Monthly Archives: October 2011

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Video Introduction to Gidget aka ME

Read Tsh Oxenreider’s (@Simplemom) Keynote Address from Relevant ’11.

God Breezes in Ordinary Places

Have you ever met a family that just inspired you to be a better version of yourself?  I recently met just such a family – in person – not a TV or online family – and I was just so – well, I can’t think of another word – just so INSPIRED! This was truly a needed God Breeze for me.

Recently we were told that the local soup kitchen was not a good place to take our children and discouraged I listened and didn’t pursue the idea.  But, do you know what this family did when they met the same resistance? They found another path and have had no problems at all even with their 5 sweet daughters working beside them.  I realized that I need to be persistent like that – if I feel that it is a worthwhile venture, then I need to find another way.

I am so thankful that I ran into this lovely lovely family on a routine trip to the library – I found out that they are active in the local Homeschool Association which we just joined, so I am looking forward to learning more from and enjoying fellowship with this God centered family.

Vaccinations – Do You Know Everything You Should?

This weekend, I happened across this post called What Would Make Me Vaccinate Again? and I was thrilled to see how thorough her research is.  Reading her article reminded me that I had never shared our Vaccination Philosophy.  Of course, you probably have a pretty good idea of which side I come down on because people who vaccinate typically never even think about it – and they certainly don’t say that they have a “vaccination philosophy.”  They just do it because the Dr recommends it and because it’s what everyone else does.

Well, I’m here to tell you that you do NOT have to do it just because everyone else does. And, I encourage you to research it extensively before you decide what is right for your family.  I don’t believe for a second that our decision is right for everyone – but, I do believe that it is a parent’s job to research the pros and cons and not allow other people to make decisions that you as a parent should make.

When our children were about 2 and 4, we came under a conviction that we were not to vaccinate them anymore.  We’ve done extensive research on the subject and have further decided not to accept any vaccines for ourselves as well.  Occasionally, we’ve wanted to participate in an activity that requires a Religious Exemption to allow you to opt out of vaccines.  Below you will a link to our conclusions and the reasons why we don’t vaccinate.  At times, I admit that I get a little wordy, but sometimes you have to make sure you close all the loopholes so that people don’t argue with you.  When your mind is made up – it’s made up….no ifs, ands, or buts.

You are welcome to read our Religious Exemption Statement and use parts of it if it fits your situation, but I really do encourage you to write your own statement.  It helped to make me more clear on exactly what our objections were and why we were taking this stand for our children.  But, wait before you go…I need to tell you one more thing.

I think that there should be a special note regarding clean vs unclean animals. I believe that the coming of Jesus did away with the “law” of not eating unclean animals.  I don’t believe that it is a sin to eat pork. However, I also believe that God gave those guidelines because they did have issues with cleanliness.  So, will I eat pork? Yes – does that mean I want parts of a pig inside of me? Nooooooo And, yes I know that may be bad logic, but really given the entire scope of the argument, that is really such a small part that I could easily leave it out and still have a well rounded case.

Now, once again, here’s the case we’ve made against vaccines and why we won’t use them (and this includes the flu vaccine and any other “specialty” vaccines they come up with.)  Please also make sure to read the article that prompted this post – she’s linked to yet another article.  As you follow the breadcrumbs, you’ll learn more than you ever wanted to know about vaccines.

Oh, and just in case all of this wasn’t enough to scare you off of vaccinations – did you know that the vaccine producers aren’t held accountable for the quality of their products?  If something goes wrong, and there’s a bad batch, guess who pays out to those inflicted?  Not the companies….nope – the US Government…in other words, YOU and I get to pay to clean up the mess when they make a mistake.  How’s that for personal responsibility?  Find out more about how The USA National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has been paying out for Vaccine Autism Compensation Awards.

PS Don’t try to tell me that we should be doing it for the good of “society” either – I won’t sacrifice my children for the good of the many – sorry…..not gonna happen….

Review: Companion Guide to Beautiful Girlhood

Rarely do you happen across a book that just makes your job as a parent so much easier.  Recently I was introduced to a wonderful book that actually has the possibility of doing just that.  I was provided a copy of The Companion Guide to Beautiful Girlhood in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Let’s start with what Beautiful Girlhood is before we go on to cover the Companion Guide. Beautiful Girlhood is a moving book that discusses that uncertain time period for girls between childhood and womanhood which the author has termed “girlhood.”  It has such a gentle and beautiful way of encouraging your budding young lady to embrace her girlhood and not be in such a rush to get to womanhood while teaching her about how to stay pure on the journey. I will say though that it has gotten me a little choked up as I think of my little baby girl growing up.  Although it was originally written in the early 1900’s, it has been updated by Karen Andreola and is a easy read.

So, with all that wonderfulness, you may be asking why do you need a Companion Guide when the main book is so useful.  But, I promise you that this guide has given me the opportunity to dig so much deeper than I would have ever thought to do on my own. Shelley Noonan has developed discussion questions that are designed in such a way that encourages discussion between Monkey and me.  I have already learned about her dreams and aspirations – things she has thought about, but we’ve just never really discussed.  Some questions are also directed towards mom, and it has given me the opportunity to share with her about my girlhood – things that I haven’t thought about in years and certainly wouldn’t have thought that she would have been interested.  What great conversation starters! 

In addition to the questions, there are also ideas for a Bible study to do together each week to find out more about what the Scripture says about the topic being covered in that week.  And, to top it all off, Shelley has also provided a blog with further crafts, recipes, and suggestions to further bond with your daughter during this wonderful and exciting time.  This is also a great resource for bonding with other moms, and I really love the Christian community of moms sharing and helping each other along the way.

And, in case some of this sounds too old fashioned and quaint, and you think that your daughter will find it corny, I want to assure you that my daughter begs to do the chapters together.  She and I have really enjoyed getting to know each other on a deeper level, and I am hoping that this will form the foundation to keep the lines of communication open as she enters that time when so many rebellious teens lose their way.

Thank you, Shelley, for such a wonderful resource that I believe will enrich our relationship long past the 32 weeks of the study – on throughout the rest of our lives..


*note: this post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

Help – I Have a Teenager!! or Do I?

How did this HAPPEN?!? It seems like just yesterday that I was bringing this beautiful little baby girl home from the hospital, and today she turns 13–the beginning of the end, to some.  Today marks the beginning of me starting to let go of my “little girl”, and say hello to my “young lady.”

Have you ever heard someone say “oh, you have a teenager” and they say it in that tone – yes, THAT tone – filled with pity and…..and I don’t even know what.  They’ve turned “teenager” into a dirty word.  Well, I will say right now for the record that my goal is to raise a young person – not some unique species called “teenager.”

I must admit that this is not an original thought, and it was first introduced to me by a great article on TJEd discussing the Youth vs Teenager and how this phenomenon has taken place.  I encourage you to read it as it challenges the idea of raising young people as they start to let go of their childish ways and grow into the adults that they will become.

 Right now we’re reading The Companion Guide to Beautiful Girlhood together as we discover the plan that God has laid out for her and equipping her to fulfill that plan.  I’m looking forward to getting to know the beautiful young lady that I’m sure she is destined to become.

Moon Doggy Mac

This is a recipe of our own creation trying to satisfy hubby’s craving for Mac & Cheese – and, this one has received high marks. You can see in the picture how he didn’t even wait for me to take the picture before he had to have a spoonful.  I’d love to know how your family likes it.  (Sometimes we use different cheese depending on what’s on sale…)

Moon Doggy Mac 
  • o   8 oz pasta elbows
  • o  4 TB butter (divided)
  • o   2 TB flour 
  •     2 cups Milk
  • o   2 tsp salt
  • o   1 tsp pepper
  • o   1/8 tsp red pepper
  • o   ½ tsp paprika
  • o   ½ cup finely diced onions
  • o   3 cloves finely diced garlic
  • o   2 cups (8 oz) shredded Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • o   2 cups (8 oz) shredded Monterey Jack Cheese (divided)
  • o   3 – 6 pieces of toast (for breadcrumbs)
  • o   Oil for sauteing
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
Cook pasta according to pkg directions; drain and set aside.
In a skillet, sauté onion and garlic in a small amt of oil.  Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt 2 TB butter over medium heat.  Add flour and whisk constantly until light brown.  (Be careful not to overbrown.) Gradually whisk in the milk.  Whisk constantly while cooking over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened.  
Remove from heat and stir in Cheddar cheese and 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese (1 cup at a time) until melted.  Stir in spices, onions, and garlic.
In a large pot (preferably the one you cooked the pasta in), mix together the pasta and cheese sauce, and then pour into a greased 2 quart casserole dish.  Add remaining 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese to top.
Bake for 20 minutes with lid (or aluminum foil) on, and then remove lid and bake for an additional 10 minutes.  During the final 2 minutes (before cheese is hardened), add bread crumbs (below) and bake until browned.
While mac and cheese is baking, put toast into food processor and pulse until you get bread crumbs.  Brown in skillet with 1 TB melted butter – it won’t take long.

Friends: Homeschooled Kids Seek Same

We are joining the Homeschool Association.  I know that might not sound like a big deal to you, but it’s a VERY big deal.  I have never had any real desire to join – mostly because I know me – and, I know that I can easily get wrapped up in all the activities that are available.  Apparently, according to my sister, I have even been known to say such things as “I have enough friends.”  How very young and foolish I once was!


Since joining the homeschool blogging community, I have come to realize just how much it can mean to have friends who are going through the same experiences that you are.  Also, I’ve decided that my children would benefit from having more peers available whose lives are similar to theirs.

We’ve tried to get together with other kids, but their schedules are always different than ours… so, it’s time to dive in to the local homeschool association and meet who we can meet.  My friend Amy at Raising Arrows wrote a great post on Finding Godly Friends for Your Children, and I am praying that God will send friends into our lives that will enrich my children’s lives and be a good influence for years to come.

Linked up to
Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Real Rewards = Real Learning

One of my favorite things about homeschooling o take real world application and turn it into something educational. is to take real life situations and create a learning experience from it.  Recently, a fantastic opportunity presented itself.  One of our favorite fast food restaurants is hosting a game for football season where if you pick the winning teams, you get free food. 
Being a lover of free food, we try to play each week.  I’ve always considered myself lucky that Moon Doggy really could care less about sports, but because of this, we don’t really know anything about football or the teams, so our previous strategy has been to just go down the page and circle the ones that sounded good.  That hasn’t worked so well, so…. This week we decided to try something new. 
I had the kids (as well as myself) research the teams online to find out more information about the match ups, and then to use that information to come to their own decision as to who they felt had a better chance of winning.  (I actually read my first betting pick sheets to choose mine, but I directed the kids towards news and sports sites for their information.  
So, the kids are learning research skills as well as how to use that information to come to a logical conclusion.  And, if they choose correctly, there are real world rewards.
Out of 20 games, we only had 5 that were chosen by all of us, so it’s going to be interesting to see how we did.  I’ve never actually looked forward to sports scores, but this weekend, we’ll be keeping an eye on them! 


Maybe while we’re waiting, we’ll have to make these treats to pass the time :)

What are some of your favorite ways to use real world application to learn life skills?

A Boy and His Frog

Recently, Rex caught a bright green tree frog as it squeezed itself into the house.  He desperately wanted to keep it, but I really don’t want another animal in the house.  Trying to be an understanding mom, I tried to rationalize with him that we didn’t know what to feed him, etc…  Rex wasn’t to be dissauaded, so we allowed him to keep him overnight until we could figure it out the next day.

The next morning, he researched what they eat (small insects) and went out into the yard to hunt a grasshopper.  The grasshopper he brought back was bigger than the frog, and after we put it in the jar (just in case), he went back out to look again.  This time, he came back with another frog. Yikes! This was not the right direction.  After several hours, he accepted the fact that they wouldn’t be able to eat the grasshopper and decided that they needed a smaller insect.

So, out went my little hunter again to return very shortly with a small moth.  I thought “hey, this might work”, but unfortunately, the moth got squished during transport into the jar.  Rex just looked at the the jar for a few minutes, then decided that they probably only wanted live food, and with tears in his eyes said that he guessed he needed to let them go.

So, he took the bottle outside and very bravely let them all go….well, except for the moth (poor guy).  But, I noticed him sitting out in the yard on a stump holding his hand in an odd way.  When I went to investigate, I discovered that he was “spending a few more minutes with his frog.”  I felt SO BAD, but I offered to take a few pictures so that he would remember the little buddy that spent the night with him. 

It was heart wrenching to watch Rex go through the process, but he was able to learn through his own experiences and came to a judgement on his own based on the available facts. 

Geography Stop: Portugal

We use our libraries interlibrary loan system to get the books and make our own country study.  Here are the books that we found useful to study Portugal.

                                                                         Source: via Gidget on Pinterest

  •  Insight Guide to Western Europe (or other Travel Guide)
  • Joanjo : a Portuguese tale
  • Peppy of Portugal
  • The Secret of the Minstrel’s Guitar (Novel)
  • Spice and the Devil’s Cave (Novel – Historical Fiction)
  • Christian Outreach: 
  • Terms (great geography glossary:Enchanted Learning)


    My take on Triberr

    OK, just in case you’re not yet familiar with Triberr (as I was just a short month ago…), it is a service that allows you to form tribes in order to increase your twitter reach.  It’s by invitation only, so you have to find a tribe that is made of people in a similar niche to your own and introduce yourself first.  A place to start could be the Bonfires.  (And, since new tribe chiefs need to pull in 5 people before they can “unlock” their tribe to existing members, it’s not too hard to find tribes looking for newbies.)  Basically, everyone in your tribe tweets all of your blog posts and you tweet theirs.

    Most people are very focused on how this service helps them – and, this is completely natural…after all, one of the hardest thing online is to get your message out there in front of other eyes.  So, through Triberr, you can increase your “reach” ie the number of eyeballs that have the opportunity to see your new posts.  For example, on Twitter I have a little over 200 followers, but on Triberr I belong to 2 tribes and my reach is now over 50,000.  See, how that can be beneficial?

    But, the funny thing is that for me I really find the beneficial side to be on the tweets that I am sending out to my followers.  I quite often spend hours finding good quality content and then scheduling it through Timely in order to have tweets go out throughout the day even when I’m not available.  (I know this is a source of disagreemement by many, but I think it’s beneficial to have stuff going out occasionally because you never know when your followers are available.  I also use Timely to scheduled my Friday Follows because I don’t want to overwhelm my stream in too short a time period.)

    Anyway, now with Triberr, I have set up my personal settings to only post to my Twitter stream once every hour.  This helps me space out the posts in such a way that does not overwhelm my stream (or that of my followers), and allows me to have quality content posted throughout the day.  It is also a light amount that allows me to add other stuff to my stream as I find it, schedule in some other stories, and interact when I am available.

    So, for me, Triberr, like so many other things, works best when you use it in a way that makes you think of others – and how you can add value to what you are offering. 

    What has your experience been with Triberr?  Do you find it annoying, do you wish people would use it differently, or do you think it’s the best thing since sliced bread (or some combination lol)?

    Giving in Order to Get

    Last year we weren’t sure how we were going to pay for the kids summer camp, so we brainstormed (with the kids) to come up with some ways for them to earn the money to be able to go.  We felt that if it was important enough to them, then they should be involved in earning the money to go.

    So, last year they sold toys at our garage sale, did odd jobs for grandparents, and gave away lemonade during Festivals.  Yes, you read that correctly – they gave away lemonade – pink lemonade to be exact…it’s so much more eye catching, don’t you think?

    I’m sure you’re asking “How does giving away pink lemonade help them earn money for camp?”…..aren’t you?  Completely understandable….we’ve seen lots of raised eyebrows from family members when we tell them what we’ve been up to.  Well, as it turns out, by letting people know what they are earning money for and leaving it open for donations, it vastly increases their earning potential.

    As an aside – totally off topic, well maybe not totally, but at least a diversion from the topic: Unfortunately, Rex was unable to go to camp last year due to a seizure and diagnosis of benign epilepsy, but they did earn enough for Monkey’s fee (we would have kicked in the balance if they were both going.)   So, as you can imagine, Rex is even more determined that they need to earn enough so that they can go this year.

    So, we’re starting earlier than last year hoping to actually earn the entire amount this year, and today was the first day.  We went out to give away pink lemonade (I know many of you think that is crazy, but it’s still in the 70s where we live…) – soon it will be apple cider and hot chocolate, but today, we used lemonade.  And, as I sat there (a suitable distance away so that this was their operation) I started thinking about all the ways that this is actually turning into a great learning experience:

    They are learning:

    •  How to work towards a goal by putting in a little time consistently over time.
    • That it’s fun to give things away (Rex actually commented on this today.)
    • How to interact with strangers (in a safe environment)
    • Counting money
    • How to figure out what your profit is after expenses
    • To pay attention – you don’t want to ask the same person over and over again even if they pass by several times
    • How to remain cordial and upbeat even when someone turns you down
    • That taking from your inventory will lower your profits
    • To work together – and of course – NEVER to argue in front of “customers”
    • That people can be much more generous for a worthy venture when allowed the freedom to choose their own gift amount. (They’ve gotten a couple of twenties before!)

    And, hopefully they will also have the added bonus of attending camp again this year.  :-)

    We’d love some additional ideas of ways for kids to earn money – what has been successful for your children?  Or ideas you would like to try?