Thursday, October 30, 2014

If a Mama Tries to Clean Her Desk

I cannot function properly with disorganization and mess everywhere. My home is just over 3,000 square feet and about 2,500 of it is a mess right now! Every room makes my eye twitch. Coming down the particle covered stairs makes me squint and grit my teeth. I have roughly 6 baskets of clean clothes in my bedroom waiting to be put away. Did I mentioned my homeschool planner has gone… unplanned?

Yeah, my home is in complete chaos right now.

Overwhelmed? Definitely. I don’t know where to start. When I finally do get some semblance of a cleaning plan going…

I will start cleaning off my desk (because the piles have taken over and the actual desk is no longer visible) and find a book that belongs on one of the bookshelves. So I take the book to the bookshelf and find the bookshelf to be in complete disarray. I start to reorganize the bookshelf and figure I might as well dust while I’m here. So I go to the kitchen to get my dusting supplies but of course when Mom enters the kitchen, the toddlers think it’s snack time. After making some peanut butter and crackers, I walk into the pantry to put the snack items back and notice the dryer has stopped running. I pull the clothes from the dryer and put them in a basket to be folded but realize I have no hangers with which to hang the clothes! Upstairs I go to get hangers and realize I forgot to make my bed. I quickly make my bed and in the process find tiny socks, hair ties and what I believe to be a partially eaten graham cracker (?).  While in the bathroom to put / throw those things a way I see the stockpile of diapers which reminds me the downstairs basket (where we keep diapering paraphernalia) is running low and needs refilling. I grab some diapers and head back downstairs to put them in the basket. In the basket I find the post-its I’ve been looking for for over a week! With joy I take my newly found post-its to my desk (and this time put them out of toddler reach), which is when I realize I was supposed to be cleaning my desk…

Yep. That happened.

I’m not the only one, right???

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday {10/29/14}

Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls DVD {a Crew Review}

The Dead Sea Scrolls. What do you know about them? Before this review, I didn’t know much. In my mind they were perfectly rolled scrolls with dark red ribbons securing them that had been discovered somewhere near the Dead Sea. After viewing Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls, a Christian DVD by New Liberty Videos, I realized I was more than a bit wrong! I watched the video first by myself and then invited two of my children (12 and 15) to watch it with me. The films are rated for a general audience, however, I believe it would be best suited for ages 12 and up. The subject matter is a bit too grown up for anyone under that age. Not that it is inappropriate in any manner, it would just be over their heads.
Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls is broken into three parts and is filmed live in front of a small audience.
Part 1 – Dead Sea Scrolls with Joel Lampe (about 20 minutes)
In this segment Mr. Lampe discusses how the scrolls, or more accurately the 19,000 pieces of the scrolls, were found by a 12 year old shepherd (isn’t it great how God uses people, even little people? J ) in the caves of Qumran. The 19,000 pieces have since been reassembled into 800 different scrolls, 600 were non-biblical and the other 200 were Old Testament scrolls. Thanks to the advancement of infrared, scholars have been able to verify the pieces have been put together correctly and read pieces that were unreadable before. The archeology, history and geography discussed in this segment is very fast-paced but also very interesting. I greatly enjoy history in all forms. Mr. Lampe has several visual aids to help you grasp the concepts. Albeit quick, it’s very informational and well done.
Part 2 – Hebrew Word Pictures with Dr. Frank T. Seekins (about 10 minutes)
Mr. Seekins reviews the Hebrew language and teaches his audience how to read and speak some of the language. The main concept of this segment is that the Hebrew language does what no other language does, it can be read or written in two ways- sounds and pictures. Learning about the beautiful-relationship based language was intriguing. I had no idea Hebrew was like that! The segment definitely left me wanting to learn more!
Part 3 – The Forbidden Book by Craig Lampe (about 30 minutes)
This segment begins with Constantine and his ending of the Christian persecution in the 4th century. Did you know he refused to build a church on Roman ground because of the paganism? Instead, he chose to build a church on the very ground which Andrew, the apostle, was martyred. That city became known as the Byzantine Empire. Mr. Lampe goes through the history of the church from the 4th century to the 16th century. The dark ages and its tyranny is covered in detail.
After the tyranny was over, John Wycliffe set out to write the Bible in a language everyone could read and use- Middle English. To say the task was impossible would be putting it lightly. He had only corrupted Latin texts to work from. He did the best he could and when he did finish Bibles, they were so expensive that only the wealthy could purchase them. Wycliffe so wanted the people to hear the Gospel he would write scriptures on sheep’s skin and send boys into the market place to read what he had written. Wycliffe’s most prominent message was “The just shall live by faith!” (Hebrews 10:38)
Much more is covered in this segment, ending with Martin Luther, Tyndale and Christ.
Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls is available for $19.95 (plus $4.00 domestic shipping)
My bottom line
The film is extremely informational. The speakers do a great job of conveying their topics in the time allowed. I do wish there was more about the actual scrolls and the history that goes along with them, but overall we enjoyed the film very much and would highly recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about these ancient history topics.
Thank you New Liberty Videos for this opportunity!
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Monday, October 27, 2014

Their Name is Today book review {a Flyby Review} PLUS Giveaway

I have read more "parenting" books than I can count. I'd venture to say that more than half of the books I've bought in the past 5 years (other than curriculum) have been ones that I thought would help me be a better wife and mommy. Some I have read more than once, others I may not have even made it halfway through before determining it wasn't exactly what I was looking for.

Why do I buy those kinds of books? Simple. I'm imperfect. I have bad habits. I forget to be thankful for every moment these little (and big) ones and I share. I've never dealt with a sixteen year old before. My three year old is more strong-willed than I could have ever imagined him being.

The list goes on and on...

You hear people saying that they wished kids came with a How-to Manual. In part, they do. The Bible is chock-full of thou shalls and thou shall nots.
Unfortunately, not every possible circumstance or dilemma is covered.

For everything else, I seek the wisdom of those who have been doing this parent thing longer than I have and perhaps with a little more success when it comes to the trials of toddlerhood and adolescence. And the ones who have uncovered some of the secrets to what really works when I'm trying to help a kid with a math lesson, occupy the toddlers, breastfeed the baby and make lunch, simultaneously.

Recently, I was introduced to a gem entitled Their Name is Today by Johann Christoph Arnold. It's not a parenting book per se. Nor is it a cure filled fix-all. It is however so filled with insights from a child's point of view that I had to repeatedly flip to the back few pages to remind myself that a man in his seventies authored it.

The title comes from a poem by Gabriela Mistral, a poet and educator...

We are guilty of many errors and many faults,
but our worst crime is abandoning the children,
neglecting the fountain of life.
Many things can wait. Children cannot.
Right now their bones are being formed,
their blood s being made,
and their sense are being developed.
To them we cannot answer, "Tomorrow."
Their name is today.
This book was very timely for me. I've recently found myself getting very frustrated, very quickly. Everyday has become a battle of the wits between Max and I. He has suddenly begun throwing tantrums like I've never seen, not to mention the blatant disobedience and defiance. Julia just turned 12 in October, so she's a full blown ball of hormones and attitude. Between the two of them, the demands of a newborn, homeschooling and everything else.. my patience has run thin and my nerves more than exposed. It seems like the past few weeks have just been conflict after conflict.

With chapters like Actions- Not Words, In Praise of Difficult Children and Tomorrow Comes, I was reminded that this season will pass but until it does these children need to see Christ through me. They need to know that grace and forgiveness is abundant in Him. To be honest, I've kind of been displaying the opposite lately. With tempers flaring and me losing my cool on an hourly basis, well, lets just say our home hasn't exactly been a refuge.

Here's an excerpt from Chapter 8, In Praise of Difficult Children:

"Forgiveness is necessary dozens of times a day. No matter how many times a child gets into trouble, never lose faith in him. To label a child as hopeless is to be tempted by despair, and to the extent that despair is a lack of hope it is also a lack of love. If we truly love our children, we may at times throw up our hands in desperation, but we will never give up on them. God sent the Hebrews not only the Law of Moses but also manna, the bread of heaven. Without such bread- that is, without warmth, humor, kindness and compassion-  no family can survive."

Wow. How powerfully true is that? I must have read that paragraph eight times.

The following section from the book, I believe, summarizes well what the entire book is about:

"So many features of our "advanced civilization" seem bent on destroying the spirit of childhood. Be it materialism, prescription drugs, standardization, technological devices or the debased sensationalism that passes for entertainment, all of it harms children.
I believe that at birth, all children bear the stamp of their Creator. The purity and innocence is a great gift. Once it has been lost, it cannot be replaced. All the ore, it must be guarded as a treasure which no one has a right to destroy."
Well done Mr. Arnold, well done.

About the author:
A noted speaker and writer on marriage, parenting, and end-of-life issues, Arnold is a senior pastor of the Bruderhof, a movement of Christian communities. With his wife, Verena, he has counseled thousands of individuals and families over the last forty years, as well as serving as an advisor at several innovative private schools. Arnold’s message has been shaped by encounters with great peacemakers such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, Cėsar Chavez, and John Paul II.

Just 10 chapters and 192 pages long, this is one you'll want to take your time with and fully take in. The book retails for $14.00 and is available on Amazon and Christian Book Distributers.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

My Kitchen Mondays ~ Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore

Wednesdays in our house is crock pot night. We have to be at church at 5:30pm because Oscar plays on the Youth Worship Team; he plays the acoustic guitar and bass. Church doesn't actually start until 7:00 so a lot of times we take dinner with us and either eat there or in the car (if babies are sleeping) and we don't leave until a little after 9:00, which means we aren't home until at least 9:45 on Wednesdays.

Yep, Wednesday is a long one for us, even longer if Max and Caroline don't take a nap. Which means come the end of service, they are extremely grumpy and I'm about ready to pull my hair out. *grin*

To save a bit of sanity for myself, I decided a long time ago to declare mid-week church night as crock pot night. One of my go-to meals is Chicken Cacciatore. Everyone eats it well and there are always leftovers for a couple of day's worth of lunches.

This recipe makes a lot of food. I've adapted it from Sidetracked Sarah to meet my family's needs.


Into the crock to be cooked:
1 small can of sliced mushrooms
4 stalks of celery chopped
5 carrots chopped
1 large onion diced
2 green peppers chopped or sliced
5 teaspoons minced garlic
3-4 large chicken breasts (I use frozen)
32 oz chicken broth OR 16 oz if not cooking pasta in the crock
3-4 bay leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons course ground black pepper
2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste

After it's finished:
Parmesan cheese
Pasta (I use angel hair but you could use any pasta you want)

Instructions: combine the "to be cooked" ingredients in the crock and cook for 4-5 hours on high or 7-9 hours on low. Once done, shred the chicken and put it back in the crock. At this point, I add my uncooked pasta to the crock. I use about 3/4 lb, broken in half. If you aren't the type who likes to cook pasta with the food, you can always do it separately BUT be sure you half the chicken broth! So, you'll need about 2 cups broth if NOT cooking the noodles in the crock.
After I add my noodles, I let them cook about 30 minutes on high with everything else.

Personally, I like to top my cacciatore with parmesan cheese and kalamata olives. YUM!

What is your one of your family's favorite crock pot meals?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Maxpedition Vulture-II Backpack GIVEAWAY!!


Maxpedition Vulture II Backpack Giveaway!

Are you a prepper? Survivalist? Maybe someone who just likes to get off the grid from time to time? Whether you use this backpack for camping, hiking, or as an emergency pack, you are sure to love it!
On the off-chance that you already have too many quality backpacks, this would make a fabulous Christmas present for someone special!

Meet the Participating Bloggers

The bloggers listed in the Rafflecopter form below have come together to purchase this prize for one lucky contestant. As you click "Like" on the form, visit their pages and get to know them. Every time you like, comment on or share one of their posts, you are supporting their page. We all appreciate you so much!

Enter to Win

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States only. Entrants must be age 18 or older to enter. Giveaway runs from 12:00 am October 25th to 12:00 am November 2nd. Winner will be drawn November 2nd and emailed. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email before another entrant is chosen, so check your spam folders too!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Aren't I a Missionary too?

A friend of mine recently said this to me, "The days are long but the years are short." I couldn't agree more. Suddenly, my first born is thinking about college, my daughter and I are sharing clothes and little Max (who I just gave birth to like.. yesterday!) is now in the Preschool class at our Homeschool Co-op.

Do you ever stop to wonder if you're doing it right? I know I do, almost daily. We aren't raising kids, we're raising men and women. Future mothers, fathers, teachers, missionaries and preachers!! I used to get frustrated, thinking that I wasn't doing much for Christ. Several years ago I felt the call of missions in my heart.

Ever since, I've wanted to go somewhere and do something for Him.

I love missionary month at our church. They come from all over, sharing how things are happening  in their part of the world. As they show their slide show pictures of the people they are engaging, the progress being made and the area in general, I start to envy their life. My heart aches to go with them when they leave. I know missions isn't easy or glamorous and it can be down right exhausting and beyond bearable at times. It just seems like they are doing something so much more tangible for Christ.

However, as I sit here watching my little ones play and my son make dinner I am reminded that I am a missionary. My home is my mission field. Their souls are at stake! I may not be in Italy, Brazil or Cambodia but my field is just as important. Today, I thank God for this reminder.

I pray that I never forget.