Thursday, October 27, 2011

Key to Success

Do not ever give up. We all fall. We all stumble.
Get up! Try again!
You only fail when you refuse to continue the fight.

We all face various trials and struggles in our lives. We are faced with troubles caused sometimes by our own mistakes, misdeeds or misunderstanding, sometimes by other's, and still sometimes, just life.

It can be so discouraging.

I know. It would be easier sometimes to curl up in a ball and cry. Never get out of bed. Why bother, when you have already failed miserably and will just face more defeat?

But that is the enemy speaking. Remember him? The enemy of our souls? The father of lies? He would like nothing more than for you and I to give up, to stop trying. He would like nothing more than for us to lay down and never stand again.

But we not alone!

In John 16:33, Jesus tells us, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

All of our troubles, all of our hurts, sicknesses, and pain can be brought to Him. And just like our own hearts, can be transformed.

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I am thinking these thoughts, because I have struggles too.

I have so many blessings.

I have an amazing, loving, strong husband.
I have beautiful, intelligent, healthy children.
I have a gorgeous home, and a garden, and chickens and ducks.

I have so much.

And then something happens and I realize,
I have so much that I could lose.

And the enemy would like nothing more, than for me to stop right there and mourn what I have and could lose, when in fact, I should be standing and kicking butt, and FIGHT FOR WHAT HAS BEEN GIVEN TO ME!

I intend to.
I will not give up.
I will not ever fail, because I will never accept defeat.

The price is simply too high.

Join me. Pray for the Lord to gird us with strength, to guide our hearts, and to give us victory in our homes and in our lives.

May God richly bless you. <3

Monday, October 24, 2011

Why Do I Homeschool?

Many times I have been asked, "Why do you homeschool?"

I understand that for many, the thought of homeschooling their children never occurred to them. Public schooling is so normalized, so convenient, so status quo. And after all, the school system is held to high and lofty standards regarding our children's education and safety while in their care, right?

I feel that as a parent I am uniquely qualified to love and raise my children. And the bible clearly directs my husband and I to be solely responsible for their education. Now, some parents, like myself, choose to follow that literally.
"You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." Deuteronomy 6:7

So I will keep my children with me, and utilize all the available teaching moments I come across in the day. I will find curriculum (which are plentiful) to supplement the learning environment. My children help in the garden and learn the growing process of plants. My children care for their pets and learn about the life cycle of animals. My children help in the kitchen and learn the joy of cooking and measuring ingredients. My children go to the park and run for hours and then go home to take a nap. They may not realize yet that this is science, or math or exercise. But there can be no argument that they are learning.

I feel that the social aspects of homeschooling and public schooling are misconstrued. My homeschooled child has friends. We have playdates at various homes and the park on many occasions. And when we go somewhere on our own, every other child is happily greeted by my outgoing children with smiles and "hellos." And why is that? Because that is how I 'taught' my children to greet others. When my son went to the local firehouse with Daddy one day, he happily talked with them and answered their questions. Daddy was very proud.

Some have argued that our public schools teach, Love, Tolerance, and Kindness. Are these not 'Christian' ideals?
You cannot remove Jesus Christ from christianity. You either proclaim Him, or you don't. "Love everybody" does not equal "christianity." So as a Christian, I have to choose my priorities.
And in my home, I am allowed to proclaim him.

Now some have argued with me that I am not allowing my son to choose his own path. And I will admit that is partly true. When my son is in my home he must respect me and listen to my words. And he must obey the rules of my house. But when he is an adult, he will make his own home and be responsible for making his own decisions. I hope to prepare him for those choices he will face.
But by sending my children to public school, I am allowing someone else to build his worldview. I am depending on someone else to portray world events, past and present, without bias. And I am placing a vulnerable child, whom I love, in the care of someone whom I do not know.

This of course doesn't include the incredibly poor test scores of the local school district, the high percentage of drug users by voluntary surveys and burgeoning student/teacher ratios, and disturbing accounts of violence, hazing incidents to school shootings.

Some have questioned, "Why not send your christian children to the public school system, so that they may be a light to others?"

I do not feel that we should ever argue keeping young children in an unsafe atmosphere so they can be "light." How can a small child stand against a throngs of unbelievers, being mocked by fellow students and teachers alike for their simple faith.

Jesus did not send out children to teach the gospel. He sent out strong adult men, after having taught them personally for almost 3 years, this after they had already grown up in Jewish Society, knowing the scriptures personally.

I know that the responsibility to educate my child is enormous. I do not take it lightly. I know that as my child grows and learns, and eventual becomes an adult, his success will weigh heavily on me. My husband and I pray, research, discuss and work toward this day.

Personally, I feel I'm giving my children the very best option available.



***

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La Soñador ~: Our Responsibility To Our Children - The costs of homeschooling vary from family to family, ranging from complete free curriculum to several hundred dollar packages per grade level. You can find something that will work for your family and budget. I would gladly ...

Freecycle, Paying It Forward

A friend recently recommended Freecycle to me.



I love it!

Just to name some of the benefits, I have been able to get rid of my 'junk', I have been able to help out someone in need, I have been blessed by someone else whose 'junk' was precisely what I needed. I have met some great people in my local community.

The concept is so simple. If you have something you don't want and are willing to give away without compensation, list it. If you need something and have no money, or prefer not to pay if possible, list it.

It is like Craigslist, but EVERYTHING is free!
Two weeks ago I got an EXTRAORDINARY blessing, from some wonderful neighbors.



Yes! A woodstove! Once we get this installed, it will be such a benefit to my family.

And just today I was able to clear out a large space in my own home. I have a huge fish tank. I have loved it. I have filled it with beautiful swimming sparkles of color. My children have enjoyed it. But since moving out on our sweet homestead, we poured all the fish into our pond. Yet, our fish tank sat in my dining room window (the only window to face my large backyard) empty, and blocking my view and any activity I could enjoy there. I tried craigslisting it several times. Maybe it is the season or the economy, but I got no bites. So, I freecycled it. I was sincerely ready to have that fish tank out of my way.

And look, now I have a lovely space to put a few plants and too look out on my lovely back yard while my children play.



And since we are looking there anyways. Please note my lovely house plants. They are from the garden! Two bell pepper plants, and a jalepeno plant.



I plan on adding a couple of tomato plants as well. Certain garden plants, if brought inside a greenhouse or your home by a sunny window, will continue to grow and produce for up to 3 years! So I have chosen some of my best producers, potted them and brought them inside. I brought in some of my cabbage, but it immediately looked sullen. I think it prefers the cooler weather, so I have placed a couple on my porch where they can be a little more protected from the elements.

I still have alot to learn about 'homesteading' and my black thumb is a constant hurdle to overcome. But, I have noticed a steady pace towards our goals. And I am overjoyed we are on this path. And happy to share some of my tools of the trade.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tattler Reusable Canning Lids Discount

Coordinate a bulk order, receive free lids!

Organize a 5,000 lid order, or larger, for your friends,
family, church group or other organization and you will receive
one free case of Wide Mouth lids, AND one free case of
Regular lids, shipped to your doorstep.

Orders over 5,000 pieces will receive a 15% discount
from our retail price. Custom orders will be accepted,
and the entire shipment must be sent to a single mailing address.

Call 877-747-2793 for further details.

Shipping charges apply
Offer expires 12/31/2011

----
I have just a couple dozen of these lids. I LOVE THEM! After reading another of my favorite bloggers, Patrice at http://www.rural-revolution.com/2011/01/refried-beans-last-frontier-of-canning.html discuss canning with them, I have had a 100% seal rate. Add to this, the lids are guaranteed for 20 years, BPA free, and don't rust. Awesome.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Family Game Time

My family has been trying to slowly replace our tv consumption for other more productive endeavors. To this end, we have obtained some children's games. We have played Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Hi Ho Cherry-o, and Garanimals 1-2-3.

Most games for children are so PAINFUL for adults. Sometimes we have found ourselves reading the directions again and again on a particular game. "How do we keep score?" "What is the goal here?" "So.... no one wins the game?" Yes, we are narrow minded. How can you play a game where NO ONE WINS! LOL

I love my kids. So I can happily play a game every now and then, with sincere joy in my heart about being with them and watching them learn and enjoy themselves.

But after a while it can get tedious = boring = unenjoyable = no longer a part of our lives.

We know that it is good for us and for our children. We know that there MUST be gooooood, enjoyable and even LAUGHING OUT LOUD HILARIOUS games for families.

We came up with two. IF you know of any others, please share them with us!

Pictionary
Here are word lists you can print off for playing with children. Then you can use your own paper and pens, or white boards, or a charred stick and rock. :)

http://stretchmarkmama.blogspot.com/2008/12/pictionary-for-kids.html (I can relate to her evenings.)

http://www.thegamegal.com/2010/11/06/pictionary/

Charades
This allows you to print off a list of words in varying categories, including one for kids. Then you can sit back and watch your children act like monkeys, on purpose, but this time QUIETLY! :)

http://www.charades-ideas.com/printable_cards.php



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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Good Way to Spend the Weekend - Canning

I love canning. Really. I have a running list, all year long, of things I want to can. Before we moved out of the city we had the canner set up at all times and we got into the habit of canning something every weekend, and any leftovers when I made a large meal.

And it was awesome.

First of all, I LOVE doing things with my husband. And he loves canning too! I love working beside him, planning with him, and just being anywhere he is in general.

I know - MUSH!

But it is true.

Secondly, I love canning because I can step back after I am finished and SEE that I produced something. With a few hours of labor (and piles of dishes) I can produce meals, side dishes, and treats that will be preserved for up to 25 years. Military studies have shown that after 25 years, canned food begins to lose nutritional value, but is still edible for upto 40 years! Of course, most of our food gets eaten within a years time. Since I am constantly canning, I feel no need to 'wait' to open a jar. I know I'll be replacing it soon enough with another tasty meal.

And thirdly, I love canning because I am REALLY good at it. I believe that all people have gifts, talents, and special abilities that the Lord has given them to enjoy and bless others with. Canning seems to be just right for me. At first, it seemed so intimidating, but once I got started, it came EASILY!

YAY for canning!



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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Green Tomato Pickles

One thing grew exceptionally well in my garden this year. Tomatoes. I am glad. Tomatoes happen to be one of my favorite things in the entire world, and garden fresh tomatoes make my mouth water and fill my mind with recipes galore. As such, I have tried very hard to become GOOD at growing tomatoes.

I'm not perfect however. :)

So, while I was deluged with tomatoes.... the cooler weather left me dealing with a large quantity of tomatoes that were not ripe.

Last year, my family tried fried green tomatoes. They were... ok. But honestly, we didn't care for them. We thought they could make a nice, small side dish. But certainly not a meal for our family.

Since then I had come across another idea that I have been waiting anxiously to try. Green Tomato Pickles.

The directions I first came across seemed extremely easy (which I LIKE).

When you finish off your jar of pickles, keep the juice. Then chop up your green tomatoes (it recommended into fourths) and put them in the jar for one month, in the fridge, to soak up the juices and flavor.

Easy right?!

I have been buying the gallon pickles jars lately. I am hoping to replace all my plastic food containers with these good, strong glass jars. I think they will be quite attractive lined up on my pantry shelves, next to my home canned soups, veggies and jams.

Just a week or so ago, my children finished off the last pickle in a jar. Fortunately I remembered and asked that they keep the juice and jar in the fridge for this project.

Today I went out and collected some of my harvest.

Here is what I will be making for dinner. Sauteed Zucchini, Tomatoes and Onion. This is a family favorite. Sometimes I add bacon. YUM!



Here I have gathered some of the over ripe tomatoes. I will attempt to collect some seed for next years garden from these. These tomato plants were very large and strong, producing very well.



Here, I have a grocery bag filled with about half of my green tomatoes. They are mostly different varieties of cherry tomatoes.



I got out my gallon sized pickle jar with remaining brine, rinsed handfuls of green tomatoes at a time, then chopped them into small bite size pieces, and dropped them into the brine. I believe that cutting the tomatoes, enables them to soak up the juices more efficiently, so I cut even the smallest tomatoes at least in half.



While I have never tried this before, I am very optimistic that it will be delicious and a nice treat for my whole family. Because of this, I also decided to venture a little further. I perused some brine recipes and made my own for a second smaller jar to try out.



I used 1 cup water, 2 tbsp salt, almost 3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, 10 smallish chopped garlic cloves, and added 1 tbsp of cilantro. (I love cilantro. mmmmmmmmmmmmm)

They look so beautiful to me. I am soooooo eager to try them.

One month from now. I will let you know how they turned out.

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Oodles of Doodles

I think after my daily duties, the children and I will spend some time coloring to our hearts content.

I found some great ideas today.

Some Geometric designs -http://www.barbsgalaxy.us/ColoringPages/patterns/Geometrix/index.html



And Alphabet doodles -
http://geeden.blogspot.com/2011/01/alphabet-doodles.html



I think we can write the kids names, doodle and color them in and hang them over their beds. Throw in one or two of the geometric designs and they will have a colorful, personalized space to call their own.

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Goodbye Facebook - Hello Life!

After weeks of talking about it, planning and intention, I have deleted my facebook account this morning. Even still, as I hit that submit button, my heart skipped a few beats. It felt like I was cutting off a limb. Maybe not one as useful and loved as my baby holding arms, but there was still some pain.

I know, I know, I'll get over it. :)

For anyone else considering leaving facebook you can delete your account by following these directions - http://www.wikihow.com/Permanently-Delete-a-Facebook-Account.

For those who love me and love to peak into my life, I will try to appease by blogging more. I had intentions of blogging about a few things today. But once again, I forgot the camera in my husbands car. But once he returns, I'll get on it!!!

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