks and Vision Dinner. Since we started attending Peine Ridge Church in January of this year it was our first chance to attend. It was so neat. We had the opportunity to hear about all that God had done in our church in 2012 which was awesome and such an encouragement. We also got to hear about what our pastors have planned for 2013 and pray together as a church.

Last year in January when we set out to find a church we were feeling desperate. We had tried several churches and the last thing we wanted to do was to be "church hoppers". But, we also knew that we wanted to attend a church that was teaching the Bible correctly... and the whole thing. We also wanted more than a place to just show up on Sunday mornings. We were looking for a church family. And that is hard to come by these days.

The first Sunday we walked into Peine Ridge it was so different from any church we had tried in our entire married lives... people came up and said "hi" to us... We got invited to join a Peine Family (small group) by everyone we chatted with, and a family invited us out to lunch after church and one of the pastors asked us to come to his home for dinner later that week. After years of never being noticed at a church, I cried when we got home. Really good tears.

But, we still had to really think and pray about it. Because although everyone was so nice, Peine Ridge was different than any church we had been to before, and we wanted to make sure we were doing the right thing. Peine Ridge believes in more simplicity and less programs... so there wasn't a long list of ways for me to get involved and do things outside of serving and joining a Peine Family and that made me a little nervous if I would be able to be connect with people. It is also a "family integrated" church which was a completely new idea to me. Families are always together at Peine Ridge. Kids are in the service, with us in small group, and well... kids are everywhere. They want church to be a place where families can be together and parents can be discipling their own children. I thought it was awesome but it was a complete change from our last church where there was childcare for everything and they made it clear that children were to not be in the service because of the distraction.

But, within a few weeks we knew that Peine Ridge was where we are supposed to be and last night only confirmed that. I could never list all of the things we love about our church. I am so thankful that we found a place to not only be a part of a community that is wonderful but we found a place where God is working and we get to be a part of that. Hearing stories last night about what God is doing through Peine Ridge not only in our own church and the people there, but in the community, in St. Louis, and even across the world in Indonesia was beyond encouraging and exciting. I am so thankful to God for bringing us to this church and for using it in our lives.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

month of {gratitude} day 17

Today I am so thankful that we had a Saturday with our whole little family under one roof and absolutely no plans. It has been nothing short of glorious! I made waffles this morning, we lounged around in our p.j.s, playing and reading books, made a quick trip to the store, and then back home for more family time. Tonight after dinner I am making us a special snack and we are going to introduce our children to one of our favorite movies! A day like this has been so good for this mama's heart! Just what I needed! Thank you, Lord!

Friday, November 16, 2012

month of {gratitude} day 16

Today I am thankful that my husband is coming home! And I am so thankful to God for getting me through this week so faithfully. I really was dreading it. But, it really wasn't too bad and the week went by super fast.

A week ago I heard a sermon on the radio about praying the Lord's prayer and asking God daily to meet our daily needs. It was such a good reminder. I think I tend to pray for patience (and I want it eternally!) or for things in the future. But, I was really inspired to start praying God to meet my daily needs that very day. So, this week while Nick was away everyday I prayed that God would meet my needs that day by giving me the kindness, patience, wisdom, and energy I needed to get through just THAT day! He delivered and I am so thankful. He is so faithful and this week has shown me how much we need to be depending on Him every single day.

P.S. I forgot to include this link in my post earlier today so I thought I would just include it here. Jamie Martin over at Simple Homeschool wrote a post about how she is using teaching her children to bake in her homeschool. In the post she talks about creating a binder for each kids with "adult skills" such as cooking, baking, cleaning, etc. and as the kiddos learn new skills it is added to their binder. I LOVE this idea so much! Check out Teaching Kids to Bake here to read the whole post!

A Friday Post

Happy Friday! The hubs returns home after being gone all week so it really IS a happy Friday around here. We sure missed him.

Last night Max and Sophie slept in bed with me. I had bribed encouraged them to be be good all week at bedtime with the promise of sleeping in mom's room as the "big reward". And believe me, they were so excited! Man, I will miss the days when sleeping in bed with mom is no longer a really exciting thing.

Can you guys believe that Thanksgiving is next week? It is so early this year! My mom is having our family over and my mouth is already watering in anticipation of the food. I LOVE Thanksgiving food. I think my favorite is the sweet potatoes... or maybe the green bean casserole... maybe the mashed potatoes. I don't know! How do you decide? Because we all know the true beauty of the Thanksgiving meal is the combination of the delicious flavors.

I also wanted to pass on a few good reads this week from around the internet.

I loved this article by Dr. Peter Gray, "As Children's Freedom Has Declined, So Has Their Creativity". I feel like we are witnessing this first hand and it is such a good encouragement to turn off the TV, stop directing our children's every move and let our children play!

I shared Ruth's post, "Why I Took All of My Kids Toys Away" a few months ago because I loved it so much and it encouraged me on my own journey to simplicity in our home, especially with our kids! She has a new post called, "What I Won't Give my Kids for Christmas". I really enjoyed this follow up article and is great food for thought.

P.S. Although I loved the article I will be giving my kiddos Christmas presents. But, we will be choosing quality toys that fit with what we want our home life to look like and we have a little gift giving system we use with our kiddos that has worked really well for the past few years that I will be sharing next week!

Now, I really have been praying about whether or not to post this last link for awhile now because the subject matter is extremely controversial. I use this blog to talk about happy things and to be an encouragement more than anything else. But, I realized that it is information I really would have appreciated having years ago and so I am putting it on here just for those who want it. I have prayed a lot weather or not to post it because I am not here to start a debate. Anyway, a few years ago I had talked to my OB/GYN about using the Mirena IUD. I had been very open with him about our families beliefs and convictions and when I brought it up my doctor (who is not a Christian himself), said that based on my strong personal beliefs of life beginning at conception, he did not recommend it for me. I came across this booklet not to long ago and just wanted to share it in case anyone would benefit from reading it. You can read the whole thing here.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

month of {gratitude} day 15

Today's gratitude might sound a little silly to some people... but it isn't any less true! Today I am so thankful for resources like Pinterest and a few great food blogs that make meal planning and cooking for my family so much easier! Meal planning can be a little overwhelming for me sometimes, but online resources like these have been a huge game changer for me! 

I have worked my entire married life to attempt to overcome a bad fast food habit. There is just something so easy about grabbing quick (fairly inexpensive) food and being able to throw all of the trash away... a family with full tummies and the kitchen is still all sparkly, how do you compete with that?? 

BUT... I know that it is so terrible for my family health wise and that it really isn't as easy on the wallet as it appears at first glance. So, I have really tried to make sure we are eating at home most of the time and success in that area for me has meant that I have to have a meal plan. I think I have tried every possible method out there. But, I always come back to the old pen and paper... write out one to two weeks of meals method. It is so easy now that I can just scroll through Pinterest and pick out a handful of meals with the recipes only a click away to make a quick grocery list! 

I tell ya, me and Pinterest... love at first sight! Are there any super practical things you are grateful for today?

The "S" word

The "S" word... If you are a homeschooling mom you probably already know what I am talking about... SOCIALIZATION. It is the first question everyone asks when you admit to homeschooling your children (or planning on it) and probably, if you weren't homeschooled yourself, probably one of the first questions you asked yourself!

People are curious as to how a child who stays at home and isn't surrounded by 30+ same aged peers everyday will fit into the world after highschool graduation. In some ways it is a valid question... most of us have met one or two homeschooling families in our life that are just a touch on the kooky side. However, let's remember that despite their kookiness the children probably did grow up to be somewhat functioning members of society... And we all know a few public school wierdos as well... let's just keep it real here people...

Even though most of us have asked the big socialization  question ourselves at one time, once you begin homeschooling you start to dread the question. You dread it because probably from the first week you started homescholing you realized how ridiculous it really is. You have not locked your child up Harry Potter style in the closet under the stairs. You still go to church, family events, the grocery store, and on a really good day you yourself might spend a few minutes chatting with your own children (I kid).

And we are validated in our decisions when our kiddos walk up to another kid in the Chick-fil-a play place and ask them their name and if they want to play "horrible angry space creatures" with them. When they order their own drinks at a restaurant and tell the waitress "thank you". When you are around other children their age who go to school and realize that maybe your kids aren't complete weirdos and you aren't the worst parent in the world for avoiding the big yellow bus.

Deciding to educate your children at home can be a hard decision to make. I don't think any of us come to it lightly. And feeling constantly like we must defend ourselves to the outside world certainly doesn't do a lot for our self-confidence. So, I just wanted to take a minute today to encourage all of my fellow homeschool mamas that we are doing okay! It is okay to feel defensive sometimes and there will be days when we question if we are doing the right thing. But, isn't that true in all areas of motherhood? Be encouraged friends! People might question why we do many of the things that we do, but let that not be a determining factor in our decisions. 

When I need an extra dose of encouragement in homeschooling I love to look at Deuteronomy 6:5-9. I don't think there is a more beautiful picture of what educating your children at home can look like out there- 

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Growing Home

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

month of {gratitude} catch up day!

I am behind on my gratitude posts! Eek! I have been single mommin' it these past few days while the hubs is out of town so blogging has taken a bit of a backseat! So, I will just list a few things I am grateful for in bullet point form! 
  • wonderful friends and family who have helped out while Nick is gone
  • God meeting my daily needs by providing me with patience, gentleness, and kindness towards my children when I know I couldn't do those things on my own
  • quiet mornings with candlelight, music, and hot coffee to spend time alone with the Lord and prepare for the day ahead
  • a husband who goes to a conference but acts like he is on a mission trip and uses the opportunity to share the love of Christ with people he comes across on the streets
  • Friend2Friend this semester- today was our last meeting but I have been really grateful this semester for my kiddos teachers, my class and the people in it, and the guarantee of drinking a cup of coffee among adults every week while there are no children yelling in the background
  • God's provision for us financially over the past month when unexpected things have come up
  • a Savior who should have left me where I was but instead chose to save me and continues to pursue me and work in my life...
Psalm 40:1-3
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock 
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see sand fear 
and put their trust in the Lord.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The great price compare

Our town recently got a Sam's Club. I felt like we hit the big time! Ha! I was really excited! But, I have heard that not everything at Sam's is a good deal. So, I decided it was time to do some major price comparing. It is something I have always wanted to do so that I would know what to buy where or be able to recognize a really good deal, but it  was something I had never gotten around to.

Well, I finally got in gear and made a big list of all of the things we buy on a regular basis or always have on hand. Things like diapers and wipes, bread, peanut butter, toilet paper, etc...I took a few days and wrote it all down. Then I did the really cool thing of taking a notebook and a pen and writing down prices and product sizes as I wander through the store... Yep, I am awesome.

So far I have done Aldi and Sams (although I have a few blanks to fill in because both were trips with kids!) for groceries and Sams, Target, and Wal-Mart for diapers. I still need to do Wal-Mart for groceries. But, it has been very interesting! So far I was surprised to realize that some things that I thought would be cheaper at Aldi were cheaper at Sams and vice versa.

For diapers and wipes I am not brand picky once kiddos are a few months old. I like the Pampers Swaddlers for newborns but after that I will use whatever is cheapest. I found Sams Club was cheapest for the Swaddlers in size 1 (about $0.19 a diaper) and generic unscented wipes (.017 cents per wipe). For bigger diapers I found Parent's Choice in the big box to be cheapest at Wal-Mart ($0.18 per diaper when you buy the box with 108 diapers in it).

As I compile all of my data I am putting it in a Google doc.. here is my little screen shot as I was doing my awesome consumer math this today...
When I am done I am happy to share my little chart... although I know prices vary by region so it will probably only be helpful if you live in my neck of the woods! 

I have no doubt that if you have a smart phone there are apps for this that would make it much easier. Or there are a lot of easier ways to do this! But, I have enjoyed my little project on pen and paper the old fashioned way! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Make Your Home a Haven

Do any of you follow Courtney over at Women Living Well? I found her blog several years ago and it was one of the first Christian woman/mom blogs I started reading. It is still one of my favorites today. I love how Courtney has a such a heart for her family and home and she gives lots of practical advice for homemaking. And even more, Courtney loves the Word of God and she shares practically how to study and learn from the Bible.

All of this to say, Courtney has been doing a challenge over at her blog called, Making Your Home a Haven. She is sharing ways to make your home a peaceful and beautiful place for you and your family. I was sold on the concept immediately. Right now with three young kiddos, another one on the way, a dog, and a cat I wouldn't say "peaceful" is the first word I would use to describe our home right now!

The first week Courtney challenged us to light a candle in one of the main rooms in our house and have it burning all day. Not only does this look (and smell!) wonderful and peaceful but the candle is then used as a reminder to pray for peace in your home. I love this. I have been doing this everyday. I have my candle right in my kitchen. I blow it out if we go anywhere but as soon as we are back home I try to remember to light it again!


This week's challenge was to play soft music in your home. This is never something I have really done. However, I really want to give it a try! I found a classical Christmas station on Pandora and made breakfast this morning to instrumentals of my favorite Christmas songs.

This was huge change in the tone of my morning. I usually feel a little stressed in the morning (I am not naturally a morning person, I joke often that no one should even talk to me until I have had a cup of coffee) but this morning, honestly, I felt anything but stressed. The candle and soft music combined with the fireplace on and a yummy cup of coffee from my new Keurig started my day off right! What a huge improvement from cartoons on in the background and kiddos fighting over which show they want to watch!

It makes me wonder how often there are little things we can do to make our home a happier and more peaceful place for our families? Sometimes it takes a little more effort and thought beforehand to light candles, turn on music, etc. but what if it could turn around your entire day? I am willing to make a little extra effort!

What kinds of things do you do to make your home a little more of a haven?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sophie School!

I wrote awhile back that probably the question I got asked most often when we decided to homeschool was about what we would do with Sophie. I shared my answer here.

For the past month or so Sophie has started begging to "do homeschool" too. She has let me know she wants her own workbooks and activities. Since then I have passed her some little preschool activity books or printed off worksheets from the computer. And she has enjoyed that. But, I don't have a ton of extra time for lesson planning these days and started thinking, "why not take advantage of her interest?"

So, last week I decided to spend a little bit of money and have the planning and work done for me and I purchased All About Reading's Pre-Reading Program.
The program starts with identifying letters and then moves on to sounds. I think a lot of this will be review for her but I wanted to err on the side of too easy and ensure she has the basics down rather than rushing her to the next level. Plus, my husband lovingly reminds me every time I purchase homeschool materials that there are several more children coming up that will use whatever I buy!

I am really looking forward to seeing how Sophie enjoys this program. After reading lots of reviews and searching the options I felt that this one was probably the best fit for her.

I will update on how she likes it! One of the best things about homeschooling is being able to switch gears or start things at any time! So, if she decides she is not ready for this and we can set it aside until later or we can go through it quickly and buy the next level in a few months!

month of {gratitude} day 9, 10, & 11

Yesterday my parents watched the kiddos so the hubs and I could have some date time before he goes out of town for a conference for a week. The day did not go as planned! On the way to my parents we realized we had an almost flat tire. So, after dropping off the kiddos we headed to Wal-Mart and found out we had to have the tire replaced. So, we wandered around Wal-Mart and chatted and had a nice time anyway. As soon as they were done we were starving and wanted to have lunch so we decided to head to O'Fallon to get some lunch. When we were almost to the restaurant we realized there was a really loud noise coming from our car. We pulled over and realized our brand new tire was completely flat!! It had been punctured! So, we had to put on the spare and drive to another Wal-Mart to have the tire replaced. Of course since it was a puncture and not their fault we had to pay for a second BRAND NEW TIRE! Two new tires... for the same spot! And then this Wal-Mart was busy and understaffed so it took a looooong time to get the new tire.

I am not going to lie... I was cranky! This was NOT how I intended to spend my relaxing date day with my husband. But, Nick kept a good attitude and tried to make our Wal-Mart time fun. He is just amazing. He also reminded me that because of some other circumstances recently we had the money easily to replace the tires when normally that would be a big strain on our budget!

We ended our date with a quick lunch (at almost 3 o'clock) before we had to go pick up the kids... But, oh my goodness, I am so thankful for my amazing husband. He makes the worst circumstances fun and has such a great attitude. So today, I am so thankful for him!

I wrote a little about our marriage a few weeks back but today I must just share how grateful I am for my husband!

My husband is an amazing father and husband. And one of the things I love most about him is his heart towards being a husband and father. He really struggled (and he will be the first to admit it) in his role as a husband and father at first. I think he just didn't really know what it looked like practically to be a loving and Godly husband and father. But, one of the things I love most about my husband is that he has always been so willing to learn and to try. He read books, asked questions, watched other families, and has just thrown himself into being an amazing dad and husband. I feel like God has worked in huge ways in my husband's life and he is a different man today than the one I married (and I really liked him when we got married! But, he is even more awesome today).

My husband loves our family so much. He loves each of us sacrificially and gives so much to us. He works hard at his job to provide for us and is always thinking about our future and our family when it comes to his job. I love his dedication to raising up Godly children for the Lord. He encourages me so much in homeschooling and is great at thinking long range for our family when I can only see the short term. After a long day at work he comes home and gives our family 110% until his head hits the pillow. He encourages me to take time away when I need a break and never makes me feel guilty for not getting everything done around the house... but instead is always asking what he can do to help.

God truly blessed me when he gave me Nick as my husband. I am thankful everyday for him. But, today, I can't help but feel overwhelmed.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fieldtrippin' Homeschool Style

Yesterday we got to go on a fun field trip with our homeschool group to the Daniel Boone Homestead in Definance, MO. I, being the great mom that I am, forgot my camera. So, my sweet friend Crystal was nice enough to share a few pics with me. The kiddos had a great time. I was a little nervous because the field trip was right during Jack's nap time... but overall he did great!

The kids got to make candles, play some frontier games that the kiddos used to play, learn about woodworking (and try out the saw!), and learn about gun powder. So thankful for a fun day of learning with fun homeschool friends!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

month of {gratitude} day 8

I am so thankful for the friends that God has put in my life during this season. I am so blessed to have so many like minded women who I get to share life with. Friendships can be hard as an adult but God has really been gracious to me in this area. I am especially thankful right now for some fellow homeschooling mamas who help me feel a little less crazy... and are willing to drink lots of cups of coffee and pour over the scriptures with me in order for us all to stay sane!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

month of {gratitude} day 7

I have to say it, last night was very disappointing. I was really hoping that Romney would win the election. Like really. But, today, I wake up still {grateful}. Not necessarily for our government... but for the one who holds it in the palm of His hand. Things might not go the way I want them to in the next four years (or ever) and our country could face some serious problems. But, my hope wasn't in our country and government before and it isn't now. My hope is in Jesus. Everything of this world will fade away, weather it is good or bad. At the end of it all I know that I will still spend a glorious eternity with Christ which was not affected one iota by last night's election.

When I think about the Bible, I think of all that was done under unjust and unfair governments and recognize that God works through bad governments. He always has and he will continue to. We can still sleep at night knowing that God is sovereign over all things and he will not leave or forsake those who love Him and put their hope in Him. He is our King and our Priest and he is the only one that is good.

Our mission as Christians has not changed and for that I am also grateful. And my prayer for all of us who follow Christ today is from 1 Timothy:

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2 ESV

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 2012

We just got back from a fun family morning. The hubs decided to make voting a family affair (um, can we say, awesome homeschool dad?).

It started off with breakfast of course. We tried a place in Wentzville we hadn't tried before, The Sunny Street Cafe. I give it 2 huge thumbs up! I had this amazing french toast with a crispy topping (made up of brown sugar, coconut, and granola... a heavenly trifecta if I have ever tasted one). And the kiddos got to have dinosaur pancakes. Nick had the most amazing pumpkin pancakes... um yeah... we will be repeat customers for sure!

Then we headed off to vote. It was fun talking to the kiddos about voting and what it means and we compared it to all of the bad kings we read about in the Bible, but those people had no choice who their leader was. The kiddos thought it was pretty cool. Max said he still thinks he would rather be a super hero when he grows up than president. Good call, buddy!

It was a super fun family morning that I am so thankful to have! I will be praying for our nation all day and will no doubt be up late watching the results. If you haven't yet, please get out and vote today! And remember and pray for those who have fought and are still fighting for your right to do so.

Also, this short little video by David Platt is a great little listen and reminder before you hit the polls.

Platt on Voting as Citizens of Two Countries from David Platt on Vimeo.

month of {gratitude} day 6

I know I say this a lot but I am so thankful to be a stay at home mom. I am thankful to have a husband who is so supportive of me staying home and dedicating all of my energy to bringing up our crew. I love that I get to be the one to witness all of their "firsts" (which is especially cool to see now that we are homeschooling". I love that when my kiddos are having an "off" day they can take their nap when they need to or cuddle up with mom all day. We have so much flexibility. And I love that I can take care of our home and daily household stuff  and Nick is able to focus on his job. And I get to hang out with awesome people all day everyday...

Monday, November 5, 2012

What's in the Bible?

Have you all seen any of the What's in the Bible DVD's? We love them in our house! They are made by Phil Vischer (Veggie Tales, anyone?) They are funny for the kiddos and the adults and our kids have learned a ton about the Bible while watching them (yep, we now talk about apostasy at the breakfast table at out house!)
DVDs 1-9
As of right now there are 9 DVDs with more coming out. (They even have a Christmas DVD!)

 I decided to start using them this week in our homeschool. The What's in the Bible website has a parent's section with a study guide (only for DVD 1 so far), flash cards, coloring sheets, crafts, etc...

Each DVD has two parts so each week we will watch one part of a DVD and then do any corresponding worksheets or crafts. I will also be watching along and taking a few notes so that I have some Bible trivia questions to ask the kiddos! I am excited and I know the kiddos will love it too. Win win.

On an unrelated note. I found a few good reads online this weekend I thought I would pass along...

How My Child Went from Homeschool to Harvard and Yours Can Too is a super interesting editorial written by a homeschool dad. While I don't homeschool my children so that they can be genius athletes who attend ivy league schools I still found a lot of his insights to be valid and interesting. He really hits the nail on the head when he points out that it is PARENTS not the government who are responsible for raising and educating our children.

How to Raise Brothers that Remain Friends be Jessica Bowman over at the MOB Society is a great read and really touched my heart as one of my highest priorities as a mom is cultivating relationships between my children (and that IS one of the main reasons we homeschool).

Also, if you didn't know, my baby sister has a blog! Go visit her here.

AND, if you head over to Beth Moore's blog today you can leave a scripture based prayer in the comments section for the election tomorrow and whoever is selected as President. Then tomorrow all of these prayers will be available in the comments section of the post and we can all be praying throughout the day for our nation.

And Happy Monday Everyone! also linking up at Women Living Well!