Thursday, October 29, 2009

homemade tv antenna

We have worked really hard at cutting down our budget and one of the ways that has worked for us to not pay for cable tv. When we moved here, we never signed up to have our cable hooked up and since we are trying to save some money, we have decided to wait as long as we can. Honestly, we don't watch much tv. In fact, the girls like a few shows on PBS and Chuck likes to watch a football game every once and awhile, but we have learned to do without the rest of tv.

With football season here, Chuck was pretty disappointed with our $5 rabbit ears the reception that it was getting. The one stations that plays the football games wasn't always coming in clear. He tried getting a powered antenna for about $40 bucks, but it wasn't any better (so that went back to the store). So....he did a little research and came up with this.
He spent about 4 dollars and found some wire hangers and came up with this. I think he got some inspirations from a site like this (HERE). It sits outside under our deck and gets great reception. Like I said, we were only hoping for PBS and at least one network that shows some football. He is still working on exactly how the wire will run to the tv, but for now it is working great. I love his determination and his passion for being thrifty.


I have been working on making an adoption blog. My desire to have a neat journal of our process and have something to show our new sweet pea some day. That is what we call our new little one - sweet pea. I have taken older posts that were adoption related and put them on that blog. I plan on blogging about adoption on that bog instead of on here. For those of you that are interested you can follow along HERE. We would appreciate prayer for our journey. I hope and pray that God uses that to be a place of positive connections and encouragement to all of those who have the heart of adoption.

Monday, October 26, 2009

some of my favorite games

We are a family that loves to spend time together. We value our time at home as a family and try to create time that is special. Often on Friday nights we make homemade pizza and might watch a video. We try to eat dinner around the table most nights and if there is time we will play a game together or some other kind of family activity.

I thought I would share some of our favorite games that we play together. Soon you might be looking for gift ideas as the holiday season quickly approaches. Here are 2 of our new favorite games.I picked this game up at a yard sale for a dollar (really good deal - you can find it HERE). I had never heard of it before but it has quickly become a favorite. Kind of a mix of counting and memory. You search through the forest to find the trees and look underneath them to discover the hidden treasure.
Then race to the castle to reveal where the treasure is located. We all have enjoyed playing (even Chuck so it isn't too girly). I bought it because it is made by a favorite company that makes good quality puzzles and games. (HERE)
Another one that is a new favorite is Quirkle. I bought this one months ago (mainly because it was a game that had won 3 awards) and pulled it out for Tally's birthday. As much as I love games, I hate reading the instructions and learning how to play.
We aren't a very competitive family so we don't often keep score when we play games. We also shake every ones hand when the game is over and congratulate the winner. I want the kids to be good sports and have fun playing if they win or lose.

This one has beautiful colored blocks with shapes and colors. The idea is to make a row with one of each color or shape. Great for pattern grouping. I also tend to like games that are educational. We have just used the blocks with little kids and grouped them in like groups (all the red, or all the squares).
These are just a few of our new favorites right now. Do you have any ones that you'd like to share?

On the adoption front, we are done with our homestudy and waiting for it to be reviewed by the international agency. We are also almost done with our dossier and ready to send it in. We are short the funds (that are needed to send in with the dossier) right now so we are praying for God's wisdom on what to do in that situation. We have also finished up one (out of 3) of our adoption education classes that we are required to do. Just mailed of the completed book (With Eyes Wide Open) for it to be reviewed by one of the workers at the agency.

We have another class tonight and are almost done with the other 2 education classes that we are doing. One is online and one is a local class with other adoptive families.

We are eager to finish and mail in our dossier to the agency and it is then that we are put on the waiting list. Trusting God for His timing and His leading in all of this.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

History Fair

We participated in a history fair with the local homeschool group today. It turned out to be really neat to see the displays that the kids and moms worked on to share what they have been studying in history. I loved the varied ages of kids and topics.

I loved how the children wanted to share what they had learned. I loved that the students were able to interact with each other and socialize.

I loved that families came to check it out, even if they didn't have anything to present. I loved that the moms were able to visit and connect. I loved that I came away inspired by these other homeschool families. I loved that some dads were there to support their kids.

I resisted the urge to drop out of this because we were not able to spend more time on our display. My pride wanted it to be better. But I knew that I would be taking away from the opportunity for my kids to be part of something neat. God is working on me and humbling me in many ways. I am thankful that we threw something together quickly and participated with what we had. It really was a blessing of a day.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I have a way of creating my own chaos

We ended up having another yard sale this past Saturday with the proceeds going to the adoption fundraising. Our first one was in the pouring rain and this one was in the freezing cold. Yep, we know how to pick the day. It turned out to be a pretty good day and we were so very thankful for all the goods that were donated to us and the help from my Mom for organizing the stuff.

But what was I thinking of having a sale just a week after my oral surgery. Did I mention I had my last 2 wisdom teeth out. Yep. It has been a LOT harder to recover than I thought it would be. I am still not eating normal. My mouth still hurts and I keep getting food bits stuck in my "teeth holes". Delightful sounding isn't it?

So we get up early to have our garage sale (in like 40 degree temps). Work the sale all morning, I come inside to make some food (hadn't eaten all day). Make a tuna wrap and snarf it down (like I said - HUNGRY). My mouth was in so much pain for eating that lunch I paid for it the rest of the weekend. I was still frigged cold so I curled up on the bed to warm up under the blankets and conked out from the pain meds. think I would learn my lesson about over doing it??? Nope.

Today I was working on a lapbook that I can use to demonstrate when I teach a class tomorrow night on lapbooking. I also had signed my girls up for a history fair for our homeschool group and I decided today that we better come up with some kind of a display (the fair is on Wednesday). Meanwhile we are starting our own lapbook on Mary Cassatt for our own school lesson. And today I thought to myself...I think I'll make some chicken soup and freeze it.

Like I said...I have a way of creating my own chaos. I have the ability to be my own worse enemy.

Did I NEED to start the Mary Cassatt lapbook today? NO
Did I NEED to make chicken soup and freeze it? NO
Did I NEED to have a yard sale this past weekend? NO

When will I learn my lesson? I must work harder at having better judgement. Just keeping it real here. =)

Friday, October 16, 2009

truths from the Word

Isaiah 46

There is no other like God.

God declares the end from the beginning.

God's purpose will be established.

God will accomplish His good pleasure.

He will bring it to pass.

God planned it and He will surely do it

Daniel 2

God's name is to be blessed.

Wisdom and power belong to God.

God changes the times and the epochs.

God removes and establishes kings/

God gives wisdom and to wise men knowledge to men of understanding.

God reveals the profound and hidden things.

God knows what is in the darkness.

The light dwells with Him.

In doing our Bible time today, I was blessed with these truths from God's word. Such wonderful comfort and strength. Blessed be His name. I love this new Precepts book we are doing. Studying the names of God. El Elyon - God Most High.


My passport came today. Another thing off the list. =) And a big thanks to my Mom who has been helping me work on the yard sale. She is a wonderful support and encouragement. We have been up to our elbows organizing and sorting in the garage. I am grateful for our time together and all the donations of things that we are able to have in our sale. God is so good.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

some of my favorites

Just real quick I wanted to share about a few sites that are very cool resources. First off, HERE is a blog of a friend who is a VERY creative homeschooling mom. She blogs a lot about her schooling ideas and she is an inspiration to anyone with preschoolers. Looking for ideas of how to get inspired on working with your little ones at home, go and check out her blog.

My girls are part of a Keepers at Home club this year (HERE). It is a group of girls who are learning life skills and striving to be more of a "Godly Girl" . Similar to girl scouts, but with a Christian emphasis. So far our group has worked on badges for first aid and food preservation. We work on some of the badge at the meeting and then we continue at home too. It is something I have always been interested in, and we are thankful that God blessed us with a group of sweet girls to join up with.

Being part of the Keepers group reminded me of this blog (HERE). This blogger introduces the idea of a group that she has formed for some young girls to work on having purposeful friendships. Her group is called Balcony Girls. I think her ideas are really neat and I am praying that I can allow my girls to be part of a similar group.

If you are looking for an email devotional, HERE is a great site that will email you one each day for free. These have blessed me and challenged me and I wanted to share this great resource that can get your day started off in God's Word. If you want them emailed to you, you need to email Don and he will add you to his list.

Totally off topic, we got our immigration finger printing done today. Another thing off the check list. Praising God for His faithfulness.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Salad Spectacular

If I could eat crunchy food today, this is what sounds good to me. Taco Salad. Yum !! I always make it the same way, lettuce, tomato, cheese, black olive, taco seasoned ground beef, Frito chips, topped with catalina dressing.

We eat a lot of salad around here and most of our meals are meatless. I have made this with boca burger meat, but it just isn't the same. I mix it all up together and serve it with the dressing on. Chuck likes his with extra dressing. =) He is all about the condiments.
I am feeling a little bit better today with my mouth. Still very sore and honestly, I haven't eaten much since Wednesday night. Eating even soft food really brings on the pain. On a positive note, it is a good way to shake a few pounds.

I feel like I haven't done anything all weekend and I am hoping to have enough energy to get all the needful done tomorrow. The girls are taking swimming every Monday and Tally heads back to the ortho for an adjustment. BTW, her teeth have responded very well to the braces. Her two front ones look almost normal. (HERE for the beginning picture) We also have another adoption education class tomorrow night, we are working hard at getting all of the requirements done. Hope to get that homestudy done in the next week or 2. last note, I didn't make it to church this morning (thanks to the oral surgery), but I heard Tally volunteered to say the verse from memory up on stage in front of everyone. So proud of her and her confidence. I love that they are hiding God's word in their hearts.

Friday, October 9, 2009

itty bitty update

Can't write mind is foggy with pain killers from the oral surgery. All went well, I now have 2 less teeth and I wonder if I am less wise (wisdom teeth). It kind of makes me wonder what is the purpose for those extra teeth ? Most people don't keep them forever and most people are smart enough to have them taken out when they are young and bounce back quickly. All that to say, I am hurting and hopeful that there are no complications. That doctor got me good and scared when he went over the list of possible complications. Here's to hoping that I don't have dry socket or any other awful complication.

Hope you have a great weekend. Eat lots of crunchy foods for me ~ since I will be eating pudding for a few more days.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

big week

The rest of the week will be a big week here. Today is our last homestudy meeting. This time the case worker comes over and visits our home and meets our girls. Nothing to be nervous about, she has already warned us she isn't coming to look in every closet, just a nice visit. This is nothing compared to having your home ready to show for real estate. Been there...done that.

We also need to decide the age range of a child we are willing to accept. That one has been a hard choice for us. We have decided that we will accept boy or girl (which most likely means it will be a boy). It has seemed unnatural for us to pick the gender of the child. At the moment, we are thinking one child zero to 18 months old (at the time of referral).

Once we have this last homestudy meeting, it takes the case worker about 2 weeks to write the report then we have a week to have it approved by the international agency before it is printed and notarized. Then we just have a few more things to finish up for our dossier. The dossier is the pack of information that is country specific. Once the dossier is sent in, it goes to Ethiopia and is translated and then we are placed on a waiting list. The problem for us is, when we send it in, we need to send it in with our next large payment. We are still waiting on the funds. That is why we have been working hard on the call-me-cards (HERE) and the yard sale. We have worked really hard to cut our own budget back to the bare bones, and we are praying that God provides the needed funds when we have our paperwork done.

Another big thing this week is oral surgery for me. I am having my last 2 wisdom teeth removed tomorrow. Needless to say, it will be a big deal. The doctor was reminding me of all the complications that can take place and warned me that it is much harder to recover when you are in your thirties. Yikes. Trusting and praying it goes smoothly and there are no complications. I am putting my faith in God on this one...He is sovereign.

Like I said, it is a big week. =)

Oh...BTW, I was trying to make the blog into 3 columns and it didn't turn out quite right and had to go back to a generic design. Not sure what I was thinking, I don't know a THING about Html codes, but for some reason, I thought I could figure it out.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

learning to think

Though I bought these math manipulatives when the kids were in kindergarten, we still use them on a regular basis. It is things like this that get the brain working to solve problems, work on thinking skills, spacial reasoning...and like I said in my last post ~ creative play.
One of my goals with homeschooling has been to teach my kids to think. Not just know the right answer, but give them the skills to figure it out them selves. That is one of the reasons we try and carve out time every day to do puzzles, games and activities like the ones pictures here that allow them the chance to think. (HERE is another favorite activity to get you thinking)

Monday, October 5, 2009

One of the best compliments

The other day I was sitting at a park with 2 friends while our children played in the kids play area. There was only one other mom in the park and she came up to the 3 of us and asked us how we got our kids to be so creative with how they play. She couldn't believe how our kids were playing so creatively. And then she commented on how unusual it is that they were older children (not just preschoolers) and playing dramatic play. As you can imagine, it just made my day. To hear someone notice, admire and comment on such a thing. We all thanked her for the comment and visited a few moments and mentioned that our children have spent a bit of time together.

Later I asked Tristen what they were playing and she told me all about it. This was an unusual park (no swings or play equipment), just lots of dirt, one slide (mounted on a dirt hill), a water source, a cabin, and a tee pee. She told me that they were playing farmer. This was the first time we had gone to that play area, I always thought it was for younger kids, and yet my 11 year old had just as much fun as a 4 year old. Making mud, pretending to be Laura from Little House, running around while someone was pretending to be a bear and chase her.

I love it that they didn't feel like they were too old to play. No one said it was for babies. No one squelched their creative play. In fact, they spurred each other on to be more creative as they worked as a group.

I wonder what makes some kids more creative in their play than others. My two have used dramatic play as the main source of their entertainment. (one of my favorite posts and sweet pictures HERE) Forget the toys and video games. Give them a pile of stuffed animals and some linking cube blocks and you might just find an orchestra. Here are their webkins playing instruments. They showed me each animal and what instrument they are playing and the sheet music they made for them to follow. Talk about creative play.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Understanding God's Heart for Adoption

Chuck and I were blessed this weekend as we had the opportunity to attend an adoption conference called Together For Adoption. We sat and listened to speaker after speaker, sermon after sermon about learning to care for orphans, about having a heart for the nations, about God's passion for adoption and how it is His idea and His plan. This was not an adoption conference that teaches someone how to adopt or what agency to use. No, this was digging into the Word of God and understanding what He has to say about His children and the importance of caring for the orphans. We came away both blessed and encouraged and yet heavyhearted.

I quickly want to share about the passage in James 1:26-27. A verse that is very familiar with those in the adoptive world.

If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless.

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Notice how there are 3 parts of true religion.

  1. bridling the tongue
  2. visit orphans and widows in their distress
  3. keep oneself unstained by the world
How can we practice true religion when we are neglecting one or more of these 3. I have a passion for the orphan (obviously) and yet I often fail when it comes to bridling my own tongue. Not to mention, being worldly and living with performance based living, that is being stained by the world.

Like I said, I was challenged and brought to a humble place before God to examine my heart before Him. The messages are going to be available for listening on the Together For Adoption website (HERE). It might take a day or two before they are available. Hopefully you can also find encouragement.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ethiopia in the Bible

Just thought I would share what Chuck had gathered in his studies on Ethiopia in the Bible. If you are FB friends with him, he posted this a few days ago, but I found it quite interesting. Below is a copy of his notes. He must have shared this with the girls because they were able to tell me all about it at the dinner table last night. Oh, I wish I could retain knowledge like they do.

Since we are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia I wanted to do a little research on mentions of Ethiopia in the BIble. I had no idea what a rich Biblical history Ethiopia has! It is mentioned more than 45 times in Scripture! Here is a short overview of several of them. (NOTE: I did not write this!!! The following is a compilation of notes & excerpts taken from from several websites.)

Ethiopia is first mentioned in the Creation account itself. The river that watered the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:10) split into four giant rivers: "The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold... the name of the second river is Gihon: that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia." (Gen 2:11, 13). God's "Garden" was quite colossal, actually - more like a giant preserve, a country or a continent. His "Garden" had to be watered by a mighty river! That river split into four other mighty rivers, two of which flowed in Ethiopia.

The prophet Zephaniah was at least half Ethiopian (he had an Ethiopian father, no info about his mother). This Israelite prophet was a direct descendant of King Hezekiah: "The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah." (Zep 1:1). "Cushi" means "man of Ethiopia". There are three men named Cushi in scripture, all very prominent: Joab's runner (2 Samuel 18:21-32), the great-grandfather of Jehudi the scribe (Jer 36:14), and Zephaniah the prophet's father (Zep 1:1).

Moses had an Ethiopian wife. He married her after his first wife died. Moses' only children were through his first wife, Zipporah (1 Chr 23:15). God punished Moses' sister Miriam with leprosy after she and his brother Aaron spoke against Moses for marrying her (see Numbers 12:1-15).

Another Ethiopian saved Jeremiah's life. Jer 38:4-15 records: "Therefore the princes said unto the king, let this man be put to death..." Zedekiah the king said, "Behold, he is in your hand..." "Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire. Now when Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, one of the eunuchs which was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah in the dungeon; Ebed-melech went and spoke to the king, saying, My lord the king, these men have done evil to Jeremiah the prophet, whom they have cast into the dungeon; and he is likely to die for hunger in the place where he is: for there is no more bread in the city.

Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Take thirty men with thee, and take up Jeremiah the prophet out of the dungeon, before he die. So Ebed-melech took the men with him, and went into the house of the king under the treasury, and took old rotten rags, and let them down by cords into the dungeon to Jeremiah. And Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, Put these under your arms. And Jeremiah did. So they drew up Jeremiah with cords, and took him up out of the dungeon: and Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison.

Jer 39:15-18 says, "Now the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, while he was shut up in the court of the prison, saying, Go and speak to Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring my words upon this city for evil, and not for good; and they shall be accomplished in that day before thee. But I will deliver you in that day, saith the LORD: and you shall not be given into the hand of the men of whom you are afraid... because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD."
God used this Ethiopian man to save the life of the prophet Jeremiah, then God blessed Ebed-melech by saving his life in return.

God also used a rumor about an Ethiopian king to save Jerusalem during one of the most famous battles in the Bible. The Bible talks about this battle in 2 Kings 18 and Isaiah 37. There was a king named Rab-shakeh who had Jerusalem surrounded. It looked like God's people were doomed. He had conquered other mighty nations before attacking Jerusalem. But he got so proud and cocky that he started blaspheming God. Isaiah 37:7-9 is God's reply to Rab-shakeh: "...he shall hear a rumor, and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land. So Rab-shakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria warring against Libnah: for he had heard that he was departed from Lachish. And he heard say concerning Tirhakah king of Ethiopia, He is come forth to make war with you...." -- God sent Rab-shakeh back to his own country and killed him. And He used a rumor about Tirhakah, king of Ethiopia, to get Rab-shakeh back there.

Of the nations that Israel went to war against in her history, Ethiopia had the largest army. Its size is mentioned in 2Ch 14:9 "And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with a host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah." A thousand thousand is a million. Zerah the Ethiopian led a 1 million man army, the largest numbered army that Israel ever fought. Zerah the Ethiopian went to war against Asa king of Judah, whose army was much smaller. Without God on their side, any army of any size can be defeated. 2Chronicles 14:10-12 continues "Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. And Asa cried to the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou [art] our God; let not man prevail against thee. So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled."

Another Ethiopian (the Ethiopian Eunuch) is mentioned in Acts chapter 8. We know he had traveled over 1,000 miles, from Ethiopia to Jerusalem, to worship God (Acts 8:27). It would be hard to believe any man would travel that far across the desert by chariot, but he did.
In Acts 8:28, we find him "reading Isaiah the prophet" as he traveled. When Philip drew near the chariot he asked the Ethiopian if he understood what he was reading. He replied, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" (Acts 8:31). After this, Philip got up into the chariot and "preached Jesus to him" (Acts 8:35). In the course of preaching Jesus, Philip spoke of water baptism. We know this because the Ethiopian said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" (Acts 8:36). Philip responded "If you believe with all your heart you may" (Acts 9:37). The man then confessed, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." His confession was an acknowledgment of the Lordship of Christ. After his confession, "he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him" (Acts 8:38).

Pretty cool, huh?