Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Year's Resolution - New Blog

Dear Readers,

I have had a very nasty seed lurking in my brain for some time now. I have tried to ignore it but it keeps raising its ugly head and poking at me. It is demanding my attention. In fact, I blogged about it sometime last year, I think, but I quickly decided that this blog was definitely not the place for it.

It's not what you might think. It's far worse.

The topic: Human Trafficking.

I've started a new blog that will be dedicated to raising awareness of this terrible evil. I'm not a professional blogger and I have no experience in this field. I am simply an anti-slavery advocate that hopes I can somehow help a little in the fight against human slavery. It's a very real problem and it's happening every day in our own neighborhoods!

If you feel led, you can read my new blog, The Anti-Slavery Project. Feel free to follow if you are interested in learning more.

A Simple Christmas

We're a fairly large family and usually have so much going on that it makes my head spin...for days! With five kids, one of them with children of his own now, our household fills up quickly when we have everyone over. Normally, Christmas at our house is a very noisy production with lots and lots and lots of wrapping paper! And food.

But, this year, four of our five kids were spending Christmas somewhere else. We had only one child at home this year and let me tell you, it was a very strange feeling. Normally, Santa only brings a certain amount of gifts for each child - usually no more than 10 (one big gift and several smaller ones). This year, those 10 gifts for the one child looked rather slim under the tree. So she ended up with 15, I think. We had to remind ourselves that Christmas is not just about getting presents - it's about keeping Christ in it!

So, we decided to keep it simple this year. On Christmas Eve, we made cookies for Santa.

We got up at 8am to open gifts, then did nothing all day long but play with our child's new toys. One of our other children (Zach) and his family came over for dinner. Dinner consisted of Swedish meatballs over pasta, caesar salad (from a bag), Steamer veggies, and french bread. Dessert was a pre-made coconut cake with egg nog. It took me less than 30 minutes to make dinner.

My husband was so pleased that we're doing it again next year! We so enjoyed just being able to slow down and spend some quality time with our family rather than being in the kitchen for hours and hours and then doing piles of dishes and before you know it, the day is gone.

I have to say, there is something very special about having a very simple Christmas.

I hope all of you were able to spend some quality time with your families!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

I received this article from a friend of mine. It comes from Proverbs 31 Ministries. I loved it so much I wanted to share with you!

I Don't Want to Raise Successful Children
19 Nov 2009
Lysa TerKeurst

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

I don't want to raise successful children. That's a shocking thing to read, and a shocking thing for a mother to type. So, let me clarify.

I used to define success according to my child's report card. Good grades and academic achievement would surely equal a good child with great potential in this world. But then several of my children wound up being average students with average grades. Though we carted them off to tutors and spent many a late night at the kitchen table helping them, they remained average. And I remained concerned and frustrated.

One report card day I found myself facedown in the fibers of my carpet crying and wondering, "Where have I gone wrong as a mom?"

I dug into Scriptures. I begged God for wisdom and discernment. I prayed for God's perspective with each of my kids. Finally, one day it dawned on me - what if I simply chose to embrace the natural bent of each of my kids as God's way to protect them and keep them on the path toward His best plans for their lives?

What if my A student needs academic success to prepare her for God's plans while my average to below-average student needs to be steered away from a more academic future? What if my sports star kid needs that athletic excellence for his future assignments by God, but my benchwarmer kid is being protected from getting off course by her lack in this area?

And that's when it finally dawned on me. My job isn't to push success for my kids. My job as a parent is to recognize the unique way God created each child and point them to Jesus at every turn along their journey toward adulthood. Yes, I want my kids to learn and thrive and grow up educated, but it's not a flaw in me or them if they don't have straight A report cards and trophy cases full of sports medals.

Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it" (NIV).

I am challenged to ponder these words, "… in the way he should go." Are we training our kids that the "way he should go" is to chase worldly achievement or to chase God? Whatever they learn to chase as a child, they will chase as adults. Therefore, we must be challenged to honestly assess the way we are pointing them to go.

My daughter, Hope, is one of my average students. She has also warmed many a bench in the sports she's tried, and can always be found hiding on the back row of the stage during school concerts. Using the world's benchmarks for achievement, Hope wouldn't be seen as a child positioned for success. But God…

This past January, my 15 year old Hope, shocked me when she announced she wanted to go to Ethiopia with some missionary friends of ours and live in the remote African bush for the summer. Yes, she may not have trophies and straight A report cards but she does have a heart of gold. And because she's not entrenched in sports and academic pursuits that could have created obligations for her summer, she was free to go to Africa. Free to chase God in a really big way.

One of the first e-mails she sent me from Ethiopia read, "Mom, I've fallen in love with the AIDS orphanage children. They rushed at me when I held my arms out and I tried with all my might to hold all 30 of them at once. I love it here."

Now, don't get me wrong. I do expect Hope to return to her studies this fall, give 100% effort, and finish her high school career having done her very best. She will most likely then go to college. But she probably won't be delivering the valedictorian address or wearing the honors cords and medals. She'll be the one with a vision of a dying AIDS orphan pressing against her heart ready to chase God's plans to the ends of the earth.

So back to my original statement, I don't want to raise successful children. It's true, I don't. Though Hope's sister coming behind her is an A student and can always be found on the front row of school performances - we don't chase after success for her either. I trust God that she needs those things in her life for the plans He's unfolding in her life. We train with that bent in mind. But, we don't chase it. Just like Hope, we point her in the direction of God at every turn and pray like crazy.

I stand by what I said and I'll say it again, I don't want to raise successful children. Because--- raising God-honoring adults who will set the world on fire for Christ is just so much more rewarding.

Dear Lord, being a mom is a really tough job. Please help me, teach me and show me how to define success for my kids. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Mayhem

Got this cute idea from Harriet! Thanks, Harriet.

Monday Mayhem
Every week is something different.
Have fun!

Today's meme- Have You Would You?

For each of the prompts, you may answer with an image, a sentence or however you want to.
Simply copy and paste this into a post on your site and answer the prompts.
Be sure to list your a direct link to your post and visit the other participants.


Go Skinny Dipping?

Uh, no...You know the saying about "frightening the fish"!


Woken up somewhere that you have no idea how you got there?

Yes. I have awaken from a deep sleep and wondered where I was - then, of course, remembered that I was where I was supposed to be.


Eaten a rabbit?

No, but I've had duck!


Have a meet-up with another blogger?

Nope, not yet!


Stolen a candy bar?



Roasted a pig?

Yes, and it was quite disgusting! I'll never do that again.


Bounced a check

Sadly, yes, in leaner, younger days.


Gone for a balloon ride?

Always wanted to but since I'm afraid of heights...


Write a really cool Monday Mayhem ?

Sure, why not?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fun Friday - Let's Dance!

Today it's all about dancing! Sometimes I think we get so wrapped up in our daily routines that we forget to take moments to just let loose and enjoy being with each other. So, take this time today, turn off the tv, get off the computer, move the furniture out of the way, and turn on some music!

Dancing is a great way to relieve stress and the everyday doldrums! Plus, it's great exercise. ;)

Kids love to see their parents cut loose! I know our 4-year old absolutely loves to dance with us! See? Even dads can cut a rug!

Don't stay indoors! Take it outside and make your own music or take a portable player. Dancing outdoors feels very "freeing".

And of course, make time for your better half. Seize the moment and twirl around the yard - or wherever the fancy strikes you. A little spontaneity never hurt a marriage! :)

Happy dancing!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

5th Grade Assignment

I got this from my daughter and thought it was cute enough to share.

A fifth grade teacher in a Christian school asked her class to look at TV commercials and see if they could use them in some way to communicate ideas about God.

Here are some of the results: scroll down.

God is like.
He works miracles.

God is like..
He's got a better idea..

God is like.
He's the real thing.

God is like.
He cares enough to send His very best.

God is like.
He gets the stains out that others leave behind. ..

God is like.
He brings good things to life.

God is like.
He has everything..

God is like.
Try Him, you'll like Him

God is like.
You can't see Him, but you know He's there.

God is like..
He's ready when you are.

God is like.
You're in good hands with Him.

God is like.
VO-5 Hair Spray ;
He holds through all kinds of weather

God is like.
Aren't you glad you have Him? Don't you wish everybody did?

God is like .
Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet nor ice will keep Him from
His appointed destination.

God is like.
Chevrolet. . . .the heart beat of America
God is like
Maxwell House. . ..
Good to the very last drop

God is like.
B o u n t y . . . ..
He is the quicker picker upper. . can handle the tough jobs. ..
and He won't fall apart on you

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fun Friday - It's Just A Joke!

Our 4-year old is in to telling jokes lately. She mostly tries to tell knock-knock jokes that make no sense at all (but we laugh anyway!). I came across these this morning and thought I'd share and hopefully bring you a little laughter too. (They are NOT knock-knock jokes!)
If anyone is or has taken Spanish...these are for you. :) (You've got to have the accent!)
Spanish Words of the Day

1. *Cheese* The teacher told Pepito to use the word cheese in a sentence. Pepito replies: Maria likes me, and cheese cute.

2.. *Mushroom* When all my family get in the car there's not mushroom.

3. *Shoulder* My friend wants 2 become a citizen, but she didn't know how to read so I shoulder.

4. *Texas* When I'm not home my friend always Texas me. She wonders where I am!
5. *Wheelchair* We only have one enchilada left but don't worry wheelchair.

6. *Chicken* *wing* My wife plays the lottery so chicken wing.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fun Friday - Inside Picnic

Sometimes when the weather is cold or rainy and we can't go outside we do an indoor picnic in the living room. Our little one especially loves to do this! We think it's a great idea to gather everyone together, get them off the computer, turn off the tv and spend some quality time together.

Just clear the furniture out of the way if you need to and spread a big table cloth or a blanket on the floor. You could make it as fun and festive or sophistocated as you like.

We've done picnics with just munchies and we've done some with a full course dinner. Either way we end up having some great conversations and lots of laughter!

By the way, this picture is not our family. When deciding on this post I realized I didn't have any photos of our picnics so I found this one online here. It looks like this family does indoor picnics, too!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Carving

Ainsley is the only one of the girls that really doesn't mind getting all gooey during pumpkin carving. Mommy certainly doesn't like it! It's become a favorite time for her and Daddy.

Like father, like daughter.... She always wants to be just like Daddy. It's so cute!

Our front porch this year. I sure do need some pretty flowers or something in my flower bed, huh? And some grass would be nice. Used to have some there...

Be safe this Trick-or-Treating season, y'all!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Youth Fall Retreat

I have to brag and say I'm a member of one of the best churches - CrossPointe Church in Valdosta Georgia. The people there are authentic, true believers in Jesus Christ. One of the things I love about this church is its very awesome youth group. Rarely have I seen a youth group as strong as this one.

This past weekend the Youth Pastor, Michael, along with his lovely wife, April, and several youth leaders gathered all the youth together for a Fall Retreat in the woods. It took place at a local Christian-based campground and they spent the weekend in fellowship and worship.

This is a beautiful, old chapel that was moved to the camp ground years ago.

These are the youth leaders....really, just a bunch of big kids! LOL!

This is a gorgeous outdoor sanctuary. The kids didn't use it this weekend - it was a little chilly and rainy, but I thought it was beautiful and wanted to capture it.

Most of the pews in the outdoor sanctuary were donated. This one was in memory of the man whose family the camp is named for, Ben Tygart.

I was lucky enough to be a volunteer for serving these awesome kids their meals, but I wasn't able to attend Sunday morning's activities since I had duties at the church. Several moms who were able to attend to breakfast that morning, however, told the story of an incredible time of worship.

Michael preached about The Lord's Supper and how and why Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. And to press home the message, the pastor and youth leaders, to the surprise of the all kids, washed the feet of every teenager there! From what I heard, it was such an emotional outpouring that soon the teens were reciprocating and washing the feet of their pastor and youth leaders.

Of course, the moms present all gathered back in the kitchen to cry the "ugly" cry!

Here is the pastor's wife, April, taking a moment to pose with my two daughters, Elizabeth and Leah, and Leah's boyfriend, Logan.

And, of course, the girls' dad had to get in on the action. I'm sure Logan was thinking, "This man is nuts!"

And so, this post is dedicated to Pastor Michael and his wife April, to the awesome youth leaders! Thank you so much for what you do for our children. We love you!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

US Naval Academy Jump Rope Girls

If you haven't seen these girls yet, you've GOT to check this out. The video is about 8 minutes long but you'll be very entertained.

I can't imagine the work these young girls put into this! It is truly amazing!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fun Friday

I saw this while doing some research on some fun things to do. I actually had another idea but I'll post that for next week. ;)

My youngest, A, loves to paint. I thought, "What a great way to spend a Friday!"

Gather up any large piece of material you can find - cardboard, butcher paper, fabric - and paints. You might want to make sure they are water based so they clean up easy! Wear old clothes or a paint smock and then just let them go to town!

In my experience this is best done outdoors!

If being outdoors is not an option you could do a smaller version of this inside. Just spread out a bunch of newspaper on the kitchen floor or an old table (we use an old folding table that we set up in the kitchen). As long as she is not flinging the paint across the room I let her have free reign for artistic expression.

It's fun to see what they'll come up with!



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Little Chores

So, even with a total of five kids, I was wondering when I should start making my 4-year old do chores. Thinking back, I remembered that I had started teaching my boys (who are now 21 and 22) how to do their own laundry at age 8. This was when they were old enough to reach the knobs on the washer and dryer without using a stool. <<>>

I didn't want to overburden A (the 4-year old) with too many chores to start out with. I could always overburden later, right? (just kidding!) I remembered seeing a tv show about a homeschool family with more kids the me (not the Duggars) and how the mom used charts to organize everything they did, including the chores for each child. <<>>

With A, I knew I couldn't just give her a chart to follow. She needed to feel like she was doing something important. So, I went to our local teacher supply store and bought a laminated chort chart.

I listed three things that she has to do everyday: Make her bed, brush her teeth, and pick up her toys. I chose these three things because 1) I want her to have a sense of ownership with her own room - hence the bed making, 2) sometimes she forgets to brush her teeth and with everything else going on around here I forget to tell her to do it, and 3) she ALWAYS has toys scattered around the house and her room tends to look like a tornado hit it!
I also added one more chore to three days of the week: Shake out bathroom rugs (I figured this was something fairly easy she could do), bring her laundry basket to the laundry room on her day for laundry (I don't make her actually do it yet!), and straighten the movies on the shelf. I think this will get her used to doing "house" chores like her sisters do.
So far, for her first three days it's working out great. After she does her chore she comes and puts a check mark next to that chore. And she's EXCITED about doing it!

She even asked me yesterday why there were no chores listed on Sunday! Of course, I told her that Sunday was God's day and we would just concentrate on Him alone that day.

If I'd known she would be so amenable to doing chores I'd have started at age 2!


Fall Treats

While doing a search for some fall recipes I came across these and they looked and sounded so yummy I wanted to share!

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

(Who doesn't like apple butter???)


1 cup apple butter
1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
3 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine apple butter, pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices in a bowl. Stir in eggs. Gradually add milk and mix well. Pour into pie shell. Bake for about 40 minutes or until set.

Cook's Notes:
-If the crust begins to burn, place tin foil around the crust and lower the temperature of the oven.
-A tasty topping for this pie is praline pecans.

Pumpkin Waffles with Maple Walnut Apples


1 cup cake flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup melted shortening (transfat-free)
1 large egg
1 large egg white

2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 crisp apples, peeled and sliced thinly
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup toasted walnuts


Special equipment: standard 4 x 4-inch waffle iron

For the waffles: Preheat a waffle iron to medium heat.
Whisk the flour, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder, spice and salt together in a large bowl.
Beat together the milk, pumpkin, melted butter, and melted shortening, egg and egg white, in a large measuring cup. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Whisk together to make a slightly lumpy batter.

For the topping: Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the apples and let cook until slightly browned, but still crisp, about 4 minutes. Add the maple syrup and walnuts and toss to coat.

Pour and spread about 1 cup batter into the waffle iron. Cover and cook until crisp and a rich golden brown, about 7 minutes. (Try to resist the temptation to open the waffle iron too soon. Steam will puff out of the iron while the waffles cook, when this stops the waffle is cooked.) Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve hot with the apples.
Halloween Treats: Saw this short video clip on Food Network (dot) com and thought these were cute.
These receipes came from They have some really great ideas for the holidays!

Homeschool 101 - College Bound

Several months ago I started a second blog - Homeschool 101 - and had really great intentions for it! I wanted to introduce homeschool families to other homeschool families, educate people about homeschooling, provide tips and networking, and other stuff. Much to my chagrin - although I shouldn't have been surprised - I couldn't keep up with both of my blogs and everything else I had going on. So, I recently decided that instead of getting rid of Homeschool 101 altogether, I would incorporate it into this one. What a novel idea, I know!

So, each Tuesday I will have something related to Homeschool 101 and I hope it will be a help to all you homeschoolers out there. I'm constantly getting questions about this or that from new or prospective homeschool families.

This week's the topic is: Homeschooling & College

I got a call a couple of days ago from the University of North Carolina - Greensboro. Since I'm listed as the president and founder of the South Georgia Homeschool Association I tend to get calls like this from time to time. But it just proved to me that colleges are LOOKING for homeschoolers. In order to find my contact information, this college had to search homeschooling sites. They were looking for us!

Why? In their words, they look for homeschoolers because they know we tend to be very self-disciplined and independent learners by the time we reach high school.

So - as a homeschooler How Do You Get Into College?

1. Keep good records. There are several good ways to do this.

  • Use a software program like Homeschool Tracker, Homeschool Easy Records, etc.

  • Keep a binder with tabs for Subjects, Reading Logs, Activity Logs, Extra Curricular Activities. A good source for forms is Donna Young.

  • Create your own tracking system using Excel or Word.

We have done all of these methods. It just depends on what you think works best for your family. If you would rather just input information using a computer use a software program. These also help you create your own lesson plans.

Keep in mind that each of these methods takes times and planning. But in the long run, when your child is ready to take that step toward college you'll be prepared!

2. Keep a Portfolio. Many universities like to see the work the child has done. Keep samples of writing and other work done by the student. Here are a few ideas of things to put in the portfolio:

  • Samples of work
  • Copies of Attendance reports

  • Reading Logs

  • Logs for Outside Activities, Clubs, etc.


Here's an article about keeping Electronic Portfolios.

3. Standardized Tests. Many universities will require a student to have the SAT or ACT. It's best to try to take the test in the spring of their Junior year. This will provide them time to work on weak areas. Then, the student can retest in the fall of their senior year.

Many times a student can choose a 2-year community or technical college to start with and they won't be required to have an SAT or ACT. Most times all that will be required is that the student take the college's entrance exam (like the Compass test) like all other students. (Three of my five children either have or will do this at our local technical college)

Here's a great article by The HomeScholar about taking the SATs.

4. Check Your College. The best way to discover what colleges want from a homeschool student is to contact the college of your choice. Different colleges have different policies regarding homeschool students so it's best to find out first hand what they require.

And in case you're wondering which colleges accept homeschool students, here's a list for you! You may be surprised.

Colleges that accept homeschool students

Please let me know what you're questions or concerns are regarding homeschooling, especially if you're new to it or just considering it. I'll have a different topic each week, so check back often!

If you have questions on the current topic please email me and I'll be happy to try to answer them!



Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Twirl Factor

Oh, the joys of being a girl.

Ainsley loves to twirl and even better than twirling.... twirling with a twirly skirt. :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fun Friday

I thought this little craft was so cute. I found it on this website. It doesn't list all of the instructions but it looks pretty easy to me. The kit came from Oriental Trading. I don't think you actually need to use the kit unless you're like me sometimes and don't want to have to search for the materials. But, I have to admit, occassionally it's fun to do that. Ainsley likes to pick out her own materials at times.

By the way, if you haven't been to the Oriental Trading website - you . should . go!! There are a ton of great things on there for a bargain - you know, we homeschoolers love a great bargain!

Here's the product list for the Scarecrow Craft:

Product: Wood Craftstick Scarecrow Banner Craft Kit

Category: Fun Fall Crafts

KidsAge: preschool, kindergarten, elementary: grade 1 - grade 6
(for searching on Oriental Trading)

A fun craft to make with kids out of craft sticks and craft foam. Mr. Scarecrow can warmly greet your guests if hung on your door!

Supplies needed (substitutes may be used):

Craft sticks
Googly eyes
Hat pattern
Flower pattern
Mouth pattern
Nose pattern
Yellow ribbon
Brown craft foam
Orange craft foam
Yellow craft foam
Blue craft foam
Permanent Marker

The kit comes with complete instructions, of course, but I know so many of you wouldn't need them - you're just creative like that! - and you could come up with your own super-cool patterns!

Here are some other cute craft kits I found at Oriental Trading.

Thought this one was adorable! It's made out of wood and can be decorated however your heart desires!

Happy crafting, y'all!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Perry Georgia State Fair

We went to the State Fair in Perry Georgia this past weekend -look who we met! This is my husband's favorite police officer. ;) There's something to be said for small town policing, I can tell you. It's too bad we don't have more Mayberrys these days.

The weather was great for a fair. Hot and muggy! We actually expected it to be overcast but, alas, no, not for us.

This was a sign I just had to get a shot of. It was displayed proudly outside the bungee jump contraption that my four year old daughter JUST.HAD.TO.DO!! See pic below....

Here's a cute shot of one of my other daughters and her boyfriend who went with us. He won her this big bear that she named "Jeff" and later won her a little green frog, too. How sweet and mushy is that?!

And, here's me with the 4-year old again.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Value of Friends

I have another subject that I'm going to post on today, but this topic really came to my attention this weekend and I felt a need to express it.

For the past couple of weeks I've had some medical issues I've been dealing with. I ended up in the emergency room on Saturday. Without going into all the details, which is not what this post is about, I was reminded of what fantastic people I have surrounding me. It brings me to tears to think that God has given these people into my life and that they each have a purpose there. It is still so amazing to me when I have a moment of clarity and see His hand on a situation and all the people He touches and brings together for a specific purpose.

So, to my friends who were there for me these last few days, thank you from the bottom of my heart....


and I don't want to leave out a new special person who has added his prayers along with his mother's, Logan - my daughter's sweet new boyfriend.

I am so blessed beyond measure to have all of you in my life. What a true gift from God! - even you Jeanne! ;)