Thursday, September 30, 2010

Back to school pics-2010

*This was Big Sister at Easter time. She's away at school right now in Job Corps working towards her diploma and CNA certification.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010


Have you ever heard of (or played) this game? I haven't. I read about it this morning on a blog I follow, she's having a giveaway. Here's what she had to say about it:

As a homeschooling mom I’m always on the look out for fun, challenging games that encourage thinking and reasoning skills. As a mom who loves to spend time with my kids I love to find games that are fun for both children and adults. Mastermind does both. It was also one of my favorite games when I was a kid.

Mastermind requires and hones deductive reasoning and logic skills. As a child it was one of my favorite games to play with my father. I loved being able to solve my father’s patterns and Mastermind was a game that my father truly enjoyed. I remember waiting to take my turn as all of us children would play Mastermind tournaments with dad.

The game pits a code maker against a code breaker. The ‘maker’ selects a pattern of colored pegs, then the ‘breaker’ tries to guess the pattern. After each guess the ‘maker’ scores the guess which provides the ‘breaker’ with information about the true pattern. Play continues until the ‘breaker’ is able to deduct the true pattern based on the information provided by his previous guesses and scores.

Players take turns being the maker and the breaker and the player who is able to guess the code in the least amount of turns is declared the winner. Of course our children love challenging each other to games of Mastermind (otherwise I wouldn’t be telling you about it), but it’s also a game that both Mark and I enjoy playing with our children as well as with each other.

Mastermind is a 2-player game designed for ages 8 and up, although our younger children do a fine job at being code breakers. The Attaché edition of Mastermind (shown) is terrific for travel. It comes in a zippered case with built-in, covered storage for all the game pieces.

Buy Mastermind

There are several editions of Mastermind available on the website. They range in price from $9 – $18.99.

To enter her giveaway, go here. 3 days left! :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Meet Katie

Meet Katie. She is the author of one of my all-time favorite blogs. Her heart bleeds compassion. Admittedly, she seems to be handling certain situations with her older adopted children better than I have. She seems to be handling uncertainty and the 'unknown' of raising adopted teens with more grace than I. She's an amazing Woman of God and one whom I've been learning from! Check out this recent post:


I homeschool.

Everyone who knows me knows I homeschool.

But if they had to guess my reasoning they’d be wrong.

Sure, I had my reasons when we initially began homeschooling: issues with the school, bullying, etc. But those reasons changed and morphed and took on a whole new life.

Everyone I know who homeschools does it for the same reason: To give their child the best education possible.

The issue that comes in to play is the definition of education. Some pile their kids high with books and programs so that nothing is left out. Others let the children lead, through unschooling. Some teach the dead languages. Others feel that Japanese is the way to go. Some insist upon a stringent course of study. Others insist upon taking their time.

And so now I can tell you why I homeschool. Be sure to brace yourself, I am a bit of a pariah in the homeschooling community.

  • I home school because kids only get to be kids once. They only have X number of years before the responsibilities of adulthood take them over. They only have so much time to relax and have relatively carefree lives.
  • I don’t want my children worrying nonstop about a math test that is coming up before they can fully grasp the concept. I’d rather give them chance to figure it out.
  • I don’t want my children to feel pressured to grow up too fast in the public school environment. I’d rather them mature at their own rate.
  • I don’t want my children staying up until 2am to finish a report on a book that has no interest to them and no cultural value whatsoever. I’d rather work with them to pick and choose books that have meaning.
  • I don’t want my children to dissect a poem and try to figure out what the poet meant when he/she wrote it. I want them to decide how the poem made them feel.
  • I don’t want my children to learn about history without seeing both sides. They need to know that even the “bad guys” think they are doing the right thing. It’s all about perspective.
  • I don’t want my children to grow away from each other as schools seem to promote. They need to know that while friends come and go siblings are forever.
  • I don’t want my children to grow away from God. They need to develop the tools to live for Him while they are still young. They have years to defend their beliefs, I just want to take a few years to help them learn how to do so.

Are you waiting for specifics? Well, they can do everything the “average” kid can do. They can also repair lawn mowers, bake cakes, sketch incredible pictures, and write music. They can grill burgers, pull weeds, do laundry, and help replace alternators in mini-vans. But more importantly they can sit and hold a conversation with their 88 year old great grandmother, they know how to get on the floor and play with their 1 year old cousin. The teens will cuddle and hug their younger siblings. They volunteer their time and money to help others without batting an eye.

They are all best friends (their words not mine). They help boost each other up when their reach falls short… They hold each other’s hands when fear sets in… And they guide each other in their steps, no matter how rocky those steps may be.

And I suppose that’s why I home school. To give my children the best education possible. And my definition of education is the same as the the Free Dictionary’s: A knowledge or skill obtained or developed by a learning process.

Sheri Sears (with the help of her fabulous husband Mike) began homeschooling her four children in 2001. She spends her time creating whatever she can out of nothing to make her house more homey, writing lesson plans, listening to her son’s garage band and writing how God is carrying her out of the depths of depression. You can catch up with Sheri at her blog The Shades of Pink. Be sure not to miss the Love Story she and her husband have written.

Taken from:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Just a lil ole mustard seed

Luke 13: 18-19
Then He said, "What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches."

Last night I was canning a second batch of pickles and one of the ingredients was mustard seed. That got me thinking...such a little seed but yet so powerful... Most of us probably have heard the parable about the mustard seed and a mountain. Matthew 17:20- "So Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, move from here to there, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." So, true faith, by God's definition, always involves surrender to the will of God. Both the source and the object of all genuine faith- even the weak, mustard-seed variety- is God. And with God nothing will be impossible.

Have you ever thought about your faith? What kind of faith do you have? The 'show-me-everything-will-work-out-good-before-I-do-this' kind of faith or do you have what others would call crazy-insane-jump-in-with-both-feet-because-God-told-you-to' blind faith? Or maybe something in between?

I've been 'nesting in the branches' of the large mustard seed tree...I've been searching for comfort during this time of refining. For me, it's hard to see the bigger plan during the process of refining-all I can see is the fire. But I trust God with everything in me, I know He loves me so and wants me to reflect Him. We've lived here 9 months now and with that has come a lot of change. For me, it's been a time of working through issues that I've allowed to lay dormant for way too long. I'm realizing now that allowing my heart to have these dormant areas hasn't done me any favors! While it's painful to work through past hurts and conflicts, the future holds such great promise. I still feel my heart is in the midst of the fire but the intensity of the heat is lifting, some clarity is shining through!

So, I am thankful for the reminder of that lil ole mustard seed...not only can it grow into something mighty to provide us shelter from a storm, but it can also help to demolish any problem we see as impossible...with God's help, of course! :)