Pages That Might or Might Not Be of Interest to You!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blog Walk Week 7

So, being on a missions trip I didn't get my Blog Walk for The Crew posted last week.  Here it is and I will be spending the weekend cruising these blogs before the next one comes out!

1. Closing Time
2. One Blessed Mamma
3. El Cloud Homeschool: Busy Minds, Busy Hands, Busy Feet
4. Alive in Spirit
5. Ozark Rumblings
6. Army of 5
7. Fenced In Family
8. Debbie's Digest
9. Footprints in the Butter
10. Got Chai?

Have fun and don't forget to comment!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday's Fave Five

This week my Fave Five are all about Royal Family Kids Camp.  I spent the week volunteering at a camp for Foster Kids.  It is grueling and rewarding.

So here they are:

1.  Air Conditioning!  It was soo hot at camp.  Our dorms, cafeteria, and chapel are air conditioned and we loved every minute in those buildings. lol

2.  Meeting new people and clicking instantly.  I had two young co-counselors this year (20 years old!  I am 38!!) and they were wonderful.  We hit it off and worked well together.  God orchestrated it perfectly.

3.  The prayers of the Saints.  I couldn't have made it this week without those prayers.  And I am not kidding.  It was one of the hardest weeks I have spent at camp ever.

4.  The love of a God that sees the broken-hearted children and feels their pain with them and allows me to love them too.  What a blessing to be a part of binding up some of their wounds and telling them that Jesus loves them and cares about them.  It is so humbling.

5.  A little blonde haired, blue eyed girl that stole my heart and broke it at the same time.  F was very violent this week and she physically wounded me as well as another staff member and I couldn't do anything but love her more and cry for the pain she has been through.  She is a very troubled little girl that has not had any breaks in life, in fact it has been downright hideous so far.  And yet, God loves her and wants His will for her life and allowed me to be a small part of it.  Hopefully someday the seeds of Love we planted will grow and flourish and help to change her life.

I am desperately tired and my body is more than sore.  But my heart is broken for these kids that don't know the love of earthly parents or have the safety of home.  Pray for the kids in foster care, they desperately need it.

If you want to participate head on over to Susanne's at Living to Tell the Story and sign up!

A fun package in the mail!

I was blessed to receive a box in the mail from Canada!  It was so much fun to open this and see what was in it.  I participated in a swap with the Homeschool Post and I am glad I did. 

Who doesn't love getting a package in the mail, right? 

I rec'd my package from Carolyn over at I Am Unique

Here's what was in my package.  Carolyn sent a wonderful notebook for me that has pockets and dividers, plus a journal type book that I adore!  There were pencils and pens, erasers, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, note cards, a mug, and things for the girls that I couldn't even get a picture of because they ran away with them the second the box was open!  There were also stickers for my scrapbooking endeavors.  ;)

I truly was blessed by this package and the kind note that was put in the box.  If you want to participate go to The Homeschool Post and check it out. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Starfish

While walking on the beach one day, I saw a Starfish by the shore. And everywhere I looked it seemed, I saw a thousand more. Then what to my surprise appeared? A boy of nine or ten. And as the Starfish washed ashore, he threw them back again. "One Starfish won't make a difference son; You can't change this situation." He stooped and picked up one more Starfish, then looking right at me, "I can make a difference for this one, sir" and returned it to the sea. So I went and gathered all my friends, my brothers and my cousins. We joined in with that little boy and saved Starfish by the dozens. There are still many to be rescued-many "Starfish" on life's shore. And you can make a difference saving just one more. 

C.C. Milbrandt

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Royal Family Kids Camp

We are heading out again for Royal Family Kids Camp.  It is a wonderful, hard, emotionally exhausting week with these forgotten kids.  If you think of it pray for the kids, and for us as we care for kids that are precious to our Lord.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday's Fave Five

I am a little late with this but better late than never, right?  ;-)

My Friday's Fave Five are these:

1.  Our neighbors asked us to take care of their pool while they are gone.  Oh yeah, we can use it all we want to while they are gone. Woohoo!!  We have been swimming several times a day.  Love it!

2.  Don and Mary.  They are the neighbors that are right next to us.  They are like another set of grandparents
 to the kids and we love them.  They are always ready to talk to the girls and give hugs.  What a blessing to have another set of older people in our kids' lives.

3.  My new bike!!  Steven got me a new bike.  Okay, well I helped pay for it out of the money the group paid me to run sound.  But still...I got a new bicycle!  I haven't had a new bike in over 13 years.  It is so beautiful.  It's blue and it's a mix of old and new styles.  Pictures to follow.

4.  My attic fan.  lol  If you had been here you would understand what I mean without me having to tell you that I started a fire in my oven three times this week.  No kidding.  I need to clean it but what do I do when the fire starts?  Throw flour on it of course!  Praise God I don't have a smoke detector that is turned on in the kitchen(shhh I turned it off until the oven is clean!)  I know, I know, I will turn it back on.  Promise!

5.  Royal Family Kids Camp.  I have been volunteering for going on 11 years now and I can't begin to tell you all the wonderful things about this camp.  It is a blessing to me as well as the foster kids we get to love on all week.  Check them out, you will be blessed.

So there is my list, late but it's still Friday so I'm good!  lol  If you want to participate head on over to Susanne's at Living to tell the Story and join us.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Travel Kits TOS Review

I love planning and making lists for trips.  No, really I do.  I will pull out my notebook and make a detailed list of what each person needs to pack in their suitcase.  Then, I will make a list of what needs to go in a communal bag.  It makes the process of leaving on a trip so much less stressful. 
However, once we actually get in the car and the long hours are staring us in the face what do we do?  Well, we have listened to music or books on tape and that is great but there are usually a bunch of hours left after we have finished the book. 
In comes the ebook by Donna Rees entitled Travel Kits A Simple Way to Bless Others.  It is a great book filled with ideas to use for your own family or to bless another family. 
Now, to tell you about this ebook without giving away too much is going to be kind of tricky.  But I’m going to try!
In this ebook, Donna Rees, outlines some ideas to make trips fly by while bringing your family closer together.  Her ideas are something that we kind of already do but the way she does it is much more fun!  It’s all about thinking through the part of your trip that is going to be the most mundane and making it interesting and fun.
Travel Kits are just what the name implies.  Kits that you use while travelling!  They are little gift items or food items that are wrapped individually for each person and placed in a common box or basket.  The author gives so many ideas about what to include and how to present it that you need to read through it several times to catch it all.  This ebook is chalked full of ideas that won’t break the bank.
When we were getting ready for our Fourth of July trip to my mom’s, I decided that we would give this a try.  I couldn’t go shopping by myself to surprise the girls so they came with me and helped.  I only told them that I was doing this for a review and they didn’t realize that they were going to get the items we were buying!
We went to the Dollar Tree to supply our Travel Kit.  I found some things that they could use once we got to our camp out and also some treats to eat in the car. 
Not a bad price for the amount of fun I anticipated!
I followed the authors suggestions for buying items, brought them home and wrapped them.
Here are all the items I bought.  I chose to put them in this cooler so that after we opened them, we could use the cooler for our drinks.
And the final product…
It was so much fun to get this ready that I can’t wait to do it again.  I am definitely going back and reading this ebook again to get more ideas. 
This ebook is 93 pages crammed full of ideas.  The author goes into great detail about How-to starting with the first chapter that’s titled, “The Basics”.  In this chapter she answers all the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How questions regarding Travel Kits.  The information keeps coming with chapters like “The Plan”, “The Presentation and Distribution”, and “The Payoff”.  The ebook is rounded out with a chapter full of helpful websites and a Bonus Features section.
You can find this ebook here for the great price of $12.45.  While you are at The Old Schoolhouse Store, check out some of the other great ebooks they offer.


**I was given this product so that I could give an honest review for The Homeschool Crew.  I was not paid for this review.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Travel the World! TOS Crew Review

Travel the World

For my first review as part of The Crew, I was given the chance to review a module from The Old Schoolhouse Planner. The Planner is an amazing thing to behold! Each month is separated and given a theme, then there are pages and pages of information to download and print.

The module I was given was June 2010. It is titled Travel the World! and it is all about Geography. Now I have to admit that we are not big Geography fans at our house and it hasn’t been a subject that we have covered very much. So when I saw this as an option to review I was both intrigued and scared! Several questions were chasing each other around in my head. How guilty was I going to feel because my kids didn’t know what they should and would it be interesting enough for us to get through it?

I almost passed this one by. This was the one and only time on The Crew that we got to choose what we would review and I almost let it pass us by. I am so glad I didn’t.

I downloaded the module rather quickly and immediately started reading it. I couldn’t believe that what was listed in the Table of Contents was really in the download. There is a lot there! I scanned it quickly but wanted to get started right away.

What I found was exciting. The material was written in a style that was easy to read and to the point. There weren’t any extra flowery things, just the pertinent information. Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t dry and boring, just succinct. I appreciate that, so do my kids. Although when I told them we were going to be doing Geography they let out a collective moan! They were not looking forward to doing this.

Thankfully when I started reading, they were intrigued. The module starts out explaining what Geography is and quickly moves on to explaining globes and why they are always tilting to the side. It sounds simple, I know, but when I read the explanation my kids got it. The light bulb came on and stayed on all the way through learning about latitude, longitude, the equator, and maps.

We moved on quickly covering the Oceans and then the Continents.  Each continent is covered individually with many facts about it listed with a map beside it.  There are also links to click that take you to sites that further explain what they are talking about or to games that everyone can play.  We didn’t follow every link, there were just too many!
Included in this module are worksheets for the kids to do. They were pretty basic but they covered the basic information that all kids need to have in Geography. The girls had a great time doing the Crossword Puzzle and the Word Search. I let them use the module so that they could sharpen their skills at finding the information they couldn’t remember and it worked like a charm because the information is laid out in a style that is easily accessible.

We didn’t do the Lapbook that is included. My kids just don’t like them. I wish they did because I think they are cool! The Lapbook materials that are provided are meant to just get you started and they provide several links to keep you going.

Next are Maps to label. Each continent map has drawings of things that that continent is known for. I thought that was a great idea to trigger the child’s memory so they could remember it more easily.

The next item in the module is a section of Copywork. There are several options to choose from with different writing fonts. Simply choose the one you want and print it off. What a great way to practice handwriting, study Scripture, and review what you just learned.
This module is appropriate for Elementary ages through Middle School. The worksheets were on the easier side for the older girls but they learned a lot from it and I just required them to do a little extra like following some of the links and taking the quizzes. There is also a High School Expansion section that takes it up a notch. I let my 7th grader do a bit from this section and found myself wishing for more.

To round out the study on Geography there are some recipes to try out from different regions of the world. We have found this to be an excellent addition to our studies to really bring everything together.
We had a great time working through this module. It was informative and easy to implement. The next time I download one, I would probably take a little more time to look through it and choose not to print some of the pages. I am pretty cheap when it comes to printing and there were a few pages that were completely covered in ink. There are also pages at the end that are just advertisements. I would not print those; having them linked is what is needed most so I would just leave them on the computer.

All in all, we loved it. And at just $7.95 it’s a great value. If you want to purchase one of your own go here. While you are at The Old Schoolhouse Store website check out all the other Modules and ebooks they have, you won’t be sorry you did.


**I was given this product for free by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine for my honest review.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday's Fave Five

It's Friday, again!  Funny how that keeps happening.  I have never been one to look forward to Friday as the start of the weekend or the whole TGIF thing.  Sometimes I feel that way, but usually it's just another day. 

However, I am loving Friday these days.  Why you ask?  Because of Friday's Fave Five.  It is making me focus on my blessings and really making me take notice of the little things that matter so much but so often get over looked. 

So, here is my list for this week.

1.  The YMCA and friends.  We have been blessed with wonderful friends.  Online and in real life.  It is such a joy to be able to meet up with these friends and go swimming.  To be able to go and visit with the moms and watch our kids play and interact with each other is a treasure.  Plus the Vit. D is amazing!! 

2.  Second Chances.  For all of us.  I see it mirrored in my children every day and I hear God whispering it to my heart, "Forgive as I have forgiven you."  Praise God that He gives us another chance to do the right thing.  His mercies are new every morning.  Thankfully he reminds me of this as I deal with my children; may I have ears to hear it and a heart to apply it.

3.  Cousin's Camp.  Each year my mil has Cousin's Camp for all the girl cousin's-7 in all so far!-and takes them for four days.  They go and swim, play, get to know each other better and most importantly have Bible Study.  Each year has a different theme that the week centers around.  They come home with a deeper understanding of the theme and of God's love for them. 

4.  Rest.  While the kids have been at Cousin's Camp, I had a HUGE To-Do list that just had to get done.  Guess what?  God had other ideas!  lol  I have been able to get some of the list done, but more importantly I have been able to sit and have time with God and His Word.  The peace and clarity of thought that comes along with spending time in The Word far outweigh anything I could have accomplished on my own this week.

5.  The girls come home tonight!  Woohoo!!  I am so looking forward to seeing them tonight that I can hardly stand it.  I truly love having my girls home with me and am going into withdrawals from not getting my first morning hugs all week!

Want to read some more Friday's Fave Five lists?  Head on over to Susanne's to find more.  Better yet, add your own!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

An Offering

Yesterday morning as I was doing my devotions in my reading room, I noticed the coffee table.  Sometimes I can go through my days not noticing what is right in front of me and other times it smacks me right in the face.  This was one of those days. 

I sat on the couch reading and looking for verses for a devotional I was writing and really looked at the center piece on the table.  There was a candle, a pretty dish, and in the dish were dried, old flowers. 

I remember the day the girls brought them to me. They were so proud of themselves for finding them!  They ran in to the house and presented them to me.  The looks on their faces was priceless.  They were presenting me with a precious gift for the sole purpose of bringing me joy.

And it did bring me joy.  I left them on the table in that pretty dish for all to see and to remind me of the love of my children.

But it also got me to thinking.  How often do I bring my gifts or offerings to God just to bring Him joy?  Not often enough, if I'm being honest.  But there are times when I bring them and lay them at His feet.  It is an amazing feeling to offer back to God what He has given to me. 

So why is it that so often my offerings look like what I found on my coffee table?  The flowers that my daughters so lovingly offered to me shriveled up and died.  It was a one time gift.  Is that what I am offering God?  Am I bringing my gifts, my offerings, my talents, my time only once in a while?  Letting them shrivel and dry up until I remember to do it again?  Is it an afterthought?  Or is it even thought of at all?

May I live every day offering up my life to the One who made me and is worthy to receive my offering.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Maggie couldn't wait to get home!

She stared out the window most of the way home.

Rain, rain, and more rain.  At least this was pretty!

This is always a thing of beauty.  Yes, that is waffles, sausage, and egg.  It worked out that I had even numbers of all of them at the very end.  I love it when that happens!  Yes, I am a little OCD but we don't talk about that we just go with the flow.  ;-D

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Shades of Morning Blog Tour

Shades of Morning
Marlo Schalesky


Marnie Wittier has life just where she wants it. Quiet. Peaceful. No drama. A long way away from her past. In the privacy of her home, she fills a box with slips of paper, scribbled with her regrets, sins, and sorrows. But that’s nobody else’s business. Her bookstore/coffee shop patrons, her employees, her friends from church—they all think she’s the very model of compassion and kindness.

Then Marnie’s past creeps into her present when her estranged sister dies and makes Marnie guardian of her fifteen-year-old son—a boy Marnie never knew existed. And when Emmit arrives, she discovers he has Down syndrome—and that she’s woefully unprepared to care for him. What’s worse, she has to deal with Taylor Cole, her sister’s attorney, a man Marnie once loved—and abandoned. As Emmit (and Taylor) work their way into her heart, Marnie begins to heal. But when pieces of her dismal past surface again, she must at last face the scripts of paper in her box, all the regrets and sorrows. Can she do it? Or will she run again?

My Opinion:

This book is wonderful! I enjoyed it from the first page and fell in love with the characters.  I couldn't put it down, I had to know what was going to happen!  The author unfolds a story so real and so touching that the readers can easily identify.  The main character, Marnie, is full of faults, doubts, and courage.  She is human.  In so many books the main characters are people that we would all like to be but it isn't really attainable.  Marnie is just a normal girl that has been through hard times and responds just like we might.

I don't want to give any of the book away because it is all woven together so beautifully that the dramatic twist at the end is like a breath of fresh air for your soul.  Seriously.  I didn't see it coming.  I can usually figure out the twists and turns pretty quickly; but this author was masterful in her approach and delivered a spectacular surprise for her readers.

I highly recommend this book!  It is one that I will definitely read again; even knowing the surprise at the end!

If you want to buy your own copy and find out what I'm talking about go here.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

TOS Crew Blog Walk Week 5

I can't believe we are at Week 5 of the blog walk already!  I hope you are having as much fun as I am visiting all the wonderful blogs.

Here is this week's list, enjoy!

1. Buckaroo Days
2. Our Homeschool Reviews
3. Reed, Party of 6
4. Training Hearts at Home
5. Along The Way
6. I Love Science!
7. Through the Calm and Through the Storm
8. Created for Home
9. Tractors and Tire Swings
10. Guiding Light Homeschool

If you like their blogs, let them know by leaving a comment or becoming a follower.  'Cause ya'all know, we luuuve comments!! hahah

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fridays Fave Five

It's that time once again in the week to reflect and be thankful.  I can feel the peace washing over me as I quiet myself to really think about our week. 

God is so good.  Just had to say it!

Okay for my list...

1.  Family.  We always go to my mom's on the Fourth of July for a camp-out.  It is a great time.  I really love my family.  We are a loud, crazy, weird, fussy, cranky, happy, loyal, kind of crew and it is wonderful!!

2.  The homeschool community.  The ones I know in real life and the ones I only know on my computer!  I have been completely blessed by homeschool mommas reaching out to me and sending us curriculum for little or no cost because they felt the Lord leading them.  Wow!  I was humbled beyond words.  And grateful.  It was even better when I was able to pass on the same blessing to several other homeschooling mommas. 

3.  My husband for his never ending patience.  He never complains even when he runs out of essential clothing!  He just quietly asks if he can help get them done and then he does.  He is the quiet harbor in the midst of the near constant storm running through our home.  He brings peace and steadfastness.  Thank you, Jesus!

4.  Finding things that were lost!  Every time we lose something it is an opportunity to pray and ask God to move in our lives.  We so often forget to bring everything to Him in prayer, so we miss out on the blessings He is waiting to give us.  This week we have remembered.  And this week God has blessed immensely.

5.  The Founding Fathers of our country who knew enough to seek God earnestly and not settle for less than hearing His voice.  May we do the same now.

Okay, there is my list.  Where's yours?

Go to Susanne's blog over at Living to Tell the Story to find out how you can join us.

I'll look forward to reading your list!

Theology on a T-Shirt

So I've been thinking a lot about my t-shirt lately!  Sound strange?  It probably is; but that's me, strange.  :)

The shirt I have been thinking about is the one that says, "Jesus loves you...but I'm his favorite".  A conversation at Wal-mart has me pondering it.

The checker at Wally world is one we have had before and he is very nice.  He does a great job and offers fun conversation while he works.  The last time I was in and had him as a checker, I was wearing my shirt.  We had been talking when he looked at my shirt.  He read it and said, "Oh no, that's not true!" 

I laughed lightly because some people have been known to be offended with this shirt.  Usually they are proclaiming Christians.  Don't ask, it infuriates me.  "Sure it is" I replied.  He eyed me warily and we continued on with our light bantering.

But the thought struck me when we were getting the groceries out of the car and into the house.  Which part did he not believe was true?  That Jesus loved me or him?

I am pretty sure this guy is not living a moral life and looking back I can see that he might not believe that Jesus loves him.  I missed my chance.  I missed a perfect opportunity to tell him about the love of a God that pursues us even when we are wallowing in our sin.  The love of a Savior that willingly died so that we didn't have to to pay for our sins.  The love of a Father that was greater than any love he could ever imagine.

I failed to see the opportunity that was staring me right in the face.  Literally.

So, my question is this:  Do you really believe what this shirt says?

1.  "Jesus loves you"(the other person)?  If you did, would you be so irritated with them when they didn't do what you wanted them to?  How about when they cut you off on the highway?  How about when they were mean to you?  Maybe when they spoke truth to you and you didn't want to hear it?  Did you believe it then or did you get irritated with them?  Did you speed past them on the road thinking bad thoughts?  Maybe yelling out a few 'safe' mean words?

2.  "I'm his favorite"  Now before you get all worked up, I know that God is not a respecter of persons and that he truly doesn't have favorites but it's really about more than that.  It's about knowing that He loves ME so much that He pursues me and loves me enough to not let me stay in my sin.  He loves me enough to discipline me and steer me on a different path for my own good.  He loves me enough to let me help glorify His name and kingdom.  Do I really believe that he knows the numbers of hairs on my head and that he knew me before I was born?  That's pretty intimate and it takes initiative; His not mine.  He chose me.  He loves me.  Not because I am better than anyone else but because I am not anyone else.  I am who He made me to be (at least I am trying to become that!) for His glory, His honor, and His praise.

So, what do you think?  Do you know that Jesus loves you and that you are his favorite?  ;-)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Where are you?

If you are reading this from a site that is not my blog, i.e. the one I created and own, chances are you are reading what someone has copied and pasted onto their blog.  I would appreciate it if the people who are taking my blog content and using it as their own would stop.  Thank you.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fourth of July Part 2

For Talent Night we always give out awards.  Silly awards, but they are so much fun getting them.  :)

No, we aren't hams or anything! lol

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fourth of July, soggy style! part 1

Every year my family gets together to do some crazy things.  We camp out in my mom’s backyard.  Literally, in tents!  We swim, eat, play, sweat, and have a great time.
One of the things we do is a Talent Night.  Completely not serious, but oh so much fun.
Well, this year it rained.  I don’t mean like in years past when we would have to run into the house in the middle of the night; I mean it rained all day and all night.  The whole weekend.  :(
We stayed outside as much as we could and even let the kids swim in the rain.  On Saturday, we went to Wal-Mart to play with the toys and kill time.  I’m surprised we didn’t get kicked out!
It was fun but…hopefully we won’t get rained out next year!

On the way to our fun at Wallyworld…
DSCN5495DSCN5494 DSCN5502 

We really did play with everything!       DSCN5511 DSCN5516 DSCN5508DSCN5521 DSCN5522
No Memaw’s were hurt in this re-enactment!

Just one of our Talent Night entries!
The crew minus Bobbie and Papaw and Maggie.
I will have to have another post for the rest of the pictures! lol