Friday, May 30, 2014

Finished Object Friday: Sarah Beth's Projects

Sarah Beth's birthday was Monday, and I was trying to figure out what to get for her.  She enjoys shopping at Hobby Lobby, wishing for different things.  So I told her that I would take her to Hobby Lobby, just the two of us, and let her pick out some things for her birthday.

She loved that idea, and we had such a good time shopping.  I liked the fact that she picked out things that she had to figure out how to put together.  And she learned two important lessons with these projects:  1)  read the instructions; 2)  ask for help when you need it.

The fairy came as a plain doll that she had to dress, put hair on, and even color the face.  She had to sew the cupcake together, and she likes that the stitches look like sprinkles.  I think she did a great job with her fairy and cupcake, don't you?

What have you been working on lately?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Rain and an Eight Year Old

This week I am thankful for:
  • an eight year old!
  • Rachel's labs coming back normal so we get to continue to decrease her dose of methotrexate.
  • the rain God sent us on Tuesday and Wednesday.  We've been so dry lately, and we've needed this rain.
  • the rain boots that I bought my children this year.  We're in a low area, so when we get a lot of rain, we have lots of puddles (really a big pond) in the low areas of our yard.  But we can still go outside, thanks to our rain boots!
  • sunny skies after the rain.
  • Memorial Day, and its reminder of everyone in our military who has died in order to secure our freedom.
  • a crafty (that is, craft-loving, not sly) mother because I've learned to be crafty, and now Sarah Beth is, too.  (Pictures coming tomorrow!)
For what are you thankful this week?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Book Review: The Gentle Revolutionaries by Don Lord

The Gentle Revolutionaries by Don Lord tells the true story of Dan and Emelie Bradley and their missionary tenure in Siam/Thailand during the early to mid 1800's.  The Siamese/Thai nobles were very open to Westerners and welcomed this couple into their homes as they strove to learn from them.  The Bradleys were able to use this familiarity to help bring this small country into their modern times.

I was very excited to get a copy of this book to review because I like learning about early missionaries.  And I did enjoy reading about New England in the early 1800's and Siam/Thailand in the early to mid 1800's.  However, this book was a disappointment.  A full third of this book was spent with Emelie's childhood, and the author couldn't say enough wonderful things about "Yankee ingenuity" while never missing an opportunity to impugn Calvinists and the Puritans.  When the couple finally married and moved to Thailand (which Westerners mistakenly called Siam), the author continued his almost idol worship of Emilie.  Jesus was never discussed in this book except how His teachings are similar to Buddha's, and their teachings were never contrasted.  I'm sure that the Bradleys were devout Christians and relied on the Lord for the strength to do their work, but you don't get that impression from this book.

I know it's a picky thing, but the author overused the word "warm," and I'm not talking about temperature.  It seemed it was used on every page:  warm and intelligent conversations, warm and friendly meetings, warm welcomes.  Honestly, it started to turn my stomach.

And while I'm doing "picky," this e-book never kept my place.  Every time I turned my kindle off, it would revert back to the home page when I would turn it back on.  It was aggravating.  Every other book I've read on my kindle would default to the last page read, but not this one.

Anyway, I want to thank BookLook Bloggers for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sarah Beth's Eighth Birthday!

Today is Sarah Beth's eighth birthday!

My mother made her and Rachel new dresses that got here just in time for her birthday.

Sarah Beth was so happy to get her very own chicks!  She can't wait to sell any surplus eggs that we get.

She loves to swing on the swing set John built...

so much that she has gotten blisters on her hands.

Sarah Beth also loves to read.  Oh, the trouble I have keeping her in books, but it's a good problem!  :)  

Happy birthday to my sweet Sarah Beth!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Finished Object Friday: Receiving Blanket with Crocheted Border

Right before I started knitting last summer, I asked my mother to hem a couple of flannel receiving blankets so I could crochet borders around them.  She did, and I received them almost a year ago.  However, I got sidetracked with learning to knit and didn't work on them like I had planned.  Recently, I finished the first one, and it inspired me to work on this one, the second one.

Crocheting a border around a blanket is sooooo much quicker than knitting one from scratch!  I was able to finish this blanket in less than two weeks.  I love the quick turn-around time!  And don't you love the little feet on this blanket?  Too cute!

Have you worked on anything crafty lately?  Do tell!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Justification and a Fun Library

This week, I am mostly thankful for my justification which was secured by Jesus Christ and which allows me boldly to approach the throne of God.  Boldly!  Did you catch that?  Isn't that amazing and wonderful?!  By Jesus' action on our behalf, we have access to God, the Creator of the universe.  That boggles my mind.  Does it yours?

I am also thankful for:
  • our library that plans fun activities for my children...
  • and that also lets us have seventy-four books out at a time.  Yes, you read that correctly:  seventy-four!
  • a fun evening with friends.
  • my hens that seem determined to make up for the loss of two of their comrades a couple of weeks ago.  I was getting an average of four eggs a day (from five hens), and now I get three (from three hens) almost every day.  You can't ask for better than that!
  • an upcoming birthday, and a little big girl who is so excited about it!
  • homeschooling and its inherent flexibility --- part 1.  We so enjoyed our two weeks of "summer" break while the weather was nice.  
  • homeschooling and its inherent flexibility --- part 2.  I don't want to take the summer completely off from school, but I also don't want to continue what we've been doing.  So we started Five-in-a-Row this week, and so far my children love it.
For what are you thankful this week?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Putting Out Fires

We didn't even have to ask Daniel if he wanted to try it!

Since we finished school a couple of weeks ago, we've been attending story time at our library.  Last week, they brought in an ambulance and a firetruck.  The firemen let the kids shoot water out of the hose, and they thought it was great fun.  One again, I was thrilled to have my iPhone (and its picture-taking ability) with me.

I wasn't sure about Rachel, but she jumped right in.

I thought Sarah Beth might think she was "too old," but she didn't!

One of the librarians asked me if I thought Mary would want to do it.  I wanted to say, "Are you nuts?  Of course!!"  But I didn't.  When I mentioned it to my children, Mary said, "Me, too.  Me, too!"   She thinks she can do everything her older siblings can...and she usually can!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Minuscule Cataracts and Justification

First of all, I'm thankful that God justified me without my having to do anything because that means that I can do nothing, nothing, to lose my salvation.  And I am grateful that Jesus' righteousness was imputed to me.  What amazing gifts!

I am also thankful this week for
  • minuscule cataracts.  Rachel had an ophthalmologist appointment yesterday, and her cataracts have decreased significantly in size.
  • a good ride in the boat last weekend.
  • a gully-washin' downpour earlier this week.  We've been so dry lately.
  • cooler weather yesterday and today.  
  • friends to do things with.
  • National Chocolate Chip Day...which we actually celebrated yesterday because I didn't look at the calendar to see that it's really today.
For what are you thankful this week?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fun in the Boat

Saturday, we took the boat out for only the second time as a family.  Yes, we've had our boat (John's boat, really :) ) for two years, and I've only ridden in it twice.  Before you judge, let me tell you about the first time which was two years ago.

Right after John bought the boat, we took it out to a place on the Suwannee River recommended by one of his co-workers.  Unfortunately, the boat launch did not have a dock, so after he launched it, John had to hold onto the boat while I parked the truck and trailer.  Somehow we managed to get the children onboard although I don't really remember how.  As I waded into the water to clamber on, I slipped and fell.  It was only through God's infinite mercy that I didn't break my wrist because I landed hard.

And this little mess?  She was about six months old, and she wore that same life jacket.  It was the right size, but it didn't fit...if that makes sense.  So she screamed the whole trip which made it even that much better.

Needless to say, I wasn't in any hurry to go back for another try.  And I told John that I was not interested in even trying until Mary was walking.

So two years later, we took the boat out again as a family.  And things went much better this time, immeasurably better.  There was a dock at the boat launch so it was easy to get onboard.  (No slipping and falling!)  Mary's life jacket fit this time, and she was old enough to enjoy the ride...and she did.  We cruised through some of the Inter Coastal Waterway and down the San Bernard River.

As you see, I got a few pictures, but I didn't get a good one of John or me.  Maybe next time.  Because this time, there will be a next time.

Have you had an experience like this one?  Do you enjoy boating?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Finished Object Friday: A Jellybean Blanket

I just think this blanket is FUN! 

I loved Knit Baby Blankets so much when I checked it out of the library that I bought my own copy.  I have now made four blankets from its patterns, and I'm thinking about making another one.

Anyway, as soon as I opened the book, I knew that I wanted to make this blanket.  It was so bright and colorful that I was intrigued.  However, I thought it might be too hard for me, so I put it on the back burner, so to speak.  I finally decided to give it a try, and it was much easier than I expected.

Here's a close-up of the "jelly beans."

I'm so glad that I gave this pattern a try!

What have you been working on lately?  Anything that ended up being easier than you thought it would be?  

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Springtime!

There are many things to be thankful for this week:
  • Summer break is here!  I thought about it some more, and decided to take summer break now while the weather is nice and the mosquitoes aren't out yet.
  • Friends to go to the park with.
  • Story time at the library.
  • Even though we lost two more chickens this week, we still have three laying hens and seven up-and-comers.
  • My husband's hard work making a pen where my chickens will be safe to "free" range.
  • A trip to the beach this summer with my whole family.
Mostly, this week I'm thankful that God didn't give me over to a "debased mind" (Romans 1:18-32).  Wouldn't that be awful?  Rather, He is sanctifying me through the work of His Son, and I cannot show my appreciation of that gift enough.  (I've been reading R.C. Sproul's commentary on Romans.)

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Book Review: Curious Creatures Made by God

Curious Creatures Made by God, a compilation of four books, tells about different animals grouped by where they live.  This book is supposed to be easy for children to read so they can read it for themselves.  It is jam-packed full of interesting facts about these amazing animals.

My children and I enjoyed this book.  My almost eight year old read it by herself several times, and she kept saying, "Did you know...?" as she read about the animals.  I really liked how the book talks how God made these animals, suited specifically for their environments, a nice, subtle way of reminding my children where animals came from.

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

Monday, May 5, 2014

Monday's Quote: A Lesson from Dr. Who

Yes, I admit it:  I enjoy watching Dr. Who.  In case you don't know, Dr. Who explores time and space,  generally righting wrongs and saving the human race, and he has done so for almost a least, according to the show.

The other night as I was watching the episode "A Christmas Carol," I heard this quote, and it immediately struck me by how true it is...even though we don't always act like it.

In this scene, Dr. Who enters a room with a woman who has been frozen by a method similar to cryogenesis.  He asks the villain Sardick, "Who is that?"

Sardick replies, "Nobody important."

Dr. Who says, "Nobody important.  Blimey, that's amazing.  Do you know, in nine hundred years of time and space, I've never met anyone who wasn't important before."

How often do we treat others, especially those we won't ever meet again, as unimportant?  But they're not!  Everyone, every single person, is made in the image of God.  And that makes everyone, every single person important.

The other thing that strikes me about this quote is its Truth.  Dr. Who is definitely not a Christian show (although Dr. Who does act as a Christ-figure at times), but the writers can't keep God's Truth from coming through.

No matter where we go, we are surrounded by Truth.  And people who are most certainly not unimportant.

Do you watch Dr. Who?  How have you been amazed at the places where God's Truth shines through?

Friday, May 2, 2014

April Review of Goals

April was a relatively busy month with a visit from my parents, my birthday, and an appointment for Rachel.  (Yes, I was busy for those last two days:  celebrating, i.e., not doing any chores on my birthday; and Rachel's appointments take almost all day since they're so far away.)  But here's how I did on my goals:

Personal Goals:
  • Read through my book list.  I will read many other books, as well, I'm sure.  I did not read any books from my "to read" list, but I did read four books in April.
  • Continue walking on the treadmill three times a week for twenty minutes.  I took off the week my parents were here and my birthday.  Other than that, I met this goal.
  • Look for a job...assuming I passed the law test.  I'm still stalled at my resume.
  • Go through every room in the house, one a month, to clean out unwanted and unneeded items.  I'm sick of the clutter!  I just didn't have time this month for much of this.  Hopefully, I'll finish my closet in May!  
  • Write one letter or note a month.  Fail.
Goals as a Mother:
  • Do something (like a playdate) with someone (and her children) once a month, whether it's having someone over for lunch, going to someone else's house, or heading out for a field trip together.  We had some friends over for lunch.
  • Continue having one fun day in school a month.  We didn't have one.
  • Continue taking my children on one field trip a month.  There is so much to do in the Houston area!  We went to the zoo with my mother and then to the planetarium.
  • Do a service project with my children every month.  I filled an Action Pack and attempted to explain the persecution of Christians to my children.
  • Teach my children to do more around the house, like mopping and folding clothes.  What a great way to build their self-esteem.  I have them do as much as I can.
Goals as a Wife:
  • Continue monthly date nights for John and me.  Fail.
  • Do something weekly to make John feel special.  (I got this goal from Tracey at Girls to Grow.)  Hit and miss....again.  I did make Peasant Bread for him one night, and he really appreciated it.  
Goals as a Family:
  • Continue having another family over for supper once a month.  We were just too busy this month.
  • Start having Game Night once a month.  Fail.  I may need to take this one off my goals.
  • Continue our family devotional time.  Fail.
How have you been doing with your goals for the year?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

April Reading

Looking at what I've read this month, most of it has been books I've agreed to review.  Oh, well.  I still got four books read, and I've got three good ones going right now.   But you'll have to wait until next month for those!
What have you read lately?