Have you prayed today?

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Share if you are going to pray for our country today.

picture from Congressman Jim Bridenstine’s Facebook page

Take a minute to pray for our country, for our leaders, and thank God that He is in control!248016_10151556871088518_4477104_n

picture from Girlfriends In God on Crosswalk’s Facebook page

Pray for our children to love God and be righteous.

321397_586293571410812_581447980_npicture from GodVine’s facebook page

And let’s continue praying after today! Because only God can make a difference.

Thrifty Thursdays: Picnic at a Park

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Back in my 1 and 2 children days, we would walk to a local park almost every day when it was nice. Here’s some pictures from 2 years ago:

And from one year ago:

But, alas, life is a little busier now with 5 children (and my babysitting other children). So we don’t go as much; however, there is an an unspoken tradition in our family that we go to the park and take a picnic lunch on one of the first nice days of spring. We have not had a warm spring, so this past weekend was the nicest weekend we have had so far. Can you hear what I heard? My children begging, “P  l  e  a  s  e,  can we walk to the park?” Well, I had to go grocery shopping, and get many things done . . . but I caved! To the park we went! We still had some fruit in the fridge; what else does one need? Hubby was also off work, so we all got to be there! The older girls rode their bikes, and I pushed the younger two in the stroller, so I got a little exercise as well!

Here are some pictures of our picnic lunch and time at the park:

We had a blast! The girls even got invited to play a game with some other girls at the park and didn’t want to leave. Once again, it’s the little things in life that produce joy! Not expensive trips or big drawn-out activities–but a free trek to the local park. Taking time to enjoy being together. One day, it’s these memories I will treasure–not grocery shopping. 🙂 It was a good decision, one that I wish I made more often.

My Favorite Finds of the Day–Book it for Homeschoolers, Free bowling in the summer, and more!

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  • You can get two free games of bowling every day this summer for children that are registered at KidsBowlFree.com. You can check on the website to see which bowling alleys are participating. Shoes would still have to be rented.
  • Another great, great blog post by Finding Joy called dear mom this is the real mom sketch. She is an awesome writer, and I can relate to her posts SO much, but I can’t write as well as her! If you are a mom, GO READ IT!
  • I think this is such a cool FREE resource for any Christian family! Contented at Home has 10 hymns where she has provided the history of the hymn along with the lyrics, a recording of the  hymn, sheet music, Scripture that could be memorized to go along with the hymn PLUS some notebooking and copywork pages if you desire to use them and vocabulary words taken from each hymn. As I do not homeschool right now, I would not use some of these resources, but the other information could be used in a family devotional time, a Sunday School class, or at a ladies Bible study. There are books that have a lot of the same information, but why buy a book if you don’t have to! And again, for homeschoolers, there are some papers that could be  used for seatwork or penmanship and words that could be used for spelling and vocabulary. Hymn-Study-for-Homeschoolers1-600x442

Wordy Wednesdays: Getting Your Child to Love Reading

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I’m giving Kaylin a break today as my sister and her husband came in yesterday from South Africa, so we were at my parent’s house last night to be with them. (What an exciting time for us! We haven’t seen them and their little ones for two years.)  Thursday, Kaylin has her first Bible quiz competition, so she has a busy week. I thought I would write a post about some of the free reading programs they have in my area and nationwide that I use to encourage my children to  love reading. I want my children to love reading as I LOVE to read. My husband also loves to read. We have books all over our house–literally.

We have four  more bookshelves upstairs, and my husband has 6 bookshelves in his office! Yes, we are a little out of control, I realize that! I grew up with no television in the house, and we would go to the library every week in the summer where I would check out 20 chapter books–and be ready to get new ones the next week. In junior high, I would stress-out over grades and who-knows-what-else, and get terrible stomach aches. My mom would come get me from school, and I would read a book. My stomach would unclench and the pain would go away. Now, I don’t read as much as I used to because I will stay up all night to finish a book and be a terrible crab the next day!

I remember going to college and feeling so sorry for the students who hated to read. You have to read so much in higher education that if reading is a joy, the classes are so much easier. I had some classes where the main grade was, “Did you do your reading?” This would comprise sometimes hundreds of pages, but what an easy grade for me–and what a painstaking grade for others who hated to read.

When I taught second grade, I bought as many books from Scholastic and from garage sales as I could to encourage my students to read. I read every day to my class books that I loved, and I would have competitions and book reports to encourage reading. I wanted them to catch the love of reading.

And now I want my children to catch the love of reading. My oldest has. Totally caught it. Always is asking, “When can we go to the library again to get more books?” My second says she kind-of likes reading. What? That hurts! I want her to LOVE reading. Maybe my first loves reading because I read to her so much as she was the only child for a while. I couldn’t read as much to the others as I so busy. We do read every day, just not the quantity I read to my first. It could be just because that’s the way she is. So last week, I started to read Keeping Kids Reading: How to Raise Avid Readers in the Video Age, a book that had been free for the Kindle app a few days ago. (It is now $2.99.)  I agreed with much of what I read, but not all of it. In chapter 2, she lays out to be what she believes the four laws of reading. Her first law is absolute. “Nothing should take precedence over it.” The “second law is absolute unless it conflicts with the first law. And so on.” So here are her laws:

  1. Children must love reading. And parents, teachers, librarians need to encourage that love.
  2. Children must form a habit of reading. So surround them with books and let them read what they are interested in.
  3. Children should learn to read with a critical eye.
  4. Children should learn to appreciate classical and multi-cultural literature.

Well, even with my love of reading, I don’t love classical and multi-cultural literature, so I didn’t get to the fourth step, but oh well. If my children can get the first three steps, I’ll be happy. So after I had read some of this book, Kaylin came home from school, and said, “Can’t we go to the library? I have NOTHING to read.” So I took them to the library, and Karis found some Nancy Drew collections books that she loved. She read one that very night! Yay!

There are many summer reading programs that you could sign up your children for to help them to love reading and to get them in the habit of reading. I can’t believe what people give away today to encourage children to read! I read when I was a child just for fun! But since the programs are offered, we do them! Talk about thrifty fun–the only cost is the gas to get there, and then they give you stuff! We did four reading programs last year, and what they read counted for all four!

  • We did two library programs. We live in a surburban area, and our libraries are truly outstanding! I used to live half an hour from where I do know, and the library in that town is our favorite library. The children’s play area and the way they lay out the books is second to none. They have great children’s programs every week for all children up to 5th grade in the summer. Since it’s a little farther away, we register for the reading program online, then we have to go in to the library half-way through and at the end of the program. Both times you go, the kids get coupons for free meals to various restaurants and fun activities like bowling, roller skating, and children’s museums. The last visit, they also get to choose a free book and put their name in for a drawing. Last year Kaylin won one of the prizes from the drawing–a free IPad–can you believe it? So that is the device I read all my Kindle books on. We also do the library program that is right down the street as well, and they give away the coupons too.

This is for children going into 1st-6th grade, and the Reading Journal can be turned in anytime between May 21 and September 3, 2013.

Step 1. Read any 8 books and record them in the Reading Journal (PDF).
Step 2. Bring the completed Reading Journal to your local B&N store.
Step 3. Choose a FREE BOOK from our selection on the Reading Journal list at the store.

You can see the books that are available to choose from on their website or on the PDF Reading Journal.

  • Last year, Half Price Books had a reading program as well. They have not come out with any information about a program this year; but if they do, I’ll let you know! This is how last year’s program worked:

“If a child reads at least 300 minutes during June and July they can submit their reading log to get $5 worth of Half Price Books back-to-school bucks.” You could print off the reading log at home, take it in when done. They would give you back-to-school bucks which was like a gift card for $5 that you could use then or later. Two of my daughters got devotional books which they still use!

So read, read, read to your little ones, encourage your older children to read and read to them as well, and take advantage of any reading programs in your area!

What are some things you do to encourage your children to love reading?

Scattered Saturdays

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The Wrap-up of Our Week

The week started off not so fun–I was sick :(. Sunday, I stayed in bed most of the day. At least I was ill on a day my husband could help take care of the children. All the children went to church with him, and I was able to nap. By Monday, I was much better; and by Tuesday, I was back to normal.

Thursday was my off-day from babysitting, so I was able to go with my mom and almost 91 year old grandma to some shoe stores to look for a pair of good shoes for her feet. We were able to find some that were comfortable and easy for her to get on and off by herself–success! I feel so blessed that she is still in my life and that my children are able to know their great-grandma. She is very thoughtful. Just today, she made sure that I knew that she had a birthday card for me as my birthday is next week. I forget things like that all the time; yet, at 90, she doesn’t! Some of my favorite  memories I have are when I got to spend part of two summers with her by myself. My grandpa died unexpectedly, and so I went to the farm to keep her company when I was 11 and 12. I am so thankful that I got to have those experiences–carrying water out to the cows in the barn, holding the hammer and nails as my grandma fixed the wire fences, pushing the old push mower to help cut her big yard, stacking wood for her wood fireplace, and so much more!

My Grandma holding a baby that I babysit.

My Grandma holding a baby that I babysit.

I practiced frugality this week by hanging some sheets and clothes out on our clothesline as our part still hasn’t come in for the dryer, and the sun was shining this week! I am so thankful to see the sun shining on us. The sun . . . and the rain . . . both proofs that God loves us! And I am thankful for my washing machine–at least I don’t have to wash them by hand.101_6559

More happenings in our household this past week:

A first by the littlest . . .

My 2 year old and baby of the family walked into my bathroom, and I said, “Hi, baby!” And she responded, “I not a baby!” Aww–sniff! I have no more babies! Of course, we taught her this when we potty-trained her. We told her, “You are a big girl. You are not a baby, so you need to go potty in the toilet!” It’s all our fault. But this is the way it should be, right? We have them for a brief moment in time, and we are bringing them up to let them go. So it’s all good! And even more exciting, I have no more diapers! If you want to see more of Kiley and her silliness, I put more pictures of her on Thrifty Thursdays:  Who Knew!

Kiley watercoloring this week. It kept her occupied for a long time!

Kiley water coloring this week. It kept her occupied for a long time!

Funny by the second youngest. . .

Joshua was complaining that he had to take a nap. So he asked, with his arms crossed, “Mommy, when I’m ten, can I stay up?” Yeah, I think we can agree to that plan 🙂taken 2-18-13

My husband and I used a gift card and went out for a date night on Friday night! It was nice to be able to go out and talk without being interrupted! We have friends who will watch our five children, and we watch their one daughter on their date nights. It was their suggestion, and we agreed to it! We are thankful for friends that we can trust to watch our children, and our children love it! They hide from us when we come to pick them up, because they want to stay longer and play. We were able to go to Kohls, where I had a 30% off coupon, and I bought myself some new summer shirts for my birthday! It’s been a few years since I bought brand new shirts, and it was time!

I am so thankful for this man who is such a great daddy and husband!

I am so thankful for this man who is such a great daddy and husband!

So, what was your week like? I pray that it has been a good one!

Thrifty Thursdays: Who Knew!!

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It never ceases to amaze me what kids find to be so hysterically funny. I stood in my kitchen watching and shaking my head in unbelief thinking that the children were so silly. And then I realized that  I was the one who was silly! Why did I not have the simple delight that they had in just laughing? In enjoying scooting half of a plastic egg back and forth across a table and watching it fall on the floor. Yes, that was the entertainment for the past two days in my house as I prepared lunch. I have a toy room full of toys, but a half of a plastic Easter egg was all I needed to keep two-2 year olds, one-4 year old, and one-5 year old amused! Who knew!!

101_6537As they continued to play with the egg, the laughter grew and grew until finally I was sucked into the hilarity.

Why did it take so long to laugh about something little? Oh, I know–I had to get lunch prepared for these four munchkins before the baby I was babysitting started to cry. I had to be responsible! Of course I did, but there is joy in the little things! In laughing with the kids as the littlest sister does “silly” things like pulling a shirt over her head . . .101_6542. . . and continues to be the center of attention by being “silly” with her glasses. . .101_6548. . . because life is fun!101_6545I have received everything from the hand of God “who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”–even half of a plastic Easter egg! So slow down, Tammy, and enjoy the laughter!

And learn from the kids who don’t need anything but half of an Easter egg to have a good time–what thrifty fun! Who knew?