Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Click n Read

A couple months ago, we signed up for Click n Read to help cement phonics rules for Isaac. Since he already knows how to read, I started him in the middle and he's done great! And it's really helping him. Yay! Recently I also began Daniel and Lydia on Click n Read as a fun start to reading. They just love it! Don't tell them they're learning, they just think they're playing a computer game. I am so impressed with this program. FINALLY learning to read isn't boring and tedious! And for the most part, they do it totally on their own, freeing me up to focus on another child's long division. Oh joy!

And Click n Read has given me the ability to offer Clark Chatter readers a special offer:

If you go to Click n Kids (they have a phonics & a spelling program) and are interested in either, you can get 20% off the low price of home programs when you use this promotional code:

Monday, August 29, 2011

How Is Saving Money Fun??

When you hear the word "frugal", do you cringe? Does it make you think of cutting back, making do, and living with less? Saving money is FUN!
  • When I bought a $75 Ann Taylor skirt for a mere $3 at the thrift store, that was fun!
  • When we took the whole family out for dinner on "Kids Eat Free" night and spent only $20 for the eight of us, that was fun!
  • When we found an almost-new chest freezer for just $50 on Craigslist, that was really fun!
  • When we borrow DVDs from the library instead of paying for them elsewhere, that savings is fun!
  • When I scored a $30 book for $2 at a used book sale, that was fun!
Frugality is no respecter of persons. Rich and poor alike enjoy the benefits of saving money. This is the beginning of a series of articles about saving money. I hope you enjoy it and learn something along the way!

Have you saved money this week? Tell me about your latest bargain!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

School for Free

I am a tightwad. It's true. No denying it. And homeschool is no exception. I don't buy what I can get for free, whether it's from the library or online. Here are my favorite places to get free audio schooling:

ESV Audio Bible - totally free. We use this to help us memorize scripture. (scroll to bottom of page) and Books Should Be - Gobs of free books from the public domain. Think: classic literature.

Blue Behemoth - trustworthy, downloadable audio and video content for the Christian family. One or two free downloads daily.

Christian Audio - a new free book download offered every month.

My Audio School - classic books, old-time radio theater, historical radio, and television broadcasts; all organized by time period.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's Official!!

We have a new nephew and cousin!! Read the awesome story here.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Go-To Herbs

I got this email over the weekend and thought I'd do just as asked:

I was wondering if you could tell me what your go-to herbs are for sickness(I'm wanting to prepare for winter). What do you always have on hand and what do you use them for? Maybe you could do a thorough blog post about it;)

Your wish is my command. These are the ones we use all the time:

GSE- This is our antibiotic - we use it as a preventative when we're going on trips, and as a treatment for any kind of virus. It can also be used for fungal infections as well.

Sambucus - Given alongside GSE for colds and coughs. It's an echinacea & elderberry syrup that boosts the immune system.
Emergen-C - Ok, it's not an herb, it's vitamin C in a packet. All sickies get one. We call it Vitamin C juice.
Horehound Extract - For preventing ear infections when child has a nasty cold; or treating ear infections.
Bentonite- For all stomach ills. Whichever end it's coming out of, this will cure it. (Sorry to be gross; I wanted to be clear what it's used for.)

Peppermint - For upset stomachs, drink this tea.
Tea Tree Oil - for any kind of fungus (ringworm, athlete's foot, etc.). Rub a drop or two on it. The fungal infection will disappear in a matter of days.

Wondering how to use herbs? Here's a reminder.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why Herbs?

Why choose herbs instead of drugs?
  1. Herbs were created by God for healing and nutrition. Drugs are synthetic forms of all that God made.
  2. God knows better than man. Always.
  3. Drug antibiotics frequently result in recurrences of the illness. The earlier they are given, the greater the chance of recurrence.
  4. Drugs treat symptoms; herbs heal. Think about meds given for reflux, for instance. They make the symptoms stop, but do not heal the problem causing the reflux. So the reflux is still present and still problematic, even if you can't feel it.
  5. Herbs are cheaper.
  6. Herbs are just as straightforward as drugs. If you can learn the difference between Tylenol and Tums, you can learn what herb to use for what problem too.
This is my favorite book for learning about herbs. This is the one I keep going back to:

Monday, August 15, 2011


I got an anonymous comment recently on my Everything On My Mind post. Someone really didn't like that it made me sad when institutionalized children are put into government schools all day every day. She thought I was being judgmental.

I would like to clarify that to judge someone is to make an assumption about the motives behind what they do. To judge does not mean to look down upon.

Neither of these is how I feel about parents whose children are in public schools. I do not make any negative assumptions about why they public school, nor do I look down on them.

I feel very sad for children who are brought up in orphanages and then their adoptive families feel the need to place them in public schools for 8 hours Monday through Friday. I am sad for those children. That is not the same thing as saying I think ill of the parents. I do not.

I tend to think that most parents who choose government education do so because it's what they know.

The commenter who did not want to be known stated that all parents do what they think is best for their children. I think that is a really big assumption to make. In my experience, many parents don't think about educational options or what they think is the very best for their child. They just do what they know.

And I do not look down on them for that.

For my first three children, I never considered any other option other than disposable diapers. Cloth diapers never even occurred to me. I didn't know why parents would choose that and it didn't sound at all desirable. When I was pregnant with Lydia, I started looking into options. I really started researching it. Suddenly, I didn't just do what I knew. In the end, I chose cloth diapering for the financial savings.

With Julia and with this baby, I know all the options and I have chosen disposables again. lol Do you look down on me for my choice? Are you making assumptions about why I chose disposables instead of cloth? Yea, I doubt it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

How Twins Are Made

So this is how they do it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Everything On My Mind

I've had a lot of emotions swirling through my head lately about adoption. Is it just me or do all women have way too much on their minds all the time? lol

Things that make me sad:
  • People who weren't at all excited about our adoption, but who have been thrilled with our pregnancy announcements since then. That really hurts. What was it about our adoptees that wasn't worth celebrating as well?
  • The silence and privacy that exist in adoptive communities. Adoptive families don't feel safe being honest about their unique issues.
  • Children who are adopted and then put in public school all day every day. You just adopted them out of an institution; please oh please don't put them back in one.
Things that concern me:
  • Maya and Isaac's grammar. When is it going to be easier for them? (I've learned that adoptees of foreign language-speaking countries learn English at a much quicker rate than children who grow up learning improper English. My kids aren't learning a new language; they're unlearning the wrong way of speaking it.)
  • Isaac's anxiety. He forever fears getting in trouble or being wrong, although both are rare for him. His extreme perfectionism really brings me to my knees for him.
  • Isaac's language skills. Vocabulary building has been a painfully slow process for him. There are still an awful lot of phrases he just doesn't understand yet.
Things I'm really proud of:
  • Maya's domestic skills. That girl is just good at everything related to the home. She loves to bake, she can confidently cook all of our dinners, she knits, she sews by hand (working on machine sewing), she enjoys cleaning. Good grief, she's amazing!
  • Isaac's desire to be a gentleman. He gets upset if I get the stroller out of the van instead of letting him do it. He always opens doors for us. He's a great hubby & daddy in the making.
  • Daniel's love for me. His impulsiveness gets him in more trouble than any other Clark, but that boy bounces back quick with a smile and a hug. Impresses the heck out of me.
  • The passion all of my kids have for adoption. They see the great need and the great value. I'm so thankful.

Friday, August 5, 2011

More Creative Vocabulary by Maya

Maya: You owe me some bacons.
Me: What does that mean?
Maya: You know- dollars.
Me: Where did you hear that?
Maya: Mr. Incredible says: Bye Honey, I'm going to bring home the bacon!
Me: Ah, gotcha!

Kyle and I were watching a movie about British kings when the kids came downstairs for hugs and kisses before bedtime. As soon as Maya heard the British accents, she started giggling.
Kyle: What's so funny, Maya?
Maya: I just love the way they talk. It's so. . . so revine!
Me: What does revine mean?
Maya: It's my own made-up word. You don't want to know what it means.
Elena: I think you mean divine, Maya.
Maya: Right. Divine.

Maya's personal language is just so very close to English, it's often hard for us to tell if she's saying words correctly or not. The other night, we were talking about our upcoming trip to Colorado and Maya said, in her fancy schmancy made-up accent:

I can't wait to go to Coderado!

We couldn't tell if she was just trilling too many letters or if she really wasn't saying it right. We asked her to repeat it.

Maya: Coderado? (She's unsure because she knows we hear something wrong.)
Kyle: How do you spell Colorado?
Maya: C O T E R . . .

In unison, Kyle and I said: Ohhhhhh! No wonder you're saying it that way!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Other Baby Lover

Out of all my (biological) girls, Julia is the only one who truly loves baby dolls at her young age. I have always wanted my girls to love their baby dolls, but that always came much later.
Aside from "Daddy" (and we're not going to talk about the fact that she said his name almost a full year before mine), one of Julia's first words was "baby".

She says it all the time. As soon as she finishes a meal, she looks around and asks: Baby? Baby?
If I lay her baby down, she looks to make sure she knows what I've done with it before moving on.
She loves to point out her babies' eyes, nose, ears, and mouth.
She carries her babies absolutely everywhere and I just love it!

I am hoping that this baby love will translate to her baby sister or brother.

I am also hoping she doesn't poke her baby sibling in the eye.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Maya the Motherly

Maya absolutely adores Julia. Someone at church asked her if she was excited about having another baby in the house and her smile spread from ear to ear as she answered. This girl was just made for motherhood. Julia calls me Mommy, and calls Maya "Mama". I choose to believe it's just the way she pronounces Maya.

This was one of the pictures we got of Maya prior to her adoption:

They referred to Maya as a junior nanny at the orphanage. No wonder why.
When we told the kids we were expecting another baby, you would have thought that we were doing it just for the kids. They were all so excited about the news. But Maya. . . Well, Maya was a different story. She was absolutely beside herself.
I look forward to many beautiful grandchildren from my beautiful Maya.