Friday, July 31, 2009

Signs of Summer

How cool is that? Locusts (or are they cicadas? I can never figure that out.) are a tell-tale sign of summer around these parts. That buzzing sound at night lets you know the locusts are alive and well and it's truly summertime.
The kids were in awe as we watched this one slide out of it's shell and crawl away. He was in no hurry to get away from my camera. I think he enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame.

And the fruit! Oh, the glorious fruit! (And the glorious produce sales! Yeehaw!) We mixed up watermelon, blueberries, and cherries and put a bit of blueberry yogurt on top. It was a great start to the day. I love fruity breakfasts.
I went through a phase there about a month ago when I was downing a watermelon every couple of days (and not sharing it!) It settled my stomach for some reason. Now, normally, I love watermelon, but it's only in pregnancy that my sweet hubby will indulge me in that much of it!
Nevermind what they say. You can't have too much of a good thing.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Parenting & Family Books I Love

Ask and you shall receive. These are my favorites:

A survival guide for toddlerhood and beyond.

(The Ministry of Motherhood)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Crazy Love

A few months ago at a homeschool seminar, Carole Joy Seid highly recommended this book. She asked the audience if anyone had read it and one lady spoke up. She said, "It was a great book. My only caveat was: it made me question whether I'm really a Christian." At the time, I thought: And why is that a bad thing?? I haven't been able to get her statement out of my head since because I thought it was so sad. But since reading this book, I'm even more depressed for her. Clearly she didn't get it.
The title is very telling. "Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God" by Pastor Francis Chan. I really can't recommend this book highly enough. Please run out and get it first chance you get.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cook Along

So, the Clark girls decided to make quiche for dinner. We all just love quiche. And thanks to all those sweating chickens in the backyard, it's a pretty cheap meal.

First, I buttered the bottom of the dishes. Then put half a pound of browned sausage into each. I'm already salivating. (It doesn't take much for me, these days.)

Then we put roughly 4 oz. cheese on top of that. Pepper jack in one, because I think everything is better with pepper jack, and sharp cheddar in the other, because sharp is the only way to go. (I get my way around here.)

I cubed the cheese because I'm too lazy to shred it (and Isaac, our cheese man, was busy helping Kyle with some manly project.) Lydia was in charge of stirring the egg mixture: 12 eggs, 3 cups of milk, and 4 Tbs of butter.

Maya did a superb job of pouring the egg mix over the sausage and cheese. Look how happy cooking makes her!

Daniel put the spinach on top because he wanted to be in a picture, but the picture didn't turn out well. Sorry, Daniel. (He'll never know, so don't tell him.) Then I punched down those gorgeous green leaves, so they wouldn't burn.

Finished product. But we did add salsa on top to spice it up a bit. It was delicious! And see, I'm not the only one salivating now.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Asking the Hard Questions, pt. 5

Do you love and desire fellowship with other believers?

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. ~1 John 2:9

Thursday, July 23, 2009

How I Got Here, Part 3

When Elena and Chloe were still preschoolers, my plan was to work part-time while they attended private school. But God changed my heart. He taught me that children truly are a blessing and motherhood is a valuable ministry. I realized that I couldn’t truly disciple my children if they were under the influence of others the majority of their day.

The questions for me then were: What and how am I going to teach them?

At the first homeschool bookfair I attended, I was completely overwhelmed by the number of choices of curricula available. Why do so many people think that a teacher must know everything in order to teach it to someone else? Have they forgotten that their teachers used answer keys to grade their papers? At the private school I attended, I learned almost no fine arts. I could not have explained how Picasso and Van Gogh were different. But with my handy dandy library card, I can teach my kids all about van Gogh’s blue and rose periods and Picasso’s cubism. With the MathUSee dvds, I can teach basic algebra to my 2nd grader. With any number of phonics books, I can follow the scripts and teach my children to be successful readers.

I love that I am learning right along with my kids. All through school, I never understood the point of learning history. It was just a bunch of names and dates and places that had no meaning to me. (Thank you, textbooks.) But I am learning so much about our interesting world history through all the living books I read to my children. Just by pointing out the places we read about in the books we read, I now have excellent geography skills. Homeschooling has given me a second chance at a quality education.

Asking the Hard Questions, pt. 4

Do you desire to walk like Christ? Or do you identify with the world?

Whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked. ~1 John 2:6

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Asking the Hard Questions, pt. 3

Do you desire to know His commands and obey them?

By this we know that we have come to know Him:if we keep His commandments. Whoever says "I know Him" but does not keep His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him. ~1 John 2:3-4

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Asking the Hard Questions, pt. 2

Are you sensitive to sin? Are you led to confess and repent from your sin?

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. ~1 John 1:8

Monday, July 20, 2009

Asking the Hard Questions

1 John is known as the book of assurance. Tests of our faith give us assurance whether we have been born again or not. Test yourself: does your life contradict or confirm your profession of Christianity?

Does your style of life reflect God's character?

If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. ~1 John 1:6

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Silver Skates

We just finished reading this beautiful rendition of the children's classic. (I have come to love Bruce Coville as he writes childrens' picture books of many of the well known Shakespeare plays.) We all really loved the story of Hans Brinker, so of course we had to check out the movie. It's one of those "back when Disney was still good and decent" films. It was truly a treat. A very sweet family movie.

See if your library has them & let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I Miss You!

I can not believe I've gone more than a week without blogging! I feel like a new woman! About a month ago I got rid of my BlogHer ads because a couple people said my blog looked like a billboard. And frankly, I wasn't enjoying the pressure to blog almost daily in order to up my little paycheck. Ah the freedom of blogging when I want to and not answering to anyone. But I digress. . .

The first trimester of this pregnancy was harder than any of my others. And I'm not complaining. I have always had very easy pregnancies, but this one (for me) hasn't been. A couple weeks ago, I got past the "eating day and night" phase. My goodness, that wore me out!! I kept whining: I'm tired, I don't want to eat! But Peanut wouldn't listen. That three inch babe was a glutton, I tell you!

I will get back to my How I Got Here series, just as soon as my mental energy returns. Last week, we started back to schooling full time (we had an extended Half Time due to Peanut's demands) and honestly, I'm pretty mentally taxed by the end of the day. The kids have gotten used to playing games with me in a reclined position and my frequent belching in the middle of our read-alouds. I'll just be glad when I can brush my teeth without gagging!

Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How I Got Here, Part 2

Reading The Mission of Motherhood, I understood for the first time that my children are my greatest blessings and there is no higher calling or more important job than raising my disciples. I don't need to leave my house in order to do ministry. Everyday, in the way I serve, teach, and train my children, I am investing in disciples for Christ. This does not mean that our call to evangelize the lost is belittled, but those who say that moms of littles can't do ministry are missing the point entirely.

When I understood that raising my disciples for the Lord Jesus was my most important calling, then my view of working changed completely. Suddenly, I understood what a terrible thing I was doing by allowing others to spend more time and thus have more influence over the children the Lord had given to me.

Having decided that I didn't want to delegate my parenting to someone else, even for a few hours of each day, it wasn't a stretch for me to see that sending my kids off to school each day was to do the same thing. I would once again be delegating my job to someone else, so that they could spend more time, have more influence, and ultimately disciple my children. All so that my children could be taught by "the experts". But experts in what? There is no one more expert on my children than me. I know how they think. I understand their weaknesses and strengths. So my only obstacle was in finding curriculum to teach them. I didn't realize how easy that task would become.

To be continued again. . .

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Go Get This Book

I picked up this book at the library yesterday and we could hardly wait to read it after I'd flipped through a couple of pages. Very cute book with a hilarious ending.
Check it out!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Me Time

I do not need time to myself in order to be a good mother. In fact, selflessness is the whole point of mothering. However, I have nothing against spending some occasional time away from my children. For instance, twice a month I get together with other homeschool moms for coffee and dessert. We all feed our hubbies and kids and then disappear, leaving the daddies in charge of bedtime. You can't convince me that I should feel some type of guilt for leaving my children with their daddy. Most of the time though, I get my social time in while my children are with me. I'll meet with a friend or two and we'll chit chat for a couple of hours while our kids play together. I'm very picky about who I do this with, in order to guard the influence my children are around.

Once a week, we have a date night swap. One week, we babysit; the next week, we have a date. Kyle and I also have frequent home dates, when we send the kids upstairs to play together while we have a date in the living room. We may order out and enjoy our dinner just the two of us or we may just sit and have tea and dessert together. Not even the kids' occasional cries of how much they want to be with us make us feel guilty for our date nights. Our marriage is the most important aspect of our parenting.

I did feel guilty for leaving my children with people I didn't really know in order to go to work though, and I only worked part-time. God has not called me to be the provider for my family. He has called me to be a keeper at home. While my salary gave us more financial freedom, I found it very unfulfilling to be outside God's perfect plan for moms.

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
-Titus 2:3

Thursday, July 2, 2009

How I Got Here, Part 1

When Elena and Chloe were little, all my friends were talking about educational choices for their kids. It was the new hot topic. I had planned to work part-time, so the girls could go to a Christian school. (Back then, we had 2 kids with no plans for any more.) I laughed when people suggested homeschooling. I wasn't one of those moms who enjoyed being with my kids all day; how could I possibly have the patience to homeschool them??

I had a very hard time adjusting to being the mother of two. In fact, it was so hard for me, I went back to work so that I could put them in Mother's Day Out. I needed some Me Time! I just knew some time away each day would help me adjust.

But it didn't. It made it worse. When I was at work, I was thinking about my kids and when I was at home, I was thinking about my duties at work. I was never fully engaged in either.

Then a mentor friend gave me a copy of The Mission of Motherhood and I began to understand for the first time the value of motherhood and the blessing of my children. Kyle and I decided that I should quit work and stay at home with my girls. It took time, but being fully engaged at home allowed me to adjust to motherhood and I became more commited to my role as mother.

To be continued. . .

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Which Comes First: The College or the Wedding?

I mentioned in a recent blog post that the concept of waiting to have kids until you've been married several years is a crock. It's selfishness; it has nothing to do with creating a strong foundation. Children make us holy, because they strip away our selfishness. That's a good thing.
But let's back up to the wedding. I have seen so many young Christians in love who are told to wait until they have finished college before they get married. What do we communicate to our children when we say that? We are letting them know that we place more value on their careers than their marriages. I've been listening to this fantastic sermon by Voddie Baucham. He gives a great analogy for the temptation we put our children in when we devalue marriage. King Solomon fell into sexual sin; King David fell into sexual sin; and Samson fell into sexual sin. Do we really expect our children to stay in a commited relationship for a couple of years while they finish college, when it will require them to be wiser than Solomon , more godly than King David, and stronger than Samson??
The Bible says, "He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord." (Proverbs 18:22) The same favor is not promised to those who postpone marriage to pursue a college degree. Do we teach our children to be temporally-minded when we communicate to them that their degrees are more important than their marriages?