Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Amazing Deal!



If you've been wanting a subscription to The Old Schoolhouse magazine and just haven't done it yet, NOW IS THE TIME!!!!! I got my first ever subscription through this deal (yes, I'm on the Crew, and am just now getting a sub...flagellate me with a wet noodle if you will :) )

From The Old Schoolhouse:



1776 was a spectacular year, and it's a smashing, save-more-money price! Grab your subscription to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine during their four-day Fourth of July sale, and check out the craziest price on July 1 only! Receive a 2-year subscription, free Homeschooling with Heart tote bag, and five FREE E-Books for just $17.76! While supplies last. U.S. and Canadian residents. July 2 through July 4 the unprecedented savings continue. The sparks are flying at TOS Magazine . . . join in the celebration and savings! Get the details here.

Disclaimer, I am a member of the TOS Crew, however, I am and will not be compensated any way for people going through the link I have posted.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Booksneeze Book Review 6.28.2010

Patch of Heaven Book CoverNo matter what our theological beliefs may be, we are all asked to submit to the will of the Lord and to trust Him with out lives. Such is the case with Sarah in the book Sarah's Garden by Kelly Long.

Sarah is an Amish girl who must learn to lean upon her Creator to sustain her throughout all of life's troubles. Her older sister had married so it came upon her to run the family produce stand, despite her shyness. She has to learn to trust God to protect her in situations she never dreamed she would be exposed to from people asking some of the rudest questions, a man trying to force his attentions on her, her father's sudden illness and even with the coming of the new Englisch veterinarian to the farm next door. Can Sarah learn to trust God without getting her heart torn in the process?

This book was well written. It used a different dialect than most other of the Amish stories that are so popular right now, one that I wasn't familiar with. At first, I was put off with the cover. The picture of the Amish girl with her bun showing from the back of her kapp, the perfectly groomed eyebrows and what appeared to be cosmetic blush on her cheeks really put me off. I have been in at least five different Amish settlements (in different states) and none of the ladies there showed any of their hair, wore any form of makeup, nor had perfectly groomed eyebrows. Overlooking the cover art, I was able to enjoy reading the book. The plot line moved at a very good pace and it was hard to put down. I do wish that the characters had been developed more. I wasn't able to form an emotional attachment or any kind of feeling towards any of them really. When I read a work of fiction, I want to feel what the characters feel, see what they see and understand what makes them tick. I wasn't able to with this book.

This book was a good read and it did have a great theme of learning to trust, even with things don't go the way we picture. However, if you are looking for more of an emotional attachment to the characters, then I don't suggest it.

I was given this book from Thomas Nelson as a part of their BookSneeze program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions within this review are mine and mine alone.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Trust

What is the hardest thing that God asks you to do? Is it to obey? Seek Him? Trust?

For me, the answer is normally trust. I have a very hard time trusting that things are under His control. I am a planner by nature. I like to have things happen when I think they should and in the manner that I think they should. However, my ideas aren't normally the same as God's.

For instance, Hubbs and I got married nearly five years ago now. Within one month of getting married, we were blessed with a pregnancy. No where was it in our plans to even consider getting pregnant that first year of honeymoon bliss. We were just coming to grips and being accepting of this coming addition to our family when we miscarried him. We don't know why, but God sustained us through that hard time and brought us out on the other side more committed to each other and to Him. Three months after losing our first child, we find that we are pregnant again. No way was it a good time for us. We were living in one of the worst apartment complexes in town, Hubbs was working part-time at a big box store and going to school full time. I was working full time at a day care here in town. We didn't have much money at all and with out work schedules not matching up and his school and home work on top of it, we didn't see each other much. Within two months of discovering this coming blessing, Hubbs went full-time to the service desk at work and got a small raise. We also had finished out the lease on the aparment and were able to move to a duplex in a better area of town. Bugs was born nearly 15 months after our wedding day. And she has been such a joy (for the most part, the twos were trying, and the threes were worse, but the closer she gets to being four, the better it has been getting). When the Bugs was four months old, Hubbs was offered a part-time position at our church as the associate pastor (he was still going to school at that point), which really helped out financially for us.

Well, we were adjusting to life with the Bugs. I was able to quit my job at the day care (thankfully, believe me, after I got pregant, there was no way I wanted my child in that environment) and things were still tight, but the bills were paid and we had food to eat. When the Bugs was eight months old, much to our utter shock and surprise, we find that we are expecting another blessing. By then, our old car was undriveable. We were living in a different duplex that had hardly any insulation, and the owner refused to believe us that the air conditioning wasn't working. When I was four months pregnant with the little one who became the Beans, Hubbs was asked to interview for store that was coming to town to be over the service desk. He figured, why not give it a try and the day of the hiring fair was offered the job. It garnered a two dollar an hour raise, and much, much, much better insurance. Bugs was born in February and is totally different than her big sister.

Since then, we bought a house (let's just say that was a learning experience in and of itself, one we wish we could unlearn), then after being assured his job at the church was secure, Hubbs was let go. It was a bad situation. We figured that we could live on the income from his retail job (basically a managerial position but at an entry level, hourly wage) for maybe three months max. It has been nearly two years. We have sought other employment where ever there was an opening that looked interesting, and so far, the right doors haven't been opened for us. And yet, we have had enough. Just enough. We have always had food, even though at times I wondered if I would be able to get groceries that week, the bills have always been paid. There is literally no wiggle room in our budget, and yet, we are surviving on it.

And through all these hard times, the lesson that we have learned is to trust God. He will supply ALL your needs. Sometimes in ways that you would have never expected. We sold the old white car rather unexpectedly. We had a better than expected tax return the last two years which have helped immensly with paying off the medical bill from the Bug's birth and helping with a few other things. We have been provided for including homeschooling curriculum. My wonderful Mother-in-law bought me the curriculum I wanted for the Bugs for her first official year of homeschooling. Then, I was accepted as a part of The Old Schoolhouse Crew where I will be getting homeschooling things to review. It has been amazing. As my husband reminds me, God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, He will spare us a little milk. And He has.

God has proven Himself to be trustworthy time and time again in our lives. I don't know why I still sometimes struggle with trusting Him for the best in all aspects of our lives. But I do. Let's work on remembering that our God is a God who can be trusted, and let's stop listening to the doubts, shall we?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Unexpected Noticings

I love homeschooling. More than loving homeschooling, I love the way it has opened my eyes to be on the constant look out for a lesson in everyday life. The past two days have been terrific.

Last night we were all outside playing with the wading pools and hose. Under the outside faucet leaks a little bit and when Hubbs went to shut it off, he found a fairly good sized toad basking in the cool spray. We caught it and looked at it for a little bit and the girls thought that was the absolute coolest thing ever. They noticed how his skin was bumpy and rough and how God chose to color him so he would blend in with the grass to protect him from danger. After looking our fill, we put him back down and he let us watch him awhile longer before he started to hop off, presumably back to his home. It was so funny, Bugs would start to follow him and it seemed like he would wait for her to catch up a bit before going a bit farther himself. Riotous laughter ensued.

This morning, my husband was putting down a barrier of insecticide in the back yard (you wouldn't believe how bad the ants, fleas and other insects have been this year, it was a last attempt as I hate using chemicals anywhere near where the kids would be playing). He was using the lawn spreader and came across a box turtle out under the swing set. So, for the next few days, we have "Girly" living in my ten gallon aquarium on the dining room table. We went to the library and got a few books on turtles and fed it some salad and a strawberry. Bugs and Beans love sneaking over to peek inside to see if she has come out of her shell and has eaten anything or moved around. I don't intend to keep her more than a couple of days. We have never found a turtle in our yard before (there is an overgrown lot behind us, which is where we think it came from) and the girls have never been up close to one either (don't worry, rigid hygiene is being employed). I was wanting to use that tank for bull frog tadpoles so I know this isn't a permanent addition to the family (I hope...). The girls are learning about turtles first hand and are loving it.

We did also see a very small baby bunny last night. Bunnies come through our yard quite often. They are so cute and the girls love to watch them hippty-hop. That may be our next thing to study this summer.

I love how homeschooling has changed the way I think. I look for things to show the kids everywhere. I try and think up ways to make learning fun and incorporate the most I can into a small lesson. I have been more observant. I think that is what I appreciate the most. I see more. I notice more in nature that all testifies to the splendor of God, I notice people more now too. How they carry themselves, what they do. It speaks volumes. Noticing the little things is priceless. I am so glad we were open to this option for our lives. We as parents have learned so much more and have started to notice more already. If just this short period of homeschooling has changed us this much already, I can't wait to see what we will be like later into this. I'm so excited that the girls get to learn this first hand and will hopefully grow up noticing.

Even if you don't or can't choose to homeschool, please try to notice more. Cultivate keeping your eyes open. It is amazing what you will see that you will have otherwise missed.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A First for Mommy

This was supposed to have posted last evening, but due to some "technical issues" it wouldn't so I'm going to do it now.

Tonight I had a first as a mom. I left my kids. No, not for good, and in fact, I get to go and pick them up soon, but tonight was the first night of VBS. Both of the munchkins got to go, and for the first time in a long time, I'm not involved in anyway except that as of parent. Don't get me wrong, I have been separated from my wonderful kiddos before. I have left them overnight even, with my MIL last year for my and Hubbs' 4 year anniversary camping trip (yeah, we went camping for our anniversary, don't ask.) I have a friend who takes them for me periodically as a thank you for watching her kids. They do go to Bible hour during the sermon at church, their own Sunday School classes and Wednesday night classes. However, I am in the same vicinity as them. My husband has taken them out to give me some alone time, but that doesn't happen very often (frankly, at times not often enough if it is one of those weeks...)

This time, they were dropped off. My husband actually forced me out the door with him. A few of our wonderful elders were in the foyer and they said shoo, go and enjoy some time away.

It isn't like I'm not going to enjoy my time away, however, it was strange just leaving them like that in a large group. Bugs, I'm sure, is having a blast. Beans, I'm not too sure about. She doesn't like new things like that too well.

But, this is good. For all of us. They don't have to be attached to me all the time, and frankly, not having them here is nice. My house isn't quiet very often. Everytime I'm on the computer and they are awake, something always happens, it seems. Hubbs and I are planning on enjoying the rest of the week of this (only until Wednesday night). It is rare when we are without kids. However, tonight he is fixing a computer for some friends. Without the girls' help. Beans has to learn to adapt in different situations. Bugs, well, she came out and thought the world was her stage, so I'm sure she is going to be fine (I'm praying that she isn't being too dramatic, or trying to get in every picture they are taking of VBS....)A

Friday, June 11, 2010

Company Coffee 6.11.2010

Figured I should write for a Company Coffee. Haven't in a long while. I had to go out of town and then getting back into the routines of life have been more of a challenge than I thought.

This week was interesting. The girls decided that this past week and a half was the week to exercise their independence, use those vocal cords and throw tantrums. Bugs has perfected the art of the attention seeking tantrum. She has spent a lot of time in her room to calm down this week. She has a lot of perseverance. Beans has been quite the two-year-old. I mean quite. She has also taken to stripping whenever the whim strikes. Not a good thing as I have been babysitting eight and six year old boys for most of this week.

Monday night after Judo, Hubbs came home and washed and dried his gui. Well, on the gui's way to the dryer, he knocked a box of fabric softener sheets into the washing machine. Tuesday, I go to do laundry, don't think to check inside of it and drop my load of darks right in and start it. I had no clue what was going on inside the washer until after the cycle ended and I opened it up to see bits of brown cardboard shredded all over my clothes. At first, I think, hhmm, wonder what was in a pocket. I get some out and into the dryer and start finding washed dryer sheets. Now, I don't normally use fabric softener as a general rule due to all the chemicals in it, but I do have a few boxes of dryer sheets for the occasional need for extra scent on my bed sheets. Well, the laundry smelled wonderul when it came out of the wash. Thankfully it didn't stain. You wouldn't believe the lint trap on my dryer after the load was done. Wow, it was full of cardboard pieces, and extra lint for some reason. Tuesday night Hubbs went right after work to Parsons to see O-Sensei Porter do a demonstration. He got home right before midnight. It was a long day as that was the absolute worst day with the girls. He had a great time. The chance to go was his early Father's Day present.

The trip that I went on that threw me sooooooo far off schedule was a trip to watch my sister graduate from Mortuary school and then she and my mom took the girls and I up to Pennsylvania to see my Grandma who is in hospice. It was so nice to see Grandma for more than likely the last time. We have no idea how much longer she has with us, and I am grateful that I got to see her one last time. I'm also grateful that she isn't dying of Alzhiemers disease or anything else that robs the mind. I will be the first to admit that watching her suffer from this cancer is hard, knowing that as the pain increases, so will her medications, which will affect her mind, but I'm glad she is still with us in mind, can carry on conversations and knows us still. I have seen people die with Alzhiemer's and that is a hard load to bear for the caregivers. I can not imagine.

We are in to tornado season here. A week ago this last Wednesday the family spent quality time in the interior closet of our house. Thankfully the girls were asleep and slept through being moved from their beds to the floor in the closet, then back again. I even changed Bean's diaper during this and she never flinched. I'm sure that won't be our only chance for bonding time in the closet this year. As it is, the weather today is feeling very odd. I should go check a radar.

I'm working on putting on a garage sale next week. I have a ton of stuff to get rid of. If you live in the area, feel free to stop by. I'm getting rid of quite a bit of baby girl clothes, baby toys, books, and whatever else we happen to decide to get rid of. I also have a friend with boys who is joining me for the sale, and she has tons of boy stuff.

Well, I have a chicken in the crock pot for tonight. I'm looking forward to it. It is too hot to run the oven this time of year, so I use the crock pot a lot. All I did was rinse the chicken well, then sprinkled on some salt, basil, bay leaves, oregano and Cavender's All Greek Seasoning (love that stuff). I like to add rosemary too, but we are currently out. I'm thinking of serving rice and asparagus with it.

They resurfaced our road yesterday. It reminded me of that scene in the movie Cars where Lightening McQueen is hooked up to Ol'Bessie. Then after he was done and they all cruised on it. I wanted to go cruising on it and playing oldies, but I was babysitting and not everyone would fit into our little Ford Focus. Think I may have to go watch that movie again.

Well, that is pretty much it. Kids are squealing again, so I should go and check on them.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Just a quick catch up

I just realize I broke the 50 post mark with my last posting, which was a book review. Wow. I've rambled about a lot of nothing recently, haven't I?

This past week (well, let's say like seven days) has been torture with the kids. They have been so unruly. A week ago this past Sunday I had to take them to the car as they were so naughty during church. I just strapped them into their car seats and let the eldest throw the temper tantrum she started. No one else needed to be exposed to it. I sat in the car and read the comics on my phone. She settled down enough to rejoin society at the end of services.

Beans has been acting like a two-year-old. Can we say fun. And the Bugs, well, she's been pushing boundaries and trying to see just how much she can get away with and doing the attention seeking thing. It has been tough being a stay-at-home mom with no car for diversions.

Today has been horrible too. The weather is going nuts so it also is affecting behavior. Trust me, I used to teach school, kids go insane when the weather changes, it isn't just an old wive's tale. We did make it to the store to get tv dinners for tonight. I spent the day doing dishes and Hubbs is out of town for a judo clinic with the only 10th degree black belt in this hemisphere. He left right after work today with others from the Dojo and will be back tonight, probably after midnight. Then he has to get up and go to work tomorrow and I'm babysitting starting at five thrity in the morning for the next three days. I don't know why I do this to myself except that it is for a good friend and we could use the cash.

It is supposed to storm here tonight. Fun stuff. I'm home alone with the girls and we are supposed to be getting strong winds and possible hail. Pray for me that I survive with my sanity intact please.

Grandma is hanging in there. I don't know how much longer we've got with her. I sent her a letter on Saturday telling her how much I enjoyed getting to visit her and Grandaddy every summer and sharing some of my most favorite memories and how I enjoyed the trips they took my sister and me on. In fact, the two trips they took us on were to places that I wanted to go to more than anything. Gettysburg and Amish country in Ohio. It was a blast. I might have to write about those trips from so long ago. Good grief, half a life time now.....man, I'm old.

Well, I've got to get going. Talk to you later. Sorry I'm so boring recently.

Book Review for Book Sneeze 6.7.2010

I just finished reading Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James. I requested this book as I was in need of some predictable brain candy, and I got my wish.

Lilly is living a double life. One of dutiful daughter and secret author of dime novels in 1899. She had been jilted six years previously and had finally learned to move on in her life. This is a story about learning to trust God and not settling for what appears to be good when it isn't the best. Will Lilly marry the man who everyone says would be a good proper match? Will she keep her writing career secret from those she loves?

While Lilly's character was fairly well developed, I wished that some of the secondary characters were better developed for the roles they played in the story, especially towards the end. This book is pretty predictable, but I was surprised by one happening towards the end. While I wouldn't rank this as one of my favorite or best books ever, it was still an enjoyable read.

I was given a copy of this book by Thomas Nelson Publishing as part of their BookSneeze program for bloggers in exchange for an honest review of the book on my blog and that of a consumer website. I was not compensated any other way than the copy of the book, and all opinions are mine and mine alone.