Monthly Archives: January 2012

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Giveaway: Keeping His Way Pure

You know those books that you read and as you read them you just know that your life will never be the same? Well, that’s exactly how I felt as I turned the pages of Keeping His Way Pure.
Here’s the “official” description.
How does a young man keep his way pure?
Psalm 119:9

Keeping His Way Pure is an eBook that clearly outlines the Biblical guide to leading our children into purity according to Psalm 119:9 while providing the tools to help along the way.

This eBook unfolds a four step plan based on King David’s answer. It also offers encouragement to parents who are struggling to hold the heart of their child. 

More information (including an excerpt)

I must admit that this book was not exactly what I expected – thinking that there would be suggestions such as “Keep him away from girls at all times.”  Well, maybe not that strict – but, definitely in a legalistic tone.  But, instead I learned how to teach my son how to put on the Armor of God as well as how to protect him in other ways spiritually. Wow! How much more confident would I be that his heart would be kept pure knowing that he was outfitted with the armor than by my faithfulness at following a random list of rules.
I am also fairly confident that the plan would work for both boys and girls even though the book is written with our sons in mind.  I am so glad that the Lord moved Tammy to provide this information in such an easy to read format.  I love this book so much that I can’t wait to get it bound at Staples into a “real” book with a spiral binding ($5). There is also a section included with scripture for memorization broken down into 3 age groups – enough for 3 years at one a week – this alone would make this a great buy at $4.99!
I really enjoyed this book and wholeheartedly believe that If you have boys, you NEED this book! (and, truthfully, even if you have only girls, I encourage you to get it – much of the information is timeless regardless of gender.) I’m positive that it will touch your heart as it did mine and encourage growth in your own life as well as preparing your children for the onslaught of the world. Keeping His Way Pure is available in both pdf and kindle formats – as of noon today, Jan 30th.   
I am so excited to be able to give away a pdf copy to TWO of my readers. 
The rafflecopter will accept entries until Midnight on Friday, February 4th, so be sure to enter for your chance to win! Winner will be announced here on Saturday, Feb 5th, and will be contacted by e-mail. The winner will have 48hrs to respond or another winner will be chosen.
Truthfully, if I didn’t already have it, I wouldn’t be able to wait to get my  hands on this amazing resource – but, hey – you can still enter and gift it to someone if you win. :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

***Disclaimer: I was provided a complimentary copy of Keeping His Way Pure in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Giveaway Day

Get Back on Track: The Money Saving Mom’s Budget

I was so excited to be offered the opportunity to review The Money Saving Mom’s Budget by Crystal Paine, and I’m also thrilled to be able to offer a copy to one of my readers.

First a little back story, we discovered Dave Ramsey about 8 years ago (more or less), and we were inspired to work towards getting out of debt. We accomplished Baby Step 1 – put $1,000 into saving for an emergency fund.  And, although it was difficult to keep that $1,000 because Murphy kept popping his head up, we kept putting it back and working towards our goal. In about 2 years, we payed off $15,000 in debt. That was not a fun 2 years by any stretch of the imagination, but we pressed on in large part because we had a clear vision of the goal.

But, with that goal accomplished, we loosened our belts and breathed a sigh of relief. We could now go out to eat again and do other fun activities. But, we forgot to set a time limit for our relaxed view of money and never got started back in earnest to become financially free.

Enter The Money Saving Mom’s Budget

When I received my copy, the first thing that I noticed, at the top of the cover, was an endorsement by Dave Ramsey. Woohoo ~ that means that the principles are in line with what we’ve already learned.

The very first chapter deals with setting goals – which is exactly what I  needed – a shot in the arm to get us going again. Crystal leads you step by step on how to set your goals and then moves into a plan to accomplish them.

I love Crystal’s conversational tone – it’s like sitting by the fire, and sharing experiences over hot cocoa with a good friend.  She goes so much farther than just telling you where you are going, she also comes alongside you and walks you step by step to get there.

I heartily recommend that you accept the Cash Only Challenge.  As a family that has been using cash predominantly for many years, I will absolutely say that using cash makes a difference.  Even compared to using “cash” through your debit card – there is something psychological about actually seeing the money go away.  Each month that we forget this principle, we undoubtedly spend more than we should.

Only Fourteen Hours a day…

When you think budget, I’m sure that you only think of budgeting money – or at least I did. But, she also covers budgeting your time. The wake up call for me that I’ve been spending my time in the wrong places was when she pointed out that once you take out time for sleeping and budget in “margin time” for those unexpected things that always seem to come up – we only have 14 hours to work with each day – FOURTEEN hours! describes itself as being there to help you live on less so that you can save more and give more. And, to show you that it’s not all talk and the heart that Crystal has for helping others – she personally is not making any money from the sales of the book. Not one cent – can you believe that? But, instead she is donating the proceeds of The Money Saving Mom’s Budget to  Compassion International.

Who is this book for? This book is perfect for anyone who is starting out on the journey to become debt free or for anyone who is new to budgeting and needs to know where to start. Anyone who is trying to get control of their finances will probably be inspired by Crystal’s advice.  While there are several things within the book that were new to me, I think that it is most beneficial for those fairly new to the journey.

Who this book may not be for? Anyone who is very experienced with budgeting and living within their means already may be better served by visiting her website directly. But, truthfully, if that describes you, then I’m not sure why you would be reading this review. :) That being said, I’ve been working on a budget for 8 years, and there were still several nuggets of information that would make this book a good buy even for me!  :) Not to mention, this will be my new Wedding Present of choice to new couples.

And, now for the special offer – Crystal has been generous enough to offer a free copy of the book to one of my lucky readers!  To enter, click the large green button by each task for more information, and then be sure to click the green button saying that you did the task.  (This is my first rafflecopter giveaway, so please let me know if you have any issues.) All entries are verified, so please be sure to complete the required task for each entry. ** If viewing this on the main page, you will need to click through to the full post for entries. **

This giveaway will accept entries until midnight on Thursday, January 26th, and the winner will be announced here on Friday, January 27th. The winner will be e-mailed and has 48 hrs to respond or a new winner will be chosen.  Good luck!

And, in the meantime, I definitely encourage you to hop on over to Crystal’s blog where she promises to “help you become a better home economist.”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway Day

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of The Money Saving Mom in exchange for my fair and unbiased review. Some links within this post are affiliate links which means that I will make a small amt of money if you purchase after clicking the link. Thank you for your support!

Monkey and Rex with Mickey

Five Minute Friday: Vivid

I’m trying my second week in a row of participating in 5 Minute Friday.
Here are the rules from Gypsy Mama’s site:

For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.
Won’t you join us?

    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking. 
    2. Link back here and invite others to join in. 
    3. Most important: comment and encourage the person who linked up before you.

OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:





I want to have vivid memories of my children’s childhood, but alas I know that my poor non-visual brain won’t remember these precious days in as much detail as I would like.

I take pictures to capture in vivid detail their beautful faces.

I write stories to capture in vivid detail their amazing personalities.

Monkey is so driven towards her goals and accomplishes tasks that amaze me, and shows her love by being protective of those she loves.

Rex who changes his interests from time to time, but while he is focused on one subject he is entirely submersed into that one singular subject.  Rex who loves to cuddle and loves his family deeply.

And yet through all this, I still know that I won’t be able to hold onto the vivid images of today for too long into the future – but I console myself with the knowledge that tomorrow I will make new vivid memories to share and capture here – so that when I can’t remember at least I can read and experience them again.

They won’t be as vivid but they will be fresh and new, and I am thankful that any memories are wonderful to experience whether they be dimmed by time or vivid in detail.


Seagull flying with shadow

Five Minute Friday: Awake

I am going to give the Five Minute Friday thing another try. I’ll admit that I feel a little silly, but I am trying to find my voice and what better way to do that than to turn off my internal editor and just let the words flow, right?

So, here are the rules (taken directly from Gypsy Mama’s site):

For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.
Won’t you join us?

    1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
    2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
    3. Most important: comment and encourage the person who linked up before you.

OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:





Awake? It’s 4:43 in the morning and I am awake. This was probably supposed to be more…and now I’m stuck but anyway – i seem to have taken this very literal. 


it’s what i want to be for my children.


it’s what i want to be in my day to day life.


to change.


to possiblities.

awake. to dream.


to hear my Father’s voice.

The best things happen when you’re awake….unless you’re asleep when they do.


Won’t you join us and write your Five Minutes – and don’t forget to link up on The Gypsy Mama after you’re done.

Visit Pre-WW1 Vienna through The Star of Kazan

Recently the kids and I finished the book The Star of Kazan, and this book definitely swept us away to a different world. It is definitely a Living Book in the truest sense of the word!

The story takes place in pre-World War I Vienna and Germany, and I was really pleased with the level of story telling weaved with historical and geographical information.  I was also struck at how this book could easily be a jumping off point for a good unit study. We did this book as a read aloud at bedtime, so while we talked about some of the different aspects of the book, we didn’t really dig into it.  However, you still luck out because I decided to create a LiveBinder with lots of ideas to further delve into the story.

In addition to the ideas in the binder, there were also LOTS of great words to define.  Just some of the words that we experienced were: facade, coppice, ennobled, and bereft.  So, don’t let the age 8 and up scare you away for older kids – because there is definitely enough in here to entertain ALL ages!

I’ve gathered links for you on subjects from the geography of the area to music and science – as well as lots of great handicraft links like flower arranging, scrapbooking, letter writing, and how to build a fire in the wilderness.  Have fun exploring the world of Annika and the Star of Kazan.

Handi-Skills Spotlight: Changing a Light Bulb

OK, time for something new to kick off 2012 – Each week I plan to feature a different handicraft or life skill that would meet Charlotte Mason’s approval.

The points to be borne in children’s handicrafts are:(a) that they should not be employed in making futilities such a pea and stick work, paper mats, and the like; (b) that they should be taught slowly and carefully what they are to do; (c) that slipshod work should not be allowed; (d) and that, therefore, the children’s work should be kept well within their compass. Volume 1, Home Education pp 315, 316.

While perusing a list of possible choices at Simply Charlotte Mason, I one struck me as odd – at first.

Changing a light bulb. And, then I asked myself the question – “Do my children know how to change a light bulb?”  Realizing that there was really no reason why they would, I decided that this should be our first task tackled (don’t you just love that alliteration?)

  1. Make sure the switch is flipped to OFF. (This could take some finagling in one of those rooms with several different switches that control the same light, BUT it can be done – when installed, they all were in the off position…)
  2. If the light just went out, wait several minutes to make sure that the bulb is cool to the touch. If you are unclear, you can tap a finger lightly (and quickly).
  3. If the bulb is above your head, find something sturdy to get higher.  NO – a chair is not a suitable step stool – and for goodness sake, if you do use a chair (because we all do it at least once, don’t we?), please don’t use a rolling one.
  4. Remove the blown bulb (Lefty Loosey).
  5. Place it aside on a level surface. It’s amazing how many tiny shards those bulbs can shatter into – and, if you happen to have the misfortune to break one of those corkscrew bulbs, you will have the added fun of cleaning mercury off of your floor… So, as the genie says “Don’t do it…it’s not pretty”
  6. Pick up the new bulb and then screw it in (Righty Tighty.)
  7. Flip the switch to ON to admire your handiwork.
  8. And, of course don’t forget to throw away the old bulb! (I always use the kitchen trash can because I feel like the bag is strong enough to take it if the bulb breaks.)

And now I feel better knowing that my kids will not be leaving the house without knowing how to change a bulb – and BONUS: I now have 2 new bulb changers in the house!

What about you ~ do your kids know how to change a light bulb?

Review: Raising Real Men

When I was provided a copy of Raising Real Men for review, I was more than a little interested. I am so glad that I took advantage of the opportunity because this book is definitely going to be a blessing for my family.

Pretty much everything that has ever confused you about boys is covered. Hal and Melanie Young have written an amazing resource, and they definitely have a good idea about what they are talking about as parents to 6 sons and 2 daughters.

I was shocked to realize one of the mistakes I have been making with my 10 year old son. He quite often tries to take grocery bags from me and his sister to carry to the car or into the house, and in an effort to divide the workload, I have insisted that his sister carry some bags herself.  What I should be doing is thanking him and complimenting what a strong, helpful boy he is. What a simple thing to do and yet I can see how powerful it can be to build up his spirit – I can’t wait to put it into practice!

I love the way they cover some of the traits that we tend to want to squelch in our sons such as recklessness and hyperactivity.  They demonstrate how these same traits could be beneficial in their adult lives once they’ve matured.  That’s not to say that our boys should be allowed to run wild, but instead their adventurous spirit should be celebrated!

In addition to warning against the feminization of boys, they also give very real suggestions on how to cultivate chivalry and teach them the proper way to behave as young men.  They can have good manners without being required to behave as females do.

I’ll be honest – there is so much information packed into these pages that I’m going to have to reread the book in order to put it all into practice (and even then I might not get it all), but I know that this book has already started to change the way that I think about my son’s behavior.

The most important thing I’ve learned? Jesus is the ultimate hero and role model that I should be directing Rex’s attention towards. (Of course I knew this logically, but I had never really thought about it in practicality before…) And, we also have to be careful not to present the feminized version of Jesus that is so often presented nowadays.

I absolutely LOVE the poem that they share called the Dream of The Rood.  I am going to be sharing this entire poem with my children, but here it is in part:

I could go on for pages and pages about how amazing this book is, but if you have boys, just know that this book will be an awesome resource and one that I imagine I will be consulting for years to come.

3 in 30: January Goals

So, you know that I’m participating in the 3 in 30 Challenge for this year, but the big question is what will those goals be, right?  There are so many (so, so many) things that I need to work on so the real challenge was narrowing down those choices to something that is attainable and will make a difference.

So, the three goals that I have settled on for the month of January are… {drumroll please}

Daily participation in 31 Days to Pray for Your Spouse Challenge

Daily participation in 31 Days to Clean {join me on Facebook here!}

Menu Planning: Plan for meals and snacks – 7 days a week

I know that it may look like I’m combining goals, and yes, I really am, but if I try to do too much all at once, I KNOW that I will crash and burn. So, these are my three goals for the month of January.

Join me over at 3 in 30 and post your 3 goals for the next 30 days.
Note: Post may contain affiliate links.  These links do not cost you any more, but they help me with homeschool costs – thank you for your support!

How One Seizure Led to a Blessing

Do you ever find yourself reliving events without any reason why? Well, that’s been me lately and the only reason I can think of that I might be reviewing this particular night is because that night everything important came into clear focus.  Even so, I still relive that gut wrenching fear, and so I’m doing the only thing I know to get it out – write about it.

In June of last year I was lying on the couch at 5am because I couldn’t sleep, and I heard what sounded like a gurgling noise from my son’s room. I went to his room to see what was going on (half expecting him to be playing around making noises) and found him experiencing a grand mal seizure. If you’ve never seen someone have a seizure in front of you, you have to understand how shocking the sight is. His eyes were rolled back into his head and his body was stiff as a board and violently shaking. Even having never seen one before, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that he was having a seizure.

I ran to my bedroom, yelled at my husband to get up – Rex was having a seizure, and ran back to his room.  I held my (10yo) baby in my arms just trying to calm him down (not knowing at the time that that was not possible – the seizure must run it’s course.) Moon Doggy didn’t come nearly fast enough to suit me, so I screamed across the house for him to come help me.  After he arrived, I called 911, and I have to tell you that was the longest phone call of my life! By this time, Rex was no longer having the seizure, but he was now limp as a rag and completely unresponsive.

Once the paramedics arrived, I went into my daughter’s room to see if she had been awakened by all of the commotion. I found her sitting up in her bed – crying. She had been sitting in her room imagining every worst case scenario you can imagine.

The paramedics explained that a seizure looks a lot worse than it is. They told us that it was completely normal for him to be unresponsive because his little body was exhausted. I still wanted them to go ahead and take us to the hospital since he had never experienced a seizure before, and I was afraid that he would have another one.

I will say that Rex started becoming responsive when these big guys picked him up to place him on the stretcher – he was NOT happy about that at all!

Making a long story at least a little shorter, they admitted us to the hospital overnight and ran a few tests.  The next day we got the results that it looked like Benign Rolandic Epilepsy (in the left temporal lobe.) This was somewhat good news because it means that he should outgrow it by the age of 16 and won’t be something that he has to live with forever.

The frustrating thing was that when we met with the neurologist the next day, I asked him about the other little quirks that Rex has and whether they could be related. He assured me that they weren’t. I still wasn’t convinced and really wanted to have him seen by a children’s neurologist anyway.

During the sleep deprived tests at a top children’s hospital, we were asked several times if he was autistic. This had never even been a whisper when we talked with the pediatrician’s office in the past (although I will admit a suspicion on my part that he may have been on the spectrum.) I’ll have to cover that in a later post.

Luckily they referred us to the Psych department (where I had tried to get him seen previously), where we met with a phenomenal psychologist who, within 2 visits, was able to give us a positive diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. Now we have some answers and are on the path to learning more about the way he thinks.

It’s amazing how the scariest night of your life can turn into a blessing in the end. 

Review: 31 Days to Build a Better Spouse

I recently posted that one of the challenges I am participating in for January is the 31 Days to Pray for Your Spouse Challenge.  First of all, I have to say that I LOVE that this challenge was for January.  For Moon Doggy’s Christmas gift, I printed out a very official looking certificate that “awarded” him 31 Days of Prayer.  It was pretty neat to be able to give him that, and it was definitely a surprise for him.

Ashley graciously provided me with a review copy of 31 Days to Build a Better Spouse. And, while you don’t need it in order to participate in the challenge, I highly recommend getting a copy of this ebook.  For each day, there’s a scripture as well as a directed prayer.    She has also included some commentary and some things to think about and consider about the specific topic you are praying on for the day. Each day’s reading is really quick (as in about 2 minutes), but it’s a great way to really focus your thoughts for the day.

If you haven’t joined yet, I think there’s still time – we’re on Day 3 right now. But, even if you aren’t particpating in the challenge, this ebook provides a great opportunity to focus at least 5 minutes a day on praying for your spouse.

5 dollars & 5 minutes a day to invest in your spouse and in your marriage – What a Deal!

Note: some links within this post may be affiliate links.

My Word for 2012: Peace

My friends over at the HSBA Post have been talking about their “words” and plans for 2012.  I read with interest and thought that it was so awesome that they were able to have direction like that but also thinking that it wasn’t for me. 

Last night, as I was relaxing in the tub, I found myself thinking about how would you even start to find a word to define your aspirations for a year.  And, then all of a sudden, the word Peace came to me and settled on my heart.

Immediately I dismissed the idea thinking that I needed a word that conveyed action – of moving forward toward goals.  So, I tried thinking of other words and nothing just seemed to fit what I want for this next year – Peace definitely sums up what we need and where I feel that the Lord is guiding me. 

So, apparently I am one of those people and we do in fact have a word for the year and that word is Peace.

What about you – do you have a word that sums up your goals for 2012?