Friday, April 29, 2011

Book Review: This Little Prayer of Mine by Anthony DeStefano and Mark Elliott


This Little Prayer of Mine written by Anthony DeStefano and illustrated by Mark Elliott is a nice prayer book for children. The prayer asks God to help the child to do what's right even when it's hard; to help others, especially those who are sick; and to forgive him when he does wrong. The illustrations in this book are delightful and appealing to my children.

While this prayer isn't theologically deep, I think it is appropriate for young children. So many prayers for children don't haven any depth at all, but this one does. It would be an easy prayer for children to pray, while asking God for help doing what they should. My biggest disappointment is that Jesus isn't mentioned at all, and without Him, our faith is meaningless.

I want to thank WaterBrook Multnomah for my copy of this book to review, but my opinions are my own.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

All of Your Questions Answered

In case you missed my not-so-subtle hint Monday, yes, I'm pregnant with our fourth child. I know that you have lots of questions (because I would, if you were pregnant!), so I will attempt to answer them in this post.
  • When is this baby due? It looks like this baby's due date is the first week in December, but since I was induced a week early with Daniel and Rachel, we're hoping for November 30 which is my father's birthday.
  • How far along am I? About seven weeks.
  • Are we hoping for a boy? Yes, definitely. He would even things out: two boys and two girls. Also, John was the last to carry on the family name; now it's Daniel, and we think it would be nice for him to have some help. Of course, if God blesses us with another girl, we won't love her any less.
  • Will we find out? Of course! I'm too much of a planner not to.
  • Was this baby a surprise or planned? John and I hadn't decided yet whether now was the best time to have another baby, so God decided for us.
  • And yes, we're thrilled!
  • What do our other children think? Sarah Beth "gets" it the most, but she still doesn't quite understand, but she wants another girl. Definitely.
  • Have I been to the doctor yet? Nah. When I was pregnant with Rachel, I didn't see my doctor until my first trimester was over. Since my pregnancies are uneventful (thank God!), I don't see any need to hurry to the doctor.
  • How do I feel? Awful. Between feeling weak and light-headed to wondering if I would feel better if I "tossed my cookies," I just want to lie on the couch all day long. However, I have three little children so this really isn't an option.
  • Is it worth it? Of course!! But it does seem to be getting harder the older I get.
I have a few prayer requests, if you think about it.
  • A healthy baby, of course. And mama, too!
  • Strength for the day, the morning, the moment. Like I said before, I just want to lie on the couch all day.
  • Wisdom to know how best to use that strength. Cleaning bathrooms can wait, but my children need my time and strength.
When I was pregnant with Rachel, I wasn't able to blog as much during my first trimester when I felt so sick. I will try to post regularly, but I can't make any promises.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday Tip: Swagbucks

Do you use Swagbucks? If not, you're missing out on free, yes, free, money. I usually earn enough Swagbucks to get two or three $5 gift cards to Amazon per month. No, that's not a ton of money, but it's not peanuts, either. And I am able to do this without spending loads of time on the computer. I limit my time so that my children don't think I'm attached to it.

Here's how I do it:
  • When I first get on the computer in the morning, I head to Swagbucks and get the Swagbucks TV going. After "watching" ten videos, you can earn 3 Swagbucks, but you don't actually have to watch the videos. After getting it started, I open up another tab so I can continue with my computer time. I just have to remember to go back periodically and start another video so I can keep collecting.
  • After opening up the second tab, I head back to Swagbucks and take care of a couple of housekeeping things. I answer the daily poll for one Swagbuck, I view the NOSO (no obligation special offers) which takes about five seconds for two more Swagbucks, and then I view the trusted surveys for one more. (Don't forget to start a new video!)
  • About the Trusted Surveys, I don't have the time to take them. But when I used to make the time, I discovered that I rarely qualify for them. So I don't even try anymore. But you can also earn Swagbucks by filling out your profile.
  • Then I start searching. I used Swagbucks to search for everything. I visit hotmail after searching for it; I find my blog using Swagbucks; I find your blog using Swagbucks. Almost every site I visit on the internet, I search for using Swagbucks.
  • Apparently, if you sign up for Swagbucks by using one of the links in this post, I will receive more Swagbucks. I don't know how many because I've never had it happen before, but I would love to find out!
So, do you use Swagbucks? What other tips do you have to share? Am I missing anything?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hand-me-Downs

I love hand-me-downs, don't you? My sister-in-law made this shirt for Sarah Beth, and I am thrilled, thrilled that it fits Rachel.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He is Risen!

One of the reasons I enjoy this great Easter hymn is how the verses seem so depressed and gloomy, but then the refrain comes. The refrain just lifts my soul!

Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior,
Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!

Refrain

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!

Refrain

Death cannot keep its Prey, Jesus my Savior;
He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!

Refrain


words by Robert Lowry


Friday, April 22, 2011

Sleeping Beauty

Yesterday afternoon, Rachel disappeared upstairs to play in her room. After a while, I realized that I hadn't heard anything from her in a while via the intercom, so I went to check. This is what I found.

It was Rachel's nap time, and I guess she figured she'd take care of it herself! Aren't they sweet when you catch them asleep like this?

I'm reminded of the time when Daniel did something similar, falling asleep on his floor, too.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Review: Galileo by Mitch Stokes


I'm sorry for my lack of posting this week, but I'm not feeling well. Also, I just don't have anything about which to write. I did finish this book last night, so I have something for you to read today. Hopefully, my writer's block will be gone next week.

Galileo by Mitch Stokes tells the story of Galileo and his attempt to get the Catholic church to recognize Copernicanism (or how the earth revolves around the sun). Contrary to popular belief, however, Galileo did not want to start a revolt within the church. After he invented the telescope, he just wanted others to give up Aristotelianism (which has the earth as the center of the universe) because of the data he found. Galileo never wanted to fight the church; as a matter of fact, he was a good Catholic and probably a good Christian. His findings just weren't consistent with the prevailing beliefs of the time. When he was asked to recant, Galileo did not hesitate; he immediately complied because he understood that he was under the Church's authority.

I've read a couple of other books in this series*, and I have enjoyed them all. I wasn't disappointed in this one, either. It is well-written and easy to read, but all the important information is related. My one negative comment about this book are the snide comments the author feels compelled to share: opera was "unfortunately" produced; "this merely confirms what most of us already suspected. Mathematics is trouble." Other than these unnecessary opinions, I recommend this book.

I want to thank BookSneeze for letting me review this book, but my opinions are my own.

*William F. Buckley by Jeremy Lott and Isaac Newton by Mitch Stokes

Monday, April 18, 2011

Catching Up

One of my cousins got married on Saturday, so we all loaded up the car and headed down Friday. It was a busy and long weekend, but it was good to see family that we don't get to see often enough. Of course, it was wonderful to be able to be there for the wedding. Unfortunately, I don't have a single picture. We did take the camera (but not to the wedding), but we just forgot to take it out. All of our children did unbelievably well riding in the car.

Today, I plan to enjoy being home. And do the laundry. And make the grocery list so I can go to the grocery store tonight by myself. But other than that, I plan to take it easy. We're all tired from the long weekend, especially since our allergies started acting up right as we left on Friday. As a matter of fact, four of us took Benadryl Saturday night, and all of us took it last night.

A little note on Benadryl: It's my medicinal hero! But, oh, the children's stuff is nasty. Have you ever tried it? It kind of numbs your tongue. It was all we had at the hotel, so that's what I took. Nasty! One of our labs in pharmacy school was to mask the taste of three different medications. I don't remember what the other two were, but the third one was Benadryl (or diphenhydramine, to be exact). We found that chocolate was the only thing that masked it. I guess that drug companies don't want to use chocolate, though, because then children (and adults) might really think it's candy. And while Benadryl is pretty innocuous, you still don't want to take too much of it.

Anyway, Sarah Beth loves it when she gets Benadryl. Daniel thinks it's pretty neat. Rachel, however, puts up a fight. She must be the only one with normal taste buds.

How was your weekend? Do you have a medicinal hero?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Finished Object Friday

Do you remember the wedding I told you about yesterday? Well, I made this throw for my cousin and his bride. I do hope they like it. And I do hope they don't read this post until after they open their gift. However, since their wedding is tomorrow, I'm sure they have better things to do than surf the web.

For more Finished Object Friday, head over to Fresh from the Chari Tree.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Birthday Plans

Today is my birthday, and I'm still not going to tell you how old I am...although I don't think that you'll buy that I'm 29 again. I usually try to do as few chores as possible on my birthday because it only comes once a year. However, this year will have to be a little different. Tomorrow we're heading down to Florida for one of my cousin's wedding. So today I will need to straighten up a little bit, pack, and do a few other little things before we leave. Still, I do plan to do as little as possible. As a matter of fact, I plan to watch Pride and Prejudice while I crochet instead of my normal chores. My children probably won't enjoy this movie, but it's my birthday!

We have library books due back today as well, so we'll probably make a trip to return them and get some more, and maybe we'll even play at the park while we're there. Oh, and I've already made my cake, Lethal Peppermint Chocolate Cake from Anne Byrn's The Cake Mix Doctor. My parents came over the other night because they aren't available tonight, and they said that this is the best thing I've made yet. Hmmm. It is pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Since I plan not to cook for my birthday, John is going to take us all out to eat. I'm sure we'll use one of the coupons I've received for my birthday.

How do you celebrate your birthday? Is it just another day, or do you try to do something special?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Book Review: Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley

When I received my copy of Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley, I wasn't sure what to expect because the story has angels in it. Would it be sacrilegious, making light of angels, or would it be allegorical? It turned out to be neither; it's just a story with angels in it. Melaia is being raised as the next High Priestess when a series of events turns her life upside down. Against her will, she is thrust into the battle between good angels and bad angels (malevolents) who have lost their pathway to the heavens where they belong, and she is unsure of whom to trust. People and angels are not always as they appear. As the story progresses, Melaia discovers that she may be the key to restoring all of the angels to the heavens. At first, she does not know what to do with this information, and then she decides to embrace her destiny.

I almost hate to admit it, but I enjoyed this book. While I don't think that angels should be worshipped and deified, I also don't think that they should be taken lightly. The story is well-written and fun to read; I'm just not sure how appropriate it is to write such a story about angels.

I want to thank WaterBrook Multnomah for my (advance!) copy of this book to review, but my opinions are my own.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Booking It: April Edition


Although only one of the books I read in March was on my reading list for the year, I did enjoy them (well, most of them). Hopefully, I'll be able to get back to my list soon.
  • When my father recommended Hidden in Plain Sight by M.G. Selbrede, I was a little skeptical because we don't usually enjoy the same books. This one was a winner, though. The story takes place in 2025, but it's a United States that we would recognize. Dr. Jenna Wilkes has discovered a new law, one that underwrites all the natural and physical laws that we already know (e.g. Newton's Laws of Thermodynamics). She is determined to bring the truth to light despite the myriads of people who refuse to believe in her work. While this book does get bogged down a little with physics (which went way over my head), it was a fun read once I learned not to try to understand the science. The law that Jenna discovers proves that there is something (or Someone) behind everything that holds everything together. Her mentor is a Christian, and through his gentle teaching and behavior, Jenna herself comes to know Christ as her Savior. I look forward to reading the next book in this trilogy.
  • One of my friends recommended The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson a while ago, and I finally got around to reading it this year. This book is jam packed with all kinds of good ideas of how to raise your children for the Lord. Since raising our children is the most important job that we have, it's important that we have a vision for it, not just "riding by the seat of our pants" or "playing it by ear." I really enjoyed this book, and I hope to implement some of the ideas. One problem that I have with it, however, is that husbands and fathers are rarely mentioned, and they are essential components to raising children, too. Since the book was written for mothers, though, I understand why fathers are left out.
  • Since Jessica at Life as Mom enjoys A.S. Stephenson, I thought I would try one of his books The Fiddler's Gun. This book was a fun read, although it wasn't quite believable in places (but isn't that what makes these kinds of books fun?). Phinea, aka Fin, Button was dropped off in an orphanage as a newborn, and she was raised there by the sisters who run it. Once she becomes an adult and starts to think about a life of her own, she has a series of misfortunes, including murder, that make her a fugitive on the run from the British. After she joins the crew of the Rattlesnake, the American colonies declare their independence from Great Britain, and the crew of the Rattlesnake become entangled in the war. Meanwhile, back home in Georgia, Fin's finance is waiting for her, and one cannot help but wonder if Fin will be able to give up the seafaring life for Peter, or if he will move on in her absence.
  • I also reviewed The Final Summit by Andy Andrews, and you can read my full review here.
Currently, I am reading Galileo by Mitch Stokes and Facts and Falsehoods Concerning the War on the South by George Edmunds.

What are you reading these days? For more reviews, head over to Life as Mom: Booking It.

Book Review: The Final Summit by Andy Andrews


Before I begin with my review, let me say that I didn't read the previous book in this series The Traveler's Gift, so I've had to infer some information about it from this book. Apparently, Travelers are people who have achieved greatness in their lives by being taken back in time by the angel Gabriel and learning lessons from previous Travelers.

In the Final Summit by Andy Andrews, David Ponder, who became a Traveler in the first book, is taken to a gathering of all the Travelers in order to discover the answer to a question. The purpose of this question, posed by the angel Gabriel, is to decide whether humanity should have a future or whether God should start all over again (as He did at the flood). The question is, "What does humanity need to do, individually and collectively, to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civilization?" Of course, the Travelers take all the time they are allotted before they find the correct answer which is (spoiler alert) "do something."

I have so many problems with this book that I don't know where to start, so I think I'll start with the biggest one: God giving the fate of mankind into his own hands. Do you remember what happened in the garden of Eden, the first time, the only time, that God has put our own fate into our hands? We, through the actions of Adam and Eve, rejected God, disobeyed Him, and should have been put to death immediately. Thank God for His mercy! Thank God that He provided a way for us to be redeemed, but that redemption only comes through the action of His Son. This is my main problem with this book.

Another of my problems is that Gabriel sins; he shows displeasure, impatience, and arrogance with the humans. Some of the history is faulty. God is not treated with the respect He deserves. Jesus is only referred to once. And what kind of vague answer is "do something"?

I understand that the premise of this book is to help people become better people, but I think it misses the mark by a long shot. Christians won't like this book for the reasons I have listed, and non-Christians need more than simple platitudes; they need Christ.

I want to thank BookSneeze for letting me review a copy of this book, but my opinions are (obviously) my own.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Look What I Got!

When I entered the giveaway at Notes from a Crazy Mothering Chick, I really didn't think I would win. But I did! And look at the fun things that the "mail lady" brought last week! I have fun new yarn to play with; can you see the sparkles in Vanna's yarn? I've been wanting to try a yarn sleeve, but I just hadn't gotten around to buying any. Crochet Today! is a great magazine. Oh, the goodies! And I can always use more crochet hooks.

My point in telling you about this (rubbing it in!) is that it's worth it to enter giveaways. You never know when you might win!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Urgent vs. Important

When I was in pharmacy school, one of my professors taught us something very important, and it had absolutely nothing to do with medications. He taught us the difference between something being urgent and something being important. He used the illustration of having a meeting with one of us (his students) when the phone in office rang. The phone is urgent, but the meeting with the student is important. I graduated from pharmacy school over ten years ago, and honestly, I don't remember a lot of what I was taught (because it wasn't important!), but I remember this lesson.

As a mother, I need to be able to discern between urgency and importance. There are a lot of things that are urgent, like the phone (the ringing, the ringing -- make it stop!). There are more things that are important, like being available for my children. Sometimes, I have to make the conscious decision to let the phone ring because I'm doing something more important like preparing supper. Sometimes, I have to ignore Rachel's screams (she screams when she's happy) to go check on the older two who are being quiet. Sometimes, I need to let the buzzer on the washing machine beep (and beep and beep...) while I finish reading a story to my children. Urgent things demand my attention, but the important ones need it.

What urgent things do you let go in order to focus on the important ones?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday's Tip: Making Mondays Less Stressful

Mondays tend to be stressful days in my home. Because it's the beginning of the week, certain things need to be done, like making the menu and grocery list, and baking bread. And some things just don't get done over the weekend, like picking up, so they need to be done on Monday. These things combine to make a busy, stressful day. On top of it all, we're all usually tired from the weekend. Sundays should be a day of rest, but sometimes they're just not.

I used to try to get some cleaning done on Mondays, too, specifically, the bathrooms. I also usually need to make a loaf of bread. I would keep an eye on the clock while I wiped down the mirrors, counters, and sinks. Then I would run downstairs to take the bread out of the bread machine to let it rise the second time. Then I would run back upstairs to clean the toilets. Then I would run back downstairs to pop the bread in the oven. Then I would run back upstairs to finish the shower and tub. What a headache! (But I did get my exercise!)

One day, I decided that all of this stress was ridiculous, and I set out to decrease the number of chores I have on Monday. I don't clean anymore on Monday; it can wait until Tuesday when the bread is already made. I do still have to make the menu and grocery list on Monday so I can go to the grocery store Monday night, but I start thinking about the menu on Sunday. I may not write anything down, but I get an idea in my head. I don't cook anything elaborate on Monday, either. John is usually late getting home from work on Mondays, and I'm already stressed, so we have something quick and easy. Sometimes, we'll have grilled cheese sandwiches with a salad or leftovers, and sometimes I will even pull a casserole out of the freezer. Something easy.

Are your Mondays stressful? Is there something you can do to make them less so?

Monday, April 4, 2011

New Year's Goal's: March Review

Here we are again, at the beginning of the month, and it's time to review my goals for the New Year. *Sigh* I don't really want to do this because I don't think I'm doing very well. But I'm trying to be honest, and hopefully this post will encourage me to do better this month.
  • Homeschooling. We haven't touched our reading stuff since, well, I don't remember when. Sarah Beth did ask for it yesterday because she wanted her daddy to work with her. I used to have a great time for our schooling: during nap time when Daniel and Rachel were asleep. However, when Daniel turned three, he gave up his nap. I've got to find a new time...especially since Sarah Beth is now asking to be taught how to read.
  • Potty training Daniel. I think I will call this goal complete although we do still have an accident every now and then.
  • Rachel walking. She is pulling up on everything, but she is taking no steps. That's okay. I can keep up better with her crawling than walking. No hurry here.
  • Being a better wife. I'm still working on this.
  • Finding something for John and me to do together. I have an idea, and I just need to arrange it.
  • Memorizing Scripture with the children. This goal is another one that I have neglected lately. This post is a great reminder (and accountability) for me.
  • Reading two books a month. Check!
  • Practicing hospitality. Finally, we're getting back into having people over. We really enjoy this, and I'm so glad that we started.
  • Crocheting baby blankets for our church's blanket ministry. I said that I wanted to make six this year, but I'm not sure that's going to happen. First, there are a couple of things that I would like to make for myself: this sweater (which you'll find at the very bottom -- Lacy Little Cardigan) and this blanket. (Selfish, I know.) Second, I have several friends and family members who are pregnant, and I would like to make them blankets. Third, there's a lot going on right now, and I just don't know if I'll have the time. But I'm trying!
  • Exercising. The weather is warming up, so I guess I need to start getting up a little earlier so I can walk around the neighborhood before my children wake up.
  • Making a cleaning schedule. I'm still working on this one; obviously, it has a very low priority in my life right now.
How are you doing with your goals for the year?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Hope

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' Name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest upon unchanging grace;
In ev'ry rough and stormy gale my anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.

When I shall launch in world unseen, O may I then be found in Him;
Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.

words by Edward Mote

What is your hope built upon?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Finished Object Friday

I needed something to work on because I've always got to be doing something when I watch television, so I made this blanket. I think it turned out rather well. I really like the yarn I used, Bernat Softee Baby because it's nice and soft, and it's sport weight instead of my usual worsted weight. I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but the yarn is not really variegated. It actually has two strands of pink yarn and one white woven together to make a nice blend.

Who did I make this for? Well, I've got a couple of friends and family members who are pregnant, but I may just give it to our church's blanket ministry, too. We'll see!