Friday, February 27, 2009

Day 2/3

Day 2 was filled with some highs and lows.
Food-wise, we still enjoy the beans, rice and oatmeal. We tried baked oatmeal at breakfast and I made refried beans for lunch, which C said he would eat over canned refried beans. We tried lentils and rice for dinner. M did not like the lentils so she did not eat much dinner.
The hunger challenge is definately affecting us. I, for one, am more tired. I had a headache the night of Day 2 and later, after dinner, had a very queasy stomach. I honestly find I don't have as much energy.
M had a rough morning at the church where I do a book study. She was excited to go when we left the house but when we pulled up to the church she started to say she didn't want to play with her friends. When I got her to her classroom, she cried and clung to me. So unlike her because normally she has no problems being dropped off. One of the childcare workers tried to help out but M continued to cry as I left. Later, someone had to come and get me because M was having a hard time and they weren't sure what to do. I brought her to my class and, after a snack of raisins, she seemed fine. So when I had to change her diaper I decided to try to get her back into her classroom, which we did without any tears or anything! The childcare workers were amazed and said she was a different girl after spending some time with me. Maybe she needed some extra Mommy time. Maybe this hunger challenge diet is affecting her.
Since before Christmas, I have felt called to give more. We have so much and there are so many, especially these days, who are doing without.
The purpose of the hunger challenge is so we can understand what it is like for those who have little to no food. And then, in turn, give to help them. All they get is rice and beans or whatever rations they can get from help organizations or whatever they can forage or beg for. I think about the hundreds of children who die every day from starvation. I think of the parents who can't afford to feed everyone or who have to hear their child cry constantly because they are hungry. My heart bleeds.
I don't know what it's like locally for those in need. I picture soup kitchens and food pantry's but beyond that I don't know. How sad. Have I been so wrapped up in my own little world, with my own little cares? Have I turned away from those in need? I want to know so I can help those in need.
This morning, Day 3, I felt tired after getting the girls ready and into the van so we could get to ballet. After buckling M in, I felt a wave of queasiness and prayed, right there in the garage, Lord, give me strength. I hate that people in other countries feel like this all the time. Weak, helpless, tired because they don't have the energy. (Granted, what I am experiencing on this, Day 3, SOOOO pales in comparison to those living like this day to day.)
Lord, I prayed, send me. Here I am. I want to help. So I got into the van, turned it on and then turned on the radio. After a few seconds of silence, I kid you not, Downhere's song "Here I Am" came on.
WOW! I felt God was listening and responding. Where is he sending me? I don't know yet. I feel called to help locally. I know the world problems are great but I feel that locally there is so much we can do. Is it me just wanting to stay in my comfortable world? Maybe. But I do feel there is a need locally. So I am excited to see where God sends me.
S continues to learn from the experience. She know people are in need and she wants to help. But I can tell the food fare is growing old for her. She wants her normal food and is eager for Sunday after church to come. She continues to eat the beans and rice and oatmeal. And she is pretty good about eating to the last drop even.
Her POV on the experience so far: "It teaches me what it's like; what things taste like when the poor people eat it." She says she has also learned that the poor people don't have very much food. She wants to help them. "I would give them money and food and do all sorts of stuff."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 1

Today is our first day of our church's Five Day Hunger Challenge.
Breakfast consisted of oatmeal (seasoned with brown sugar and cinnamon for me and the girls.) M ate two bowls.
S and I made tortillas in the morning to be served with lunch. Then I made some rice (lightly seasoned with garlic sat and onion powder) and pinto beans.
It was a tasty meal. M ate all of her lunch and asked for seconds, although she did not touch the beans, which she gulped down in the first serving. She seemed to enjoy the rice especially, after initially showing no interest in it.
S ate her meal, although she seemed to think she needed to chew every single grain and pinto bean.
Dinner will be the same: tortillas, beans and rice. I plan to take any leftover beans and mash them up into refried beans for lunch tomorrow.
I've enjoyed the food. Personally for me, I've had the urge for something sweet. Like I really could go for a soda or even a piece of gum. I am drinking a lot of water but my mouth has this....uck feeling. Like I can't quench my thirst enough. I think I will try some chai tea soon.
S and I talked about how people in poverty don't have electricity. We even turned off lights and closed the blinds in the kitchen to have a bit of semi-darkness. Later S colored a picture of the Earth and the World Map, which called for coloring the countries different colors.
Then we read a couple books on Africa. It was very educational and sparked a lot of conversation.
I'll post some pictures later.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Date Night

We celebrated C's birthday last week with our first Great Date.
Originally I'd planned for it to be a birthday dinner out with the girls. Then, inspired by our Great Dates class, I thought to make it just the two of us. Plans were not finalized until the night before but it all worked out and we had a great time.
For our first date we took a trip down memory lane. It was interesting to see what the other remembered. :)
But for the most part, we had the same memories, or lack there of! :) Hey! Give us a break! We've been together 13 years!!
It was fun, stirred some memories and really made us look at the road we've taken in various vehicles: C's Omni, later his, then my, Saturn and now a minivan. Lots of bumps and hills but also wonderful scenic views and rest stops. And now we've got the best GPS system ever! We just need to be sure to follow His directions, even if we are too proud to ask for them.


Here are the rations for our Five Day Hunger Challenge.
One five day ration for one person consists of: 3 cups of dry oatmeal, 5 cups of dried beans and 5 cups of dried rice.

I've been menu planning of sorts, given that dry beans need to be soaked overnight and oatmeal and rice have different cook times. Also, we can include in our pantry things like spices, tea or coffee, milk, flour.

Some of the possible meal options include baked oatmeal, tortillas, black bean soup, red beans and rice, rice pilafs and lentils and curried rice. Also, for lunches we can roll beans and rice into a tortilla or mash up some pinto beans into refried beans and spread that on tortillas.
Our food kits came with a recipe book and the church has an on-line resource where participants can post updates, ideas and more.

New Table

Here is the table we bought earlier this month. We really enjoy it. So far it has fared well. There are a few small marks on it already; right on M's side, thanks to her future career as a drummer!
Sadly, I flipped out when she started banging on the table with her spoon, putting a few indentations into the table. But I quickly apologized and hugged and kissed her. After all, it adds character to the table, even if we'd only had it a few days! But if it wasn't going to be from her now, it would have happened some other way later.
And I think it eases C's mind so that the table isn't so perfect. I guess we were used to the cat scratches, missing pieces and other marks that this table seemed too perfect to him.
And we get to send in for our first $2 grocery card. I easily bought $100 worth of groceries. So we submit our receipts to the company doing this deal and in a few weeks we should get a $25 gift card for our chosen grocery store. Super sweet!

All better now!

I think we are very nearly free and clear of the cold that knocked us down earlier this week. I still have slight sinus pressure. I hear C sniffle once in a while. S seems fine. M coughs or sneezes now and then so she may not be out of the water yet. She hadn't had the cold yet really.
We got hit by snow this weekend that took me by surprise. Honestly, I have not been watching the news lately. I used to watch a morning program but our mornings are usually pretty busy so I don't get that chance to sit and watch. And when I am on-line, I really only get the national breaking news type of stuff.
So when I saw the snow falling this morning, I was shocked. And a little disappointed. I was so happy to see grass on the ground.
We had to venture out in this stuff to take S to her preschool art class and to get to the library (we hadn't been there all week and I was chomping at the bit to get the books I had on hold.)
The roads seemed fine on the start of our outing. But along the way, the roads proved otherwise. We were going along a curve on a highway when the van started to slide off the road! My heart went into my chest as the van slipped one way and then another. I don't know if what I did was right but I knew I was not going to jerk on the wheel to get us back on course. Instead, I eased up on the gas a bit (I don't think I was speeding, it was the conditions and the roads had not been plowed) and then very lightly moved the steering wheel to try to get the van in the right direction....away from the steep ditch! We swerved three or four times before everything seemed OK. By the time I got over to exit ramp, I was shaking and felt sick. Thankfully the girls did not comment or seem to realize anything had happened.
One thing was for sure, I don't want to experience that again! I made sure to avoid the highways when we went to the library and then home!!

No passport needed!

I found some great books at the library today to help with next week's trip around the world. I am so excited to share and learn about the countries, all in line with the Five Day Hunger Challenge. I think knowing more about countries outside our own safe little world will help us have more understanding and empathy.
Indeed, as we were preparing to leave the library, S said that after we read the books we have to get on a plane to get to the poor people and bring them lots of food. Last week we talked about the Saharawi people, who live in the desert, where it is boiling hot during the day and freezing cold at night. S said we have to wear warm clothes on the plane trip and use sun block in the desert.
The countries I chose to explore are:
Brazil/South America; I was inspired by a woman from our church who was born and raised in Brazil, where beans and rice were their main staple no matter if you were rich or poor.
Africa; one of the first countries that comes to mind when I think of poverty
Egypt; I was drawn to a book about the children of Egypt
Philippines; my brother has been to that country and told me how poor it is. Here is our book list:
Internet Field Trips: An Online Visit to Africa (Hovanec); very cool, lots of pictures, brief snippets on stuff and lots of Web sites to check out
Count You Way through Africa (Haskins); 1-10 on various African words, symbols
One Child, One Seed: A South African Counting Book (Cave): lots of pictures of a journey from a pumpkin seed to planting, harvesting and cooking the pumpkin into a meal for plenty.
A Is for Africa (Onyefulu); picture book of A-Z African words
Count Your way through Egypt (Haskins); 1-10 counting of Egyptian words, symbols
The Children of Egypt (Pitkanen); photographic journey with lots of descriptions of various parts of Egypt, lifestyles and such. There are a couple paragraphs on diet (bread and beans) and some stuff on the open air markets.
Welcome to the Philippines (Welcome to my Country series, perhaps?); lots of facts, etc.
The Philippines (Schemenauer); colorful pictures, lots of facts about the country
Internet Field Trips: An Online Visit to South America
Count your way through Brazil
Also next week we are doing "U," so the focus is on the United States. My books on that subject are
My State (Schuh); a girl talks about her state of California, prompting readers to find out information about their state. (There are other titles in this set including In My Country, My Continent, In My World)
Little Hands Celebrate America (Hauser); learning about the U.S.A. through Crafts and Activities
The United States from A-Z (Kalman); fact filled and fun looking
Celebrate the 50 States (Leedy); LOTS of information on every state. Kind of a busy book.
A is for America, An American Alphabet (Scillian)
I didn’t pick these up but we have enjoyed and I highly recommend: The Scrambled States of America; The Scrambled States of America Talent Show and Scholastic DVD has a version of the book, which is also very enjoyable and clever.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Taking a trip around the world

Our Five Day Hunger Challenge starts next Wednesday. A friend passed on a great idea to tie the experience in with home-schooling. She suggested getting books and information about countries with poverty/hunger issues and teaching about those countries, perhaps showing where they are on the world map.
I think it's a great idea and am excited to do some library and Google research to share with S and the family. I think it is a good way to show geography and to talk about other countries, their customs and lifestyles and to pray for them.
Today at lunch I shared the idea with S and she was very excited. I also showed her the hunger cards that were passed out while we were in the food line. I read one of them to her about the Saharawi people, a people in Western Sahara who were forced from their homes over 30 years ago and live in refugee camps in the desert. Our church has built up a strong relationship with the Muslim group by helping them out, providing services, even helping to establish an English speaking center, where a couple of our members now reside.
The hunger card was about a typical refugee kitchen. After reading the card, S said that one day she would like to go with me and M and Daddy and drive to the Saharawi camps. She said it would take a long time to get there but that we could go there and bring food to the people.
I was so touched by her generosity and eagerness to help. I am excited to see what this challenge will bring to us as individuals and as a family. I anticipate dietary challenges with the girls, given a diet of all rice, beans and oatmeal, but I think we'll be OK.
I do think that through the experience, in addition to the family devotions provided with the meal kits and our home-schooling travels to these countries, that we will have a better understanding of hunger issues and how we can reach out to those in need. S has sch a tender heart so I am encouraged by her readiness to help and her empathy for those in need. Since Christmas, I have begun to understand how we have so many comforts and how blessed we are with those comforts. But I do want to help others. We can't go through life ignoring those in need.
I know that there are many global issues and that we need to get out of our comfort zone. So, yes, S, I do hope we can make a trip to the Saharawi people, although, God willing, they will be able to return to the homes by then!
But I also feel compelled to help locally. Many ways I have in mind for us as a family are to donate to our church food pantry (many thanks to couponing and the stock I've been building), volunteering for the Salvation Army, walking as a family in a local CROP walk, which, from
what I read recently is Oct. 11. Such an event allows us, at a local level, to reach globally.
There are so many opportunities to give of our time, money, resources and efforts. I can't wait to see what God has in store for us.

Our Peanut

A week or so ago, I was talking and singing with M as I was changing her. Eventually I asked what her name is. Clear as a bell she said "Peanut!"
I laughed so hard. When she was in my womb, M was nicknamed "Chico." But after she was born, we gave her the nickname of Peanut. (S was our Pumpkin Pie so it made sense to give M a similar name since she no longer fit the "Chico" nickname.) She became our Peanut Butter. Although, to be honest, sometimes she was our Pumpkin Pie Peanut Butter.
I do have to say we don't call her "Peanut" all the time. For the most part it's M but we often use various nicknames like Goofers, Cutie, Sweetie. So I thought it was funny that she thought that her name is Peanut. And when I try to correct her and say her name is M, she says no.
She is talking way more these days. A friend remarked last weekend that she is talking in two word sentences, which didn't occur to me. Nor did it occur to me that it was a milestone. I guess I was more on top of that stuff with S but M is just chugging through stuff without us realizing it right away.
Take, for example, that suddenly she can Spanish. Our baby sitter pointed that out to us Sunday night, telling us that M counted to 8 or something in Spanish. WOW! For a couple months now M's been counting up to 14 or so but mostly during a game of hide-n-seek. Lately I'll catch her counting things, like the buttons on my shirt or the designs on her socks. Not always in sequential order but still..WOW! And now she is counting in Spanish, which I am sure she picked up from Dora or Diego. WOW! She sure is a Smartie Pants!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I'm here!

I am alive and somewhat kicking. I've been meaning to blog but I've been hit by a nasty cold. So I've been spending little time on-line.
But when I am feeling better I plan to blog about:
* Our new dining room table (OK. We've had it for a couple weeks already so I am just getting to that bit of news.)
* Our little artist's preschool art class
* We received our rations for the Five Day Hunger Challenge and I even tried my hand at making pinto beans yesterday.
* C and I are taking a class based around the book 10 Great Dates to Energize Your Marriage. The class is fun and I am looking forward to strengthening our marriage and trying out the date suggestions.
So that's to come yet. In the meantime I am praying C and I get better soon. It is so hard when we are both sick at the same time.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day was spent in a perfect way: in!!
We enjoyed our traditional heart shaped pizza with the girls. The girls got little goodie bags as well as a movie and Charlie and Lola winter activity gift.
C also wrote very touching letters for his three girls. :) It made me cry.
I also received from him two CD of Keith Cooper music. I love his music!!
C received chocolates, cards and a balloon from the girls and a photo album with our honeymoon pictures from me.
C and I were going to end the night by watching Fireproof, a movie we've had for over two weeks, but exhaustion and an early morning have us postponing our plans.
I am, however, super psyched for tomorrow night! Our church is offering a Great Dates program. Once a month, couples get together for dessert, a speaker and a chance to reconnect and strengthen their marriage.
I know Fireproof is a good movie and I am excited to see it with C but I think I look more forward to Great Dates, where we can be kid-free and focus on us.
C and I used to be movie buffs. We loved watching movies; in the theater, renting from the movie store and buying DVD's as soon as they come out. Now a days, we buy a new movie and it sits for a while before we open it. Honestly, it's a matter of finding time to watch movies. The weekends are usually filled with house work or just vegging. Watching a movie, especially something like Fireproof, requires attention and focus. At night, forget about it! Again, busy with all sorts of stuff, working on the computer, or just to tired to sit and watch a two and a half hour movie. :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Family update

It's time for a family update.
C is busy on his current project. Things have been pretty busy these days, including some late-ish nights. So he has been worn out lately. He is more involved in his men's ministry through church. At nights with the girls, he is subjected to games like dolls and other make believe games created by S. With M, he is a little more physical. She loves to goof around and her thing lately has been belly bumps: she'll stick her belly way out and run full out toward C to bang into his chest/belly. She loves it and always wants "more."

I have been busy these days but not with freelance work. That area has kind of thinned, due to the economy. Ad sales are low, which affects the copy content and amount. As of now I am writing for one publication, with two more out there as possibilities based on need. It's a lighter load but I don't mind. I am glad for what I can get and pray that more will come in the very near future! In the meantime, I can spend more time with the family and hey! I've been able to somewhat catch up on things at home/devote more energy to other things. For instance, our laundry is all caught up, which is unheard of! I mean, everything except for what we've worn in the past couple days has been washed. Folded....well, that's another thing. I've been pretty good at trying to keep up, although as I write I have two baskets to fold and another load in the dryer. I'll get to those in the next couple days while I watch my soaps and eat bon-bons. HA!!!!! HA!!!!! That's a good one!

S is our tenderhearted girl. She really loves homeschooling. She is pretty good at it. We are at "S" right now. This summer we may focus on reading. I haven't thought to "next year." She still has one more year before K. She is still in ballet. This year she probably won't be participating in the company's production of Pipi Longstocking. I honestly don't know what the little kids would be doing in it. Last Saturday she started a preschool drawing class at the local parks and rec department. She had a really good time. She drew a big fat cat that was pretty darn good! She is our little artist. She is also a people pleaser. She likes attention. She is more emotional. She is tender-hearted. She is a bog helper. And once in a while we get a little hint of defiance or stubbornness.

M....what can we say. She is smart, sweet and a fire cracker! She is in a tumbling class, which she enjoys. She loves to watch S at ballet and loves even more when she gets to participate. She is more vocal these days so we pretty much understand what she is saying. Of course, she has other ways of getting her point across. With M she has a fierce independent streak and a hot temper. I don't know who she gets that from. She has an awfully sneaky look too. She loves to test limits and boundaries and has seen more than her fair share of time outs and chill-outs. But then she can be sweet or goofy and you forget, for just a moment, why you were angry/frustrated/fed up with her and you just want to snuggle up to her and never let go.

Popcorn junkies

I've created popcorn junkies, in M especially!
It all began with Patriot Preschool. When S was in class, which was three days a week, we'd at least make one weekly stop to Target, where I'd treat M and I to some popcorn while we killed time browsing (pre-coupon days).
So I worried that we'd never be able to enter a Target without M crying for popcorn. Indeed, the one time I tried, she threw the biggest fit, which I calmly ignored as I was set on my plan to hit a couple stores before picking S up.
The past couple times we've been to Target, we've managed to make it through without popcorn.
Today, however, I decided to treat the girls. Sadly, when we arrived, the food spot (what's it called?) was closed.
Thankfully M made no fit. She calmly accepted my words of "No popcorn today."
S, on the other hand, surprised me when she sulked and weeped over the closed popcorn counter.
I guess she had her mind set on the yummy treat. I know I had my mind set on a fountain Coke.
But, in the end, the sweet aroma of popcorn filled the air as we made our way to the check-out lanes.
So we got popcorn (and my Coke) in the end, which was a good thing because I was able to use it for the trip to Kohl's. The girls munched on cup after cup on popcorn while I browsed the sales racks and tried some things on. The popcorn lasted until the trip to the dressing room. Marie then tired of the shopping stroller and squirmed, lost one shoe and gave one fierce tantrum at the shoe department. But we made it out with some awesome purchases and bellies full of popcorn.

Who me?

I had to laugh today when the Target cashier today asked me if I was a coupon queen.
Today was our big shopping day with stops at Walgreens, Target, Kohl's and, maybe later after the girls wake up, Pick-N-Save.
At Target I told the cashier I had coupons and gave her a stack of them. She laughed and said "I guess you do!" I would imagine the sight of me with my coupons and coupon binder would make her guess I am a "coupon queen."
I've been using coupons more for the past couple months, maybe longer. It's not always consistent but I do a better job these days of keeping an eye on coupons available and sales at stores. I love to check out the end caps at Target. And I love to match up sales and coupons. Every little bit helps, that's for sure.
Walgreens netted some good deals, especially on Swiffer products and yet more Progresso soup.
The Kohl's trip by far was my favorite. Ninety-five percent of the purchases (stuff for me and the girls) were the Gold Star Clearance items. I also used my $30 Kohl's cash and the 30 percent off sticker I'd gotten in the mail!! All in all, I spent less on the shopping today (and got more) than what we spent on Chris last weekend!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Case in Point

To go along with my blog about Raising Godly Children, I was appalled to read this article in the local paper today about a school district that allowed a PG-13 movie with some nudity to be shown in a local high school!!!
This is exactly the thing that "this world is coming to."Our children are exposed to sex images all the time and schools allow it, not just in the fashion kids are allowed to wear while in school but through what they read and what they view in a classroom setting!
There is NO NEED for this type of stuff. Parents SHOULD be allowed to stand up for their morals. Instead, they are knocked down by the principal and teacher, who say parents have no say in the curriculum. They are mocked by the readers, who blast the parents. How disgusting!
I applaud the parents for standing up for their beliefs, for wanting to protect their child, for showing society that enough is enough.
Parents, please guard your children! Be a filter. Be diligent. Stand up for your beliefs. And PRAY! Pray for the schools, the children, the world.

Raising Godly Children

Today at our church's mom's group we hear about raising Godly children. We all want children to be Godly, to be nice and good and to learn how to discern the junk in their life and lead good lives.
But, in today's society, with all the garbage that society allows, our children are constantly under attack. Raising Godly children is a long-term process. We need to be by their side, filtering out the junk and guiding them along. We need to keep our eyes on our goals and not be sidelined. It's a tough job, one that is subject to criticism and mockery.
As our speaker said, don’t let getting your child saved be the end all goal. Once they are saved, it doesn’t mean we are done. It’s a long term process of spiritual mentoring.
Here are more notes, with questions to ponder:
Don’t get sidetracked by focusing on other things. You child is good at sports, dance, academics but those shouldn’t be the focus. Instead, how can those be used to serve God?
Don’t fall into making their outward behavior look good, while ignoring their character. Christian woman fall into the trap of wanting GOOD children so they focus on the outward factors instead of building up their character and their heart, which makes them good people.
Your kids should know God. Gently guide them and lead them into an on-going relationship with Christ. The word of God is living, active and meaningful to them.
You want your kids to be growing in the Fruits of the Spirit.
Things to do (here she provided some visuals)
1) Intentional Commitment (a day planner): Make an intentional commitment in guiding them and leading and discipling them. Be intentional about sharing God’s word with them. (Deut. 11: 18-21)
We also need to be available. We need to be available to listen to them, talk to them, teach them morals and give them Godly advice to be better young men and women. Make sure we are spiritually available.
How to be intentional??
Read the Bible to them. If you do story time at night, add a Bible story.
Watch TV together. (She talked of a family who plays a game called Spot the Lie. They will call out the lies found in ads and shows.)
Family Devotions (don’t expect it to be a perfect family time. People will have their baggage/issues/attitudes but the devotion could end to speaking to them.)
She reads Missionary Biographies to her children so they can see God’s hand at work in the lives of missionaries
Memorize Bible verses as a family
Act out Bible stories
2) Be a filter (she showed a filter from a humidifier. Yuck!)
We need to guard what our kids are exposed to. Some things are blatant but some are not. We need to set boundaries with the kids. Just because culture says shows are kid friendly does not mean they are.
But we also have to set our own values. Kids are watching us. We need to be in the word of God. And they need to see that. Just because everyone if doing “it” does not mean IT honors God.
Some things to consider: Harry Potter, Abby Cadabie (Sesame Street), Evolution, Homosexuality, Dating. How would we address those issues with our kids. We have to be ready to tackle them and be firm in our beliefs, even when others mock us and criticize us.
3) she showed a mirror and said that kids are watching how you live out your life, what you say, what you do. You want your words to model what your life is all about. You yell at your kids and yet you tell them not to yell, etc. We want to live transparently with our kids. Don’t ever think your kids aren’t watching you!
4) Be vigilant (she held up a bike horn)
What are our kids getting in to?? (Ez. 33: 1-9)
We are appointed by God to be sentinels. We have to warn them of danger. We have to discipline them. She gave an example of a garden: how she would go in and quickly teat out all the big weeds but leave the little ones, only to find days later how fast they grow. We need to dig up those little roots of disobedience. Get them while they are little. God challenges us to blow our little bugle horns.
5) We can’t underestimate the power of prayer.
We are in a huge battle for our children. The Enemy wants them! We are in a battle for our kids minds. Pray for them…pray they would know God with their hearts, for their future spouses, for them to be able to discern and more. She recommended Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie OMartin.
6) Live a life of faith and endurance. (she showed a cross)
God calls us to parent by faith not fear. We are to model Godly living. And yet, at the end of the day, the work is God’s. We need to trust God with the outcome of our kids. Keep loving and investing in our kids.
What are some of your goals in raising your children? What is most important to you?
What kinds of messages are you sending to your children about what is really important and what really matters? How is your focus off-track with your parenting? How is it on-track?
What role, if any, do you think personal holiness and your personal devotion to God has to do with raising Godly children?
What are some negative influences that are present in our culture today? Be specific (shows, songs, philosophies, fashion)
What does the Bible say about these influences? How will you respond to them?
Share ways that you are being intentional in your commitment to raise Godly children. How does this look for your family? What has worked? What needs improvement?
What personal character issues or personality traits are you seeing mirrored in your children’s lives---reflecting good and bad things of you and your husband?
What traits would you like to see in the future and what changes need to take place in your life to bring about these changes?

Summer day!

OK. So today was not quite a summer day but it was gorgeous! I think it was supposed to hit 55 degrees today. It was prefect though. The snow is melting so we can see the patio now and large patches of grass in the backyard.
The girls and I went outside for a bit after lunch. They played with bubbles and sidewalk chalk and rode their bikes. M did a good job on her little trike. I almost think she could get the hang of it by summer.
They even discovered the large puddle at the end of our front walk. M had a blast jumping off the front porch step into the puddle!
My favorite game was drawing five shapes, spaced out on the driveway, and then calling out shapes for the girls to run to and do different activities. Run to the star and jump three times. In the middle, I drew a comet where we always spun in a circle. Eventually I incorporated some of the ballet activities, like Princess Walk to the Moon or Sashay to the Heart. It was a lot of fun and turned into a PE class for S.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How to get Freebies

Freebies 4 Mom just posted a blog today about how to get freebies!
Yea! So many ways that I did not even know about!! I can't wait to try them!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Another motherload!!

More treats were in the mailbox today! WOW! I feel so giddy from the free samples and coupons!
Today I got:
Simple Inspired, a coupon book from Home Made Simple with over $30 in savings!
Revel in the Day, a coupon book from Home Made Simple with over $27 in savings!
A sample of Always Infinity plus a $1 off coupon!
A sample of Sunsilk's Daring Volume collection (contained shampoo, conditioner and hairspray samples), plus $2 worth of coupons!
A sample of John Frieda Collection Luxurious Volume collection (contained shampoo and conditioner samples) plus a $2 off coupon!
A sample of Jergen's Naturals Daily Moisturizers collection (contained samples of Hydrate, Renew and Soothe) plus a $1 off coupon!
How am I getting these samples, freebies and coupons? That's the beauty of following sites like Deal Seeking Mom and Freebies for Mom. (See the Web sites I follow list on the right of my blog.) These Web sites are in the know on what deals to get, where to get freebies and samples, what coupons are out and more!
A few of the things I've received have also been from, where there is a section you can check for free samples to order.
And you can go to your favorite brands and get samples and coupons by signing up for newsletters and stuff that keep you in the loop on savings, new products and more!
It's well worth the time when you get a free sample or a coupon that you can use later, especially if said product is on sale at your favorite store!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Mailbox full of samples

WOW! There were many treats in the mail today!
I received:
The P&G Brand Saver, Year of Savings coupon book with over $120 in P&G Savings!
A coupon for a FREE Del Monte No Salt Added Diced Tomatoes
A single serving mini bag of Orville Redenbacher's Natural popcorn (and a $1 off coupon!)
A Benefiber on-the-go sample
A coupon for a FREE multipack of Boost Kid Essentials Nutritionally Complete Drink
A sample of Gold Bond Ultimate Soothing Lotion (and a $1 off coupon!)
A sample of Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal (and a $10 off coupon!)
What a wonderful haul! I heart samples and freebies!
Now to find out what deals I can get at the grocery store this week. I probably won't be going on Double Coupon Wednesday but I am sure to still get some good deals.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

No cookie sale here!

I was shocked this afternoon when the door bell rang, followed by rapid knocking. As I was getting up to answer the front door (I was sitting in the back room/family room with C), more rapid knocking followed.
When I got the door, the person was rushing back to a parked van in our driveway. But she turned when she heard the door open and rushed back to me.
It was a GIRL SCOUT selling cookies! I was shocked by what I felt was rude behavior. Was the rapid knocking really necessary? Just ring the door bell and wait. Don't add the rapid knocking....twice!!
When I heard the ring/knock combo the first time I felt that someone was in need. Then, as I was walking to the door, I suspected a sales person because we had a similar ring/knock situation from some cocky college kid selling something.
So note to sales people, just ring and wait. Don't add the rapid knock unless you are in need of some help!
The Girl Scout did not get an order from us. I will gladly support the Girl Scouts. For a brief time I was one myself. I like it when they approach me personally to get cookies. But her sales approach was wrong.
Did I correct her? No. I wanted her away as fast as I could, given that she was likely interrupting the girls' nap time. The girl did not give me her name or troop number. She seemed to feel that the words Girl Scout cookies would have done their magic.
So I was turned off by her approach. Also, I suspect she is not from the neighborhood, given that she chose to ride around rather than hoofing it by foot in the neighborhoods.
The Girl Scouts who did get our order this year were girls who approached me personally. One girl (and her mother) even braved the cold, walking the neighborhood to gather orders.
The ringer/knocker/passenger needs to work on her sales skills.

Sharing the experience

In about three weeks, our family will join our church on a Five Day Hunger Challenge.
Our church's focus this year is Reaching Farther, with an emphasis on reaching out to the poor and needy.
Through the Hunger Challenge, we will eat the same kinds of rations that the United Nations would give to a refugee for a week: 3 cups of dry oatmeal, 5 cups of dried beans and 5 cups of dried rice.
Our church provided two visuals on the stage this Sunday, one of the rations for a family of four, which they had to place them on top of crates so we could see them.
On the other side of the stage was a much larger pile of groceries, said to be a week's worth of groceries for the average family of four in the US. It was a sobering example; a small pile of food compared to a mass of food that seemed very wasteful to me.
The challenge is open to all ages and families. We are going to do it as a family. I am a little nervous because I don't know how the girls will do with day after day, meal after meal of rice, oatmeal and beans. I think the appeal will be OK in the beginning but by the end of the week, we may be at our wits end!
This is where family devotions and prayer will come in. I talked with S a bit about it today and she seemed receptive to the idea.
In the guidelines and information provided on-line by our church, they did say it was OK to tailor the challenge to our families, especially if there are dietary concerns/needs and food aversions. They also provided tips for parents and recipes, which I think will help. I do worry that the girls won't like the rice and beans and won't eat any of the food. We'll have to see.
At church we also saw video compiled by members of the body who tried out the Hunger Challenge. One little girl said she liked the food but would not want to eat like this all the time. A woman said that she was amazed by her 4-year-old's heart and how he was thinking about the people in these countries. A man said it was hard for him, as the head of the house, the provider, to imagine not being able to feed his family enough.
I was encouraged by the testimonies. I could see that the people learned from the challenge; have a better appreciation for what they have; have empathy for those who are going through this day after day; and saw their spiritual life grow.
I plan to journal our experience so stay tuned! We'll start Wed. Feb. 25 and end March 1. We will also be collecting the money we'd normally spend on groceries and eating out. At the end of the challenge we will pick a place or organization to donate the money to.
As our pastor said, we have time to prepare for this Hunger Challenge, figure out how we are going to do it, pray for it. But in many places in the world, people don't have time to prepare. They are put in situations where they are forced from their homes, into refugee camps and into poverty. Let us pray for them and find ways to reach farther.