Saturday, April 23, 2011

One Thousand Gifts for Sat, April 23rd, 2011

Gratitude this week ...

#101: encouraging words from my hubby
#102: Starbuck's - a never fail little pick me up
#103: new discoveries on the Internet
#104: mornings - they always remind me that there's new mercies, new starts to be had
#105: an avid reader in a daughter
#106: a super family picture to enjoy for years to come
#107: Easter
#108: Reese's eggs (YUM-O!)
#109: preparing for vacation
#110: safe travels for all family returning home

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One Thousand Gifts for Sat, April 16th

This past Saturday, our area experienced 25 separate tornadoes. Our neighborhood was just out of the main line of destruction. Around us is severe damage and loss. There truly is much to be thankful for!

#101: Our family is safe
#102: We have power restored finally!
#103: Seeing friends jump in to serve in the aftermath
#104: There wasn't greater loss of life
#105: Family that was traveling to be with us was safe
#106: Beautiful, cool weather while the power was out
#107: Sunny, dry days for the clean up
#108: Tree shredders
#109: Fast roof repair companies
#110: Grace in the midst of hardship and loss. Easter week is especially meaningful in light of the fallenness around.

Read about the original One Thousand Gifts list from Ann Voskamp HERE.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Homeschool Styles and our pick, Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason (1842-1923)

There are quite a few styles of homeschooling. I never knew there were so many until we actually started schooling. Here is a great quick link to give you an idea on the Styles of Homeschooling .

We follow the Charlotte Mason style of schooling in our house. Click HERE to learn more about Charlotte Mason, the teacher and writer.

Now, let me start write off by telling you that we haven't gotten this all down. We are still very early in our schooling journey and are trying to work out the day to day.

How did we pick CM?

When I read about the different styles of homeschooling and I read about Charlotte Mason I instantly "clicked" with it. I agreed with almost every facet completely. You will find one that fits you as well. It perfectly combines our reasons for homeschooling, along with my gifting and experience as a teacher. I know of families that "unschool" and that is perfectly right for them. Another family we know is using a more traditional approach. Each family has to find their way of doing school that works for them.

Some unique parts of the Charlotte Mason style that we focus on?

** Living Books: CM heavily prioritizes reading first hand books, even to young children, that make learning come alive. Biographies, First hand accounts, rich artwork.

** Character and Habit Training:  I feel that this might be one of the most important parts of what we do at home.

** Nature Study: CM celebrates and honors God through learning about His creation first hand.

** Fine Arts: CM encourages regular study of artists, composers, poets, etc.

** Narration: Challenging our children to be able to remember and express their thoughts on what they learn will help them so much in life.

Why is style important to know?
Because at the end of each year, it helps to know what you are shooting for. It helps to remind yourself at the start of the year what kind of school you want to have. It helps you to find resources in line with what you have already decided is important.

Some my favorite CM websites:
Simply Charlotte Mason : Sonya Schafer, head of Simply Charlotte Mason, is usually at the NCHE Conference. Don't miss their talks, even if you don't CM.

Ambleside Online has so many resources, from a full curriculum to pages on artists, composers, poetry, etc.

Handbook of Nature Study Blog

Karen Andreola's Blog: Karen is one of the foremost CM writers.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

WFMW: Plan your Funeral

In memory of Juanita Arnold Albertson VanGorken Winegar

The commercial says "Life comes at you fast!"

It does!

My mother and I talked in the car after my grandmother's recent funeral and she said,"When it comes to my funeral, just do whatever comforts you. I'll be gone!"

When my mother dies, I will feel profound grief and loss. There will be many details of funerals, arrangements, wills, etc. I gently encouraged my mother to go ahead ... now and write down the details of her funeral service. What a great blessing this will be when I can just pull out her notes and pass them on to the funeral home and church staff. That will be one detail taken care of.

Some of you may be thinking, as I do, sometimes, that I have plenty of time ahead for that. As David reminds us, we don't know how long we have and there are many who die unexpectedly.

Psalm 39
4 “Show me, LORD, my life’s end
   and the number of my days;
   let me know how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
   the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
   even those who seem secure.[b]

Even those of us who are younger would do well to jot down a few notes and bless our loved ones with some thought on their behalf. Even if you just take a few minutes to jot down your wishes and email them to a few family members or close friends, you will have helped.

Here are some great links to help you get started:

Funeral Planning Checklist

This Wall Street Journal article helps outline the important documents you need to have in order ... TODAY. (A Living Well, Healthcare Proxy, and Health-Care Power of Attorney).

This Mayo Clinic page guides you through those documents and why you need them. Very helpful!

Neptune Society : Helps provide reasonable cremation services around the country.

And if you want to get an interesting picture of the problem around the world, here is an article from USAToday about the burial crowding issue in China.

Bless your family today with thinking ahead!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Saving water is really Do-able!

We've been trying to be water conscious in our house this Spring!

Back in February, I let you know that our water consumption was at 206.3 avg gallons/day.

Well, I'm thrilled to let you know that we have made a considerable dent!

In March, we lowered it to 187 avg gallons/day. Great progress!

In April ...

We have gotten it down 154.8 avg gallons/day.

That's a reduction of about 25%!

And guess what? We've actually lowered our bill even more than that because water usage, at least in our area, is on a tiered basis! The less you use, the lower your rate!

It feels great to know that little changes on our part are helping not only our family, but the world around us as well.

What did we do differently? Here are five simple things that we have started doing ...

#1: We just thought about it. We tried to be aware of water and using it.

#2: Stop the running water. Running water is the greatest waste of water, in my opinion. I've tried to not let the water run. At all. I fill a pot, then wash it. Then rinse it. I don't let the water run.

#3: Fill up the laundry loads. We don't run small loads anymore.

#4: If you know that you're going to have a lot of dishes, fill up the sink partially and rinse with the same dirty water before you put it in the dishwasher. It saves rinsing each individual item.

#5: Soaking. Let dishes soak before you scrub them to save water. You would be amazed at what will come off easily if it just has a little time to sit and soak.

The challenge ahead is the summer - when we take more baths and have a yard to tend, but I know we can do it!!

What are you ready to try?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Mom Sites

Here are some great sites for your Monday to help you Moms out there!

Meal Planning
Check out e-mealz. For $5/month you can get your meal and grocery list planned out for you. Lots of options (gluten-free, low-fat, etc.) and you can pick your family size even!

Food Inspiration
You can always get some great recipes from Giada (de Laurentiis). Flavorful, usually healthy, and hearty all around.

A Little Pick-Me-Up
The ladies over at (in) courage always have an uplifting word. It's a collection of great writers all together in one place encouraging all of us.

Great Outdoors
If you're a homeschooler and are looking to get out and enjoy some of this finer weather we are starting to have, look at the Handbook of Nature Study Blog.

Just for Fun
Ok, sometimes you just need a good laugh to lighten up the day! Check out cakewrecks and feel better!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

One Thousand Gifts for Sat, April 9th, 2011

Dear one on his first day of life ... 5 years ago today!

Ten things that I'm thankful for in my little man (for his 5th birthday)

#91: His beautiful long eyelashes
#92: Learning from him the preciousness of a great stick
#93: Great love from one little guy for his big sister and little brother
#94: The flash of his smile
#95: Sweet cuddles while reading books together
#96: A little voice singing. What sweetness.
#97: A healthy little guy, after starting out so sick his first few years
#98: He devours fruit and healthy food
#99: Sweet gentle kisses at bedtime for all  
#100: Getting to watch him grow up!

Read about the original One Thousand Gifts list from Ann Voskamp HERE.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Crazy Love: Profile of the Obsessed

Challenging quotes from Francis Chan in Crazy Love ....

People who are obsessed with Jesus give freely and openly without censure. Obsessed people love those who hate them and who can never love them back. (p. 132)

People who are obsessed with Jesus aren't consumed with their personal safety and comfort above all else. Obsessed people care more about God's kingdom coming to this earth than their own lives being shielded from pain and distress. (p. 133)

People who are obsessed with Jesus live lives that connect them with the poor in some way or another. Obsessed people believe that Jesus talked about money and the poor so often because it was really important to Him (I John 2:4-6; Matt. 16:24-26) (p. 135)

Obsessed people are more concerned with obeying God than doing what is expected or fulfilling the status quo. A person who is obsessed with Jesus will do things that don't always make sense in terms of success or wealth on this earth. As Martin Luther put it, "There are two days on my calendar: this day and that day" (Luke 14:25-35; Matt. 7:13-23; 8:18-22; Rev 3:1-6) (p. 136-1637)

A person who is obsessed with Jesus knows that the sin of pride is always a battle. Obsessed people know that you can never be "humble enough," and so they seek to make themselves less known and Christ more known (Matt. 5:16) (p. 138)

People who are obsessed with Jesus do not consider service a burden. Obsessed people take joy in loving God by loving His people (Matt. 13:44; John 15:8). (p. 139)

People who are obsessed with God are known as givers, not takers. Obsessed people genuinely think that others matter as much as they do, and they are particularly aware of those who are poor around the world (John 2:14-26). (p. 140-141)

A person who is obsessed thinks about heaven frequently. Obsessed people orient their lives around eternity; they are not fixed only on what is here in front of them. (p.142)

A person who is obsessed is characterized by committed, settled, passionate love for God, above and before every other thing and every other being. (p.143)

People who are obsessed are raw with God; they do not attempt to mask the ugliness of their sins or their failures. Obsessed people don't put it on for God; He is their safe place , where they can be at peace. (p.144)

People who are obsessed with God have an intimate relationship with Him. They are nourished by God's Word throughout the day because they know that forty minutes on Sunday is not enough to sustain them for the whole week, especially when they will encounter so many distractions and alternative messages. (p.145)

A person who is obsessed with Jesus is more concerned with his or her character than comfort. Obsessed people know that true joy doesn't  depend on circumstances or environment; it is a gift that must be chosen and cultivated, a gift that ultimately comes from God (James 1:2-4). (p. 146)

A person who is obsessed with Jesus knows that the best thing he can do is to be faithful to his Savior in every aspect of his life, continually saying "Thank you!" to God. An obsessed person knows there can never be intimacy if he is always trying to pay God back or work hard enough to be worthy. He revels in his role as child and friend of God. (p.147-148)

Visit Francis Chan's website HERE.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

One Thousand Gifts for Sat, April 2nd, 2011

#81: Adventures and plans through the unexpected
#82: A husband who enjoys detours
#83: Droid phones (They come in darn handy when you're in need!)
#84: The Greensboro Children's Museum
#85: Umbrella friends
#86: Learning from Moms who are ministering through cooking (Mom on a Mission)
#87: Extra hands from friends
#88: Grace to start again, each day
#89: New Sonlight catalogs
#90: The hope of a new week - time with friends, warmer weather, preparing for a little man's bday

Read about the original One Thousand Gifts list from Ann Voskamp HERE.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Free Water Summer Science Kit

In keeping with encouraging learning and conservation ....

PUR is giving away Safe Water Science Kits to help you teach how water is cleaned and purified for drinking in developing countries and disaster relief situations.

Each Summer Activity Kit contains:
  • PUR™ Purifier of Water packet
  • dirt/contaminant
  • stirring spoon
  • 2 liquid containers
You’ll also be able to download all the lessonss you’ll need to complete your research from the site.
Each Safe Water Science Lesson:
  • Addresses scientific and societal issues related to global safe drinking water problems
  • Teaches a method used to solve these problems
  • Helps students develop an awareness of safe drinking water issues in our world today
  • Addresses National Science Standards
  • Contains hands-on activities, cooperative-learning experiences, multi-media resources, and research opportunities
  • Uses inexpensive, everyday materials
  • Explores social action extensions, allowing students to apply the science they learn to the world in which they live

Thanks to Saving Dollars and Sense for this link!

Frugal Friday: PFTPL Pantry Challenge

This week, for Project Simplify, we've been working on our fridge, pantry, and freezer.

By about Tuesday, though, I realized that what I needed was not a new organization ....


Do you know that we have 6 boxes of cereal in our pantry. Six!

Most of us Moms have noticed the price of groceries these days.

How much money is sitting in my pantry and fridge?

Paid for.


So, in an effort to save money, AND clean out our stockpiles .... We're going to start living out of the pantry and fridge. Let's see how many days we can do it! We might be having cereal for dinner, but are we going hungry? NOPE!

If you dare .... join me ....

The 1st Annual PFTPL Pantry Challenge

The details:
** Leave a comment on this post letting me that you are participating
** Live on less than $20 in groceries per week (think milk, bread, etc)
** Use your $20 to buy staples and items that you might need to finish off another food
** If you do not spend all of your $20 each week, then you can roll the change to the following week.
** Fresh fruits and vegetables are excluded. Eat all of those you want!
** Check in on Fridays and comment on the post that I will make for those participating.

The prize:
** The person who can go the longest eating out of their pantry/fridge will get a $5 Starbuck's gift certificate sent/delivered to you.

Good luck!