Saturday, March 31, 2012

March Review of New Year's Goals

It's that time again, time to review my goals for the year. I think I'm doing pretty well so far this year, but I also think that's because I picked goals that wouldn't be too hard to attain.
  • School. School is going great! We had a breakthrough last week in Sarah Beth's writing, and this week the lightbulb over her head went off while we were working on reading. It was wonderful! I wish I had some pictures for you, but the battery in the camera was dead. I will try to share some next week.
  • Reading. Somehow I have found the time to read at least two books this month.
  • Losing weight. I wish this were easier, but I'm doing okay. Watching portion size really helps. I've got about ten more pounds to lose before I'm happy. I wouldn't mind losing a couple more, but I'm not sure that I want to take the trouble to lose them. We'll see when I get there.
  • Run a 5K. I'm not sure how to start training for this yet. I would like to, but I'm not sure when I can find the time to exercise.
  • Hospitality. Success! We had a family over for supper one night this month which got us started, and we look forward to continuing this practice.
  • Florida license. I'm still working on this. I need to find out where to take the test so that I can schedule it. I need to get working on this!
  • Monthly service night. I received the Action Pack from Voice of the Martyrs this week, so now we just need to get a few items and fill it up. What a wonderful way to open my children's eyes to how blessed we are. (Again, I got this idea from Passionate Homemaking, and I plan to steal a few more.)
How are you doing with your goals for the year?

Friday, March 30, 2012

3 in 30: Successful Month!


I think I did very well this month. Of course, it helps that I picked fairly easy goals to achieve; I've found that if I set my sights too high, I just set myself up to fail.
  • Playing outside. We may not have played outside everyday, but we did play outside most of them. And sometimes, after we had played outside in the morning, Daddy would take the older three back outside when he got home from work. We have enjoyed this beautiful weather!
  • Playing at the table. Okay, I didn't do so well at this. It's hard to find the time to sit down at the table to play with my older two children. But I figure that we spent a good bit of time playing outside, reading books, and doing other fun things, so I'm not too worried about this one.
  • Loading and unloading the dishwasher. Sarah Beth and Daniel are great at this! Most of the time, I don't even have to remind them to load their dishes, and they usually unload it with just a reminder. It has made my life so much easier, as it allows me to do something else (like feed the baby, put clothes in the washing machine, finish the grocery list, etc.) while they take care of the dishes. Very nice!
How have you done with your goals for this month?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Would You Do it?

I read an article in the newspaper Sunday about people on job interviews being asked for their facebook username and password, and it disturbed me.

I understand that the companies are trying to get as much information as possible about their potential employees, but it seems like an invasion of privacy. I don't think I would give out my password, even though I have nothing to hide (except for those parties we routinely throw at our house).

My husband disagrees. He would have no problem giving out his password. Afterwards, he would just change it. Like me, he has nothing to hide; we just feel differently about this.

I understand that someone may feel like they have to give in, especially if they have a family to feed. But I'm curious: what would you do if you were asked for your facebook password? Would you give it? Or would you refuse, knowing you were forfeiting any chance you had at the job?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Portion Size


As you know, one of my goals for the year is to lose some weight, baby weight to be specific. But I developed a fondness for a bowl of ice cream as my bedtime snack while I was pregnant, and I find it hard to give that up. I just don't have the discipline required. (And if Publix would quit putting my favorite kinds on sale, I might be able to stop buying it.)

But do you know how many calories are in ice cream? There are over two hundred in half a cup. Half a cup! Do you realize how small a serving half a cup of ice cream is? I used to try to eyeball it, but I knew that I was getting more than I should. I have started actually using a measuring cup and eating my portion straight out of it. Sounds strange, doesn't it? But it works!

Now we'll just have to wait and see if my waistline can tell the difference!

Do you watch what you eat? How do you measure your portion sizes?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Children's Manners: Where do They Come From?


When I read Kristen's post about teaching our children manners, it reminded me of the time when we had just moved to Florida. We had to stay in a hotel for a few days while we waited for our furniture to be brought down to our rental house.

On the last morning at the hotel, I heard the lady who put out the food for the continental breakfast. She was talking with a couple who were eating, and she told them how my children are so well behaved and polite, how they say, "May I please have some more milk?" or whatever when they want something.

A few minutes later, when she came near our table, I asked her if she knew why my children speak that way. She replied that she did not, so I told her. They speak so respectfully and politely because I make them. When they say, "Give me more milk." I correct them. Even when they almost get it right with, "Can I please have more milk?" I correct them. That's how they learn.

I wonder if people really think that children somehow know good manners and just choose not to use them. The more I'm around children, the more I see how few manners they have and how they must be taught correct ones. Total depravity and all of that, you know.

And you have to start early. Well, I guess you don't have to, but it makes things easier. One of the few words Rachel says consistently is "pease," I mean, "please." When she gets older and is able to speak better, she will have to say, "More milk, please." Then when she is capable of full sentences, she will be required to say, "May I have more milk, please?" But I have to be disciplined in order to encourage this correct behavior.

What do you think? Do you think children are born knowing good manners? Or do you think they are depraved and need to be taught them? Do you force your children to do "the right thing"?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Finished Object Friday


Do you remember this blanket? I told you that I wanted to make it almost a year ago. I'm not sure when I started it, but I am sure that I stopped when I developed morning sickness while pregnant with Mary. (I still think it's strange that crocheting exacerbates my morning sickness.) I had gotten a good bit done before I quit working on it, and I picked it back up when I finished this blanket because I figured it was about time. Finally, I made something for myself!

If you're curious, you can find the pattern here, and the picture is a little better because mine is kind of dark. I'm so glad to have this project done! And I can't wait to use it...you know, when John turns the air conditioner on too high!

3 in 30 Weekly Update


Once again, I think I've done fairly well this week. That's what happens, though, when you pick easy goals, isn't it?
  • Playing outside. We've played outside almost every day this week, enjoying the beautiful weather.
  • Playing at the table. I haven't done so well with this one, although we did clip coupons one day (their idea, not mine!), played with Play-doh, and played with Legos. Maybe I did better than I thought!
  • Loading and unloading the dishwasher. Triumph! Yesterday after lunch, the dishwasher was full of clean dishes, but I needed to brown the ground beef for supper. I was in a quandary about what to do until I realized that Sarah Beth could unload the dishwasher for me. It was wonderful! I was still in the kitchen to help, if she needed it (like with the sharp knives and putting things in upper cabinets), but she emptied the dishwasher almost by herself. When Daniel finished his lunch, he helped her. It was wonderful!!
How are you doing with your goals?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Book Review: Behemoth by Jonathan C. Leicht


In Behemoth by Jonathan C. Leicht, something is killing the elephants in the Masai Mara game preserve. When Jim Thompson, the chief game warden, starts looking into the situation, it appears that a dinosaur is the one doing the killing. At the same time, John Maxwell is putting together a team to look for a different dinosaur. This team is headed by Stephen Gregory who is a leading creation scientist.

When I saw that this book was written by a creation scientist, I knew I had to read it. Then when I discovered that it was about the search for dinosaurs, I knew it would be a fun read. And it was! I was a little worried that Leicht would get too technical, and he did get a little preachy at times, but it was still a great adventure story with lots of interesting information in it. I won't spoil things for you and tell you whether they actually found dinosaurs in the book or not; you'll have to read it for yourself. A book about finding dinosaurs! What fun!!

I want to thank BookSneeze for my (kindle) copy of this book, but my opinions are own.

Friday, March 16, 2012

3 in 30 Update

I've done pretty well this week, I think.
  1. Playing outside. My children have played outside everyday this week. And we're heading to the park this afternoon. Yea!
  2. Playing at the table. However, I have not played at the table with Sarah Beth and Daniel at all this week. But we have spent a good bit of time reading, more than usual, since we got some "new" books at our MOPs swap.
  3. Loading and unloading the dishwasher. Sarah Beth and Daniel are doing great. About half the time, I don't even have to remind them to load their dishes into the dishwasher. And Rachel occasionally helps unload it. Hooray!
How are you doing with your goals?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pi Day and Ear Infections


Happy Pi Day! Did you know that today is Pi Day? March 14 or 3.14? Does it show how much of a math nerd I am that I know that?

Of course, you should really celebrate with a pie! But we have church on Wednesday nights, or we would be having Ham and Spinach Pie for supper followed by Grasshopper Pie. Sarah Beth has been begging for the Grasshopper Pie, so I think we'll have that for St. Patrick's Day which just happens to be Saturday.

I know that my children won't "get" Pi Day this year or for a few years to come, but I can enjoy it, can't I?

However, our celebrations may be a little dampened this year because poor Mary has an ear infection. She just wasn't herself yesterday, and John asked me to take her temperature. She had a fever, so I took her in to the doctor. Thankfully, they're open until 7:00. She didn't like the doctor looking at her right ear, but she screamed and fought when he looked at her left one. I knew at once that she had an ear infection. They gave her some Tylenol for her fever and an injection of Rocephin, and she was 100 times better by the time I got home. She slept all night and has been her happy normal self so far today. I thought it was very nice that the doctor had the nurse call this morning to see how Mary was doing. And we need to go back tonight for another Rocephin injection.

Poor Mary! This is the first time that any of my children have really been sick. They've had colds and the stomach flu, but that's about it. This is the first time any of them have needed an antibiotic. I'm so grateful for their health!

Are you celebrating Pi Day? Have your children had ear infections?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mary is Three Months Old

Mary is three months old today! It's hard to believe that we've had her for that long, but what fun she is! Three month old babies don't seem to do much more than two month olds, but there is a nice progression. Mary loves to smile at her siblings. And they, especially Sarah Beth, love it when she smiles at them. All of my children love Mary; there's no jealousy here. But I do have to fend them off sometimes when they get a little too eager to play with her.

Mary is still sleeping through the night most nights which is wonderful, although she has gotten me up the last few nights because of allergies. Have any of your children had a problem with allergies at this young an age? Mine haven't. Mary even rolled over from her tummy to her back last weekend, but she hasn't done it since. She didn't like being on her back, trying to go to sleep!

We really enjoy having Mary around, and it's so much fun watching her grow and develop.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Booking It: March Edition


Somehow, despite all of my busy-ness this past month, I was able to read four books...probably because it's important to me. Since it's important to me, I make the time. I read some good books this month: three were edifying, and one was just pure fun. Take a look at what I read:
  • The Attributes of God by Arthur W. Pink. This book is a great treatise on the different attributes of God. From His "soft" traits like love, mercy, and grace to His "hard" ones like justice, omnipotence, and wrath, there is a treasure trove of knowledge here. If you want to learn more about our Heavenly Father, you should read this book.
  • So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins. This book takes place at the end of World War II in Korea. As the Japanese lose the war, the Korean Communist Party (empowered by the Soviet Union and China) attack the Japanese stationed in their country. Many, many were killed. This story is about Yoko, her sister, her brother, and their mother who make the trek from the northern area of Korea to the safety of Japan. When they get there, they have only what they were able to carry on their backs. This is a sad, sad story, but we need to read books like this so that we don't forget the atrocities that have occurred in our past.
  • Then Sings my Soul Book 3 by Robert J. Morgan. This book has a short history of many hymns. If you like hymns, you should like this book. You can read my full review here.
  • Speak to the Devil by Dave Duncan. Whew! What a ride! You have to read this book quickly in order to keep up with the action, but you have to read it slowly in order to keep up with all that is happening. You want to read this book quickly so you can find out what happens, but you want to read it slowly to keep it from ending. Oh, the paradox! After Anton Magnus makes an almost impossible feat on horseback, he and his brother Wolf are sent by the king to Castle Gallant to keep it and the rest of their country from being overrun by the Wends. Wolf is a speaker, and he has to walk the fine line between helping his brother and being discovered for what he really is. "Speaking" is prohibited by the church, although hypocritically, they have their own "speakers." (This book is fantasy; this country didn't really exist although it does take place during the Middle Ages.) In the meantime, Anton and his other brothers have to figure out how to defend the fortress from the revolutionary new devices - cannons. This book ends right in the middle of the action, and I can't wait to see how the Magnus brothers fare in the conclusion.
What have you been reading lately?
This post is linked to Booking It at Life as Mom.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Finished Object Friday


I made this blanket for a friend of mine who had a baby boy. When I saw this book of baby afghans with this blanket pictured on the front, I bought it just for this one blanket. And this is the second time that I have made this particular blanket. The first time was for my good friend Laura and her son Noah. When I was trying to figure out what blanket to make for my new friend, it was an easy decision. I just love this pattern!

What have you been working on lately?

3 in 30 Goals: Doing Well

I'm doing well so far this month with my monthly goals. I have to admit that I'm fairly pleased with myself.
  1. Playing outside. We've gone outside to play every day this week, including today. It helps that I have given myself a little bit of yard work to do while out there, so I'm not sitting or standing around bored.
  2. Playing at the table. I've played with Sarah Beth and Daniel every day so far this week except for today, but there's still time. We've played Candyland, colored pictures, and played with Legos. While I've enjoyed this time with my older children, they have really enjoyed it!
  3. Loading and unloading the dishwasher. Sarah Beth and Daniel are doing great! They're learning where everything belongs in the dishwasher, and they are learning how to stack the plates and cups on the counter when unloading it. I haven't turned them loose yet with the unloading, but I will one day soon. Of course, I do the sharp knives.
How are you doing with your goals?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Book Review: Dawn Comes Early by Margaret Brownley


In Dawn Comes Early by Margaret Brownley, Kate answers an unusual ad for an heiress in Arizona Territory. After she has proven her mettle with very hard work, she will be offered the Last Chance Ranch...on one condition: she has to sign paperwork stating that she will never marry. Kate is ready to sign this document until she meets Luke. Then she has to make the tough decision between her future on the ranch and her future with Luke.

For this supposedly Christian book, there isn't much about God in it, and there is nothing about Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, there is no reason to believe that Kate has any kind of relationship with God, so I cannot understand why Luke is so attracted to her. He has at least a shallow relationship with God.

That said, I did enjoy the supporting characters in this book: the cowhands on the ranch, the outlaw Cactus Joe, and Luke's aunts and uncles. And the depiction of the hard work involved on the ranch was great.

So, if you like historical romances, you might like this book, but I couldn't wait until I had finished it...so I could move on to something better.

I would like to thank BookSneeze for my copy of this book, but my opinions are (obviously) my own.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Powerless

I have a couple of friends and family members who are going through some tough times right now, and I am powerless to help. I cannot heal their sick family members; I cannot comfort them in these hard times; and they don't live nearby, so I cannot even bring them a meal or help with childcare. I am powerless.

There are many issues facing our country about which I am powerless to do anything. I cannot stop abortions from taking place; I cannot "fix" the national debt; I cannot even help "my guy" get the GOP nomination.

This feeling of powerlessness reminds me of a scene in Safely Home by Randy Alcorn. Ben Fielding is visiting his friend Li Quan who was imprisoned for merely being a Christian. Ben has been running around meeting with people and making phone calls, trying to get Quan out of prison. All of his efforts, though, have come to nothing, and he is complaining of that to Quan. And Quan tells him that the most important thing he can do is to pray because we pray to God who can do anything.

I think, "What can I do? I am powerless," when faced with these situations. But I know Someone who is not powerless; as a matter of fact, He is all-powerful. There is nothing that He cannot do.

Instead of turning to prayer as a last resort, I need to turn to it first. God can heal the sick, although He may chose not to. God can comfort the suffering, and He will. God even knows what to do about the troubles our country is in; He just isn't telling me. I just need to pray.

Of course, when I am able to help others, I should. But when I can't, I need to remember that prayer isn't, shouldn't be, a last resort.

Monday, March 5, 2012

February Review of New Year's Goals

Yes, I know that I'm a few days late, but I've been busy, specifically our trip to Disney World threw me off last week. But it sure was fun! Anyway, here is the review of my New Year's goals for last month:
  • School. We started back at the end of January, and Sarah Beth is so excited about doing school everyday. Daniel has even picked up on her excitement, and he's doing school more formally now, too.
  • Reading. Somehow I'm finding the time to read a little bit every day, so I'm getting at least two books read a month.
  • Losing weight. I've only lost a couple of pounds since my last review. I'm not doing as well as I would like, and I don't think the ice cream in the freezer is helping.
  • Run a 5K. Soon it will be time to start thinking about this seriously. Actually, I'm trying to figure out how to add exercise to my already busy schedule.
  • Hospitality. We hope to start back having people over for supper this month.
  • Get my Florida license. I need to look into what I need to do to take the Florida law exam, like where I need to go and when I need to do it. I hope to take this test in the next couple of months so I can start looking for a job so I can start working again (just one weekend a month) when Mary is six months old.
I read about having a monthly service night at Passionate Homemaking, and I loved the idea. My children need to get an idea for how much God has blessed us, and I think this would help. So I would like to implement that into my goals as well.

How are you doing with your goals for the year?

Friday, March 2, 2012

3 in 30: New Goals for March

With a new month, I get to make new goals. What fun!
  • I want to continue my goal from last month of taking my children outside to play at least three times a week.
  • I also want to sit down at the table with my children and play with them three times per week. I used to do this with Sarah Beth, and she really enjoyed it. Whether it's playing with Play Doh, coloring, playing with a game, or whatever, I want to do this.
  • By the end of the month, I want Sarah Beth and Daniel to be able to load and unload the dishwasher. While I may not ask for their help every time we do dishes this month, I want to be able to ask them to do this chore for me without any help from me. Well, they'll need some help since they can't reach the upper cabinets.
What new goals are you trying to achieve this month?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Giveaways

My mother left this afternoon, and the internet hasn't been working real well, so I've got a lot of catching up to do online. In the meantime, I have a couple of giveaways about which to tell you:
  • Southern Homemaking is giving away a medium L.L. Bean Boat and Tote. You can enter here. These bags are great, and you already know that if you have one.
  • Laura at Seven Little Arrows is giving away a copy of What is a Savior? by Jennifer and Kayla Kimbrel. We already have a copy of this book, and we absolutely love it. By the way, we know Jennifer and Kayla in real life, and we really like them, too! You can find that giveaway here.
Good luck!