Friday, February 27, 2009

Fitness Friday: The Summer Edition

I really need help. I have dreamed about wearing beautiful long flowing skirts all winter and yesterday I tried one on and I looked TERRIBLE! I guess I haven't lost as much weight as I feel like I have. Or maybe something's wrong with our mirror.

Or maybe, and this is probably it...I need some new clothes. My skirts are pretty, but I need some better shirts to go with them. It's so hard. I don't really like a lot of what is being sold in stores today.

Here's my real dilemma: there are modest clothes to be had. There are beautiful, modest skirts and dresses to be had, but so much of what I see when I shop online is way too fancy for my life.

It's like Stacy and Clinton. Their "weekend outfits" they come up with for people make me crack up! If I wore one of their weekend outfits to Wednesday night Bible study people would wonder why I was so dressed up! My life is either just far too casual, or clothes are just far too dressy.

Or maybe it's that there is no middle ground. There is either really, really casual stuff and I don't want to spend my summer or my life being that casual because I believe my husband deserves better, in spite of his comment on my last post, than seeing his wife slop around in jeans and t-shirt every single day. Or, there are beautiful clothes which I cannot even imagine wearing around. More and more I feel out of place in a skirt at church. Skirts are definitely the minority. And I want to wear more beautiful clothes on a daily basis---but what?

ACK!!!!

Don't even get me started on swimwear, OK? I'm not willing to swathe myself and my daughters in yards and yards of fabric. I appreciate the modest swimwear I find online. I really do. I agree that it makes no sense to insist that my daughters' shorts are long and their skirts aren't too short and they don't wear spaghetti strap tank tops.....and then go out in a swimsuit that shows everything we've been covering up! I mean, I do choose modest swimsuits for the girls--as far as swimwear that is offered in the stores today I pick what's modest. But really, it doesn't make much sense.

And as for myself? Oh it's a fine line between modest and Granny swimsuit. No offense to any grannies out there, but I'm 38 and husband would rather not see me looking 70 until I AM 70, you know? I want modest...not frumpy.

So I need help for summer. I need links. I need advice. I'm ready.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Have a Few Things To Say About Clothes

Last night I was working my way through my Google Reader when a post by Erin made me stop in my tracks. It was a post about large families dealing with laundry.

I don't have a large family, but I do have laundry.

The links she provided offered me many wonderful minutes of entertainment. Oh, the pictures and organization! I'll save you time and give you a direct link here. But do go to Erin's link and see how she and her husband solved their problem. It's just so cool!

I started dreaming immediately of moving the girls into one room again so I could have all their clothes in one place. Wouldn't that save time? I think a family closet right near the laundry room is a great idea for any family--but difficult to do in some cases. Well, it got me thinking.

So I'm not going to get rid of all our dressers and put in shelves with baskets because we have matching furniture! And the girls have nice dressers--but surely other things could be stored in them besides clothing. Because you don't want to see the inside of my kids' dresser drawers. I honestly don't know why I bother to fold them. And re-organize them every month.

So I was lying in bed thinking about all this when husband got up this morning. In the early morning hours when everyone is still asleep and the house is very quiet, there is probably no louder noise than these dadgum drawer pulls.

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I hate them.

Our bedroom suite is the first furniture we ever purchased. We bought it when we had been married about 3 years and I thought we were so uptown because we had a bedroom suite (while the rest of our house was decorated in "early marriage." You know...hand-me-downs from everyone we know. NOT complaining! It was great!) I figured we would have this same furniture for the rest of our marriage, just like my parents still have theirs.

The headboard already bit the dust. It had one of these shell/fans/peacock things on it just like the dressers.

When I smushed husband over to his side of the bed too much he would say, "Are you on your side of the shell?" He's so funny.

But we moved it around too much post Tropical Storm Allison when our house flooded and it never did reattach to the bed. We leaned it against the wall for a few more years and the last time we moved it, it just about snapped in two.

So we are left with 2 matching dressers. With REALLY LOUD drawer pulls.


I guess I could replace them. Hmm.

It's just one more reason to think about these family closets. I don't know if I'll do anything about it, but a girl can dream can't she?

And this is obviously a topic that weighs on my mind because I have written no fewer than 22 posts about clothes since I started this blog.

How are you doing with your laundry?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fitness Friday Topic

It's really hard to come up with topics that will be relevant for everyone, so as usual, if you don't like the topic, talk about whatever you want in your post.

I've been thinking about the upcoming change of seasons. I know some of you have already been enjoying the beach coughJulieMomcough, but some of us haven't donned a swimsuit or summer wear for many months now. I know others of you have a long way to go before hot weather comes to where you live. Regardless, it's something we need to get ready for.

How are you planning to handle summer? Do you have plans for extra exercise to get ready? What are you planning to wear? How do you handle swimsuit issues for you and your daughters? (I'm looking for ideas here!)

Tell us how you are going to get ready for the next season!

Monday, February 23, 2009

We Have a Winner!!!

*OOH! Edited to add this link to Molly's etsy shop! Go check out her cute stuff!


No make-up. Supper in the oven. The girls are outside playing...QUICK! Time to draw for the winner.

You take your moments when you can get them, you know?

Please excuse the really annoying coffee can in this video.


video

Congratulations! And go check out Molly and all her creativity over a her blog A Bit O' Shine. She's really crafty! And I mean that in a good way. :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Creating a Haven

I have been very honest with you all about my housekeeping abilities. I have been home full time for a year and a half now and I've come a long way. Before that, I worked full time and we weren't home much and not that much got done. Actually, before children, our house stayed pretty OK since we were never here!

My room growing up was always a disaster. And I shared that room with my naturally organized sister. Yes, it was just like The Odd Couple. I still struggle with learning to keep every single room in our house neat and orderly and clean....while we are home using them every single day. It's very hard!

But I have a good sense of humor about it all. A good friend came over this weekend and she wanted to see my house. Since she is a good friend I even took her into the laundry room. And ya'll...when she saw it, in all it's glory, she hugged me. She was so over-joyed that someone else's house gets like that. It really cracked me up. So..I'm an encouragment to others. Good to know.

Friday I woke up with one goal in mind: to get the living room in order. We were having friends over for Bible study that evening so I had a deadline to keep me on track. I vacuumed every corner, dusted every surface, cleaned the ceiling fan...everything. It looked really good when I got done. And we've done nothing but try to maintain it since that evening. I cannot believe the amount of stuff that gets put down in this room!

So of course I want to keep going and get another room really and truly clean. But I have to keep that living room in order at the same time. I can always do this for awhile, but let someone get sick, let it rain for a few days, let our schedule get busier than usual....and it all goes to pot...REALLY FAST.

But I will keep trying. The reason? I want to create a place for my husband to come home to and relax in the evenings. I want a room where I can not die of embarrassment when folks show up at the door. I've decided that since my kids have their own rooms, and I no longer have big plastic things in the living room (exercauser, swing, playpen, etc. etc. etc.) that there is absolutely no reason why we cannot have the living room stay free and clear of children's belongings. Oh they are welcome to play in here, but then that stuff best go back to it's own home!

If we are to use this house in ministry to others, if I am to have a place for my husband to unwind at the end of the day (and me!), if we are to have one island of calm amidst all this chaos...then I MUST keep this one room nice.

It is my mission.

So if you come over anytime soon, you are welcome to come on in. Just don't ask to use the bathroom, OK?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fitness Friday: The Time Capsule Edition

Last week I posted about my time capsule and now it's your turn to post about yours! This is a special Fitness Friday because everyone who participates in the time capsule activity will be entered in a random drawing to win this beautiful, feminine bracelet lovingly made by Molly. And don't you just love the picture there? :)

So...if you have made a time capsule....AND EVEN IF YOU HAVEN'T AND YOU JUST WANT TO POST A REGULAR FITNESS FRIDAY POST...please sign up on the Mr. Linky below. We would love to hear from you either way. We can't encourage each other on our healthy journeys if we don't keep in touch!

So let me hear from you either way, and I'll draw for the winner of the bracelet on Sunday night or Monday morning. That way we'll be able to accommodate everyone whose definition of "Friday" is fairly flexible. LOL

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The One That Nagged At Me The Most

No, not one of my children....the curriculum choice that was the hardest for me. Bible.

When we first started homeschooling I thought, "Well...we'll just use THE BIBLE!" Who needs curriculum?

But the logistics of teaching two children who are 4 years apart in age are different in real life. Many homeschoolers have a much wider age range than that to deal with, I know. Little Bit was 3 when we started homeschooling and I was lucky if I could get her to sit through a reading from a children's Bible. Meanwhile, Sweetheart knew a lot of the "basic" stories and needed to work on memorization and stuff.

To me, there is "family Bible stuff" and there is "Bible as a subject in school." Now don't get me wrong, our family does not sit around having devotions every night. Maybe we should...but we don't. What I am talking about here though is Bible as a subject in school.

I want them to memorize things: the fruit of the Spirit, the names of the 12 apostles, the Lord's Prayer, the books of the Bible, etc. I want them to learn scriptures and be confident in finding them in the Bible. I want them to hear Bible stories and read Bible stories and enjoy them. I want them to get an idea of the order of things. Oh, there is SO MUCH I want them to learn! And after I learned about all the catechisms out there...I realized there is more than just facts to learn, but doctrine too!

Bible is the most important subject in my opinion. Oh, don't get me wrong--the other stuff is important too...but if you teach your child to read and yet they don't read God's Word....

OK, so. I've tried a million things. All of it was found on the internet or made up by yours truly. And some of it was good. But I wasn't satisfied! And there was no rhyme or reason to any of it.

Then, in a moment of frustration I asked you guys what to use and I also posted that question on The Homeschool Lounge. And that is how we discovered this:


It's called Bible Study Guide for All Ages. This is a picture of Little Bit's book. It's for 3 years old through Kindergarten. Sweetheart uses the Intermediate book for 1st through 3rd graders. Get this: EACH DAY THEY ARE ON THE SAME STORY!!!! It's heavenly. I sit in between them and read the verses from the Bible and then pause while they complete that section on their page. See how cute the cartoon drawings are?

The directions will tell them to circle something or color something or fill in a blank or whatever. We go through the story a few verses at a time so there is no long extended listening. And it's all there for them in cartoon form.
On the other side of the sheet there is memory work, map work or timeline work for the older kiddos, and a make believe application story for the little ones. This is Sweetheart's page and although it looks like a lot of words, some of it is just "Say the first 5 books of the New Testament." It goes really fast.

It takes us two days to get through one of these sheets and we have been doing 2 sheets a week. On Fridays we use our DVD Bible which is cute, but annoys me because it leaves out big parts of stories. Oh well. The songs are great and they like to dance around the room.

Now, having said all that....Little Bit is getting tired of the work involved in this curriculum. I think for her right now, being a very young 5, one lesson sheet would be enough each week with other stuff done the other days of the week. So, we may not always be on the same story (which makes me twitch) but I also don't want her to hate Bible because I pushed her so it would be more convenient for Mommy. You know?

Now, if you have a child who prefers writing, fill-in-the-blank, word finds, etc. they might not like this too much. I have a 9 year old who is all about the art and the coloring. In fact, in the evenings she had been known to gather up all her old lessons and finish coloring them. And I'm still trying to figure out how to store these old lessons (the paper is long) so they can look back at them whenever they want to.
Little Bit, on the other hand, is not so big on the coloring. But surprisingly, she has colored these sheets. That's the front of her sheet up there. You can certainly do the story on the front without coloring it, but it's something to think about if you have an anti-colorer. (yes it is a word)
I only bought the student sheets and they are very affordable. I haven't felt the need for all the other stuff you could buy but OK--the CD would nice and I would really like to add these Bible Book Summary Cards.
So there you have it. That's our Bible curriculum and it's working great for now.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Propose a Name Change

I couldn't be happier with our curriculum switch. Sweetheart couldn't be happier. Yes, yes...we dropped down to a pretty easy level so right now it's SUPER easy for her...but still, we love it.
I also ordered Little Bit's Kindergarten book at the same time and when she saw the Math U See Primer Student book, (it's about an inch thick) I thought her jaw was going to hit the ground. She's already very scared about starting school. I'm not sure why, but she's got it in her head that it's going to be hard. I guess she's seen too much 3rd grade work around here! I set her book aside because we aren't going to start that until next year.

But she's interested in what Sissy is doing...

and she's watching her enjoy it.

And she's already asked to join in 2 or 3 times.

And Sweetheart taught the lesson back to me-just as she should be able to...


So I think we shall no longer refer to it as "Math U See." Around here, it's now Math U Love.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Goodbye Social Studies...Hello Learning!

Since I've been homeschooling, I've noticed how much homeschoolers talk about "History." You won't hear much talk about "Social Studies" amongst homeschoolers. Earlier today I was explaining how Social Studies is taught in my home state of Texas. So, is it taught differently where you live? Just wondering.

There are many things that bother me about the public school's approach to Social Studies. Besides it being "all about me" and all the things that are probably left completely out...the thing that bothers me the most is the lack of order.

Now when I was going college to be a teacher and they drew the target on the board with the child in the center and the circles getting bigger and bigger...it made sense. Children understand what they know. They need to be older to grasp world history. It made sense.

But looking back as a student--it didn't make sense. There was just no sequential order to it. There was no chronology. Sure, I was taught the history of my state, and the history of my country. I was taught something about world history--I remember that class in 11th grade. But WHAT was happening here while this was happening there? I have no idea. How does it all fit together? No clue. I learned everything in such random order that really none of the puzzle pieces went together. (of course, I didn't realize it)

And guess what else? The world does not revolve around me! *gasp*

May I show you another option?

This year we are using The Mystery of History by Linda Lacour Hobar. (I am not being paid for this plug because it's not a plug. It's just a completely new way of doing things to me and I want to share.) Another similar curriculum I have heard great things about is The Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer. But I can only talk about what I know.

The Mystery of History will take 5 years to complete. It begins with Creation and ends with our present day. It is written from a Biblical World View, which is important to us. The center of history in this curriculum is God. Christ. The Creator of all things. The story of what has happened on this planet centers around the One responsible for this planet's existence. Just like it should be.

This year we are covering from Creation to Christ's Resurrection. Naturally, this includes a great deal of Bible stories. Sweetheart likes that because she is already familiar with them. But to find out what was happening in China while the Israelites were wandering the desert or to find out what was happening in Egypt while the first Olympics were going on is just so cool! I am putting together the big picture this year and loving it. Sweetheart is lucky to have this view point from an early age.

Enough talk. Let me show you what it looks like.

This is our timeline. The book gives very detailed instruction on making a timeline. It stressed me out to no end, so we decided to do it our own way. Sweetheart is an artist so she loves this part.

Around once a week, after we have read 3 small sections, we add the timeline items for that week.

The book gives suggestions for things like Adam and Eve's leaves. Much giggling that day. It's still one of her favorite pages.

Gideon has a burnt match in his hand to remind us of the torch used in the battle that never was.
We wrapped a mummy in toilet paper.


She really gets into this part of the lesson. And if your child is not artsy, you can buy timeline pieces here.

We just use this little gingerbread man die cut to trace the pieces. She reviews the timeline every week or so. She enjoys looking back at what we've done.
Every lesson has a "What Did You Learn?" (test) and a "What Do You Know?" (pretest). Sometimes we just do them out loud together.

And every single day of reading has activities for younger children, middle children, and older children. So, you can use this curriculum with all of your students at once. Presumably, we will get to the end of our 5 years and we will start over with this curriculum. Next time, Sweetheart will be in 8th grade...so she will be doing the "older children" activities, and probably reading it herself too!

This time around is really just an introduction. But seriously, did you know who Hammurabi was when you were in 3rd grade? It's a pretty good intro!

Besides the book and the timeline, we use a world map a lot. She wrote this when I left the room to go check on Little Bit and I had told her, "show me where you think Rome was." So, geography is built in too.
And here are some of the fun things you get to do. I'm being very honest when I tell you that most days we just read, discuss, and move on. Sometimes we don't even do the activity. Sometimes it's not very fun. But here are some cooler things we've done.

Literally 5 minutes after we finished the mummies, we began packing to evacuate for Hurricane Ike. Good times.

Stonehenge. AND we had pictures from a friend's vacation to look at of the real thing.
The creation of man in playdough. :)
Turns out history is a really cool subject. And Mama is learning a lot this year! So, I think we'll pass on the Social Studies, thank you.

It's a Mystery How Much I Never Knew!

Do you know the difference between History and Social Studies? 'Cause when I first started homeschooling I noticed that I kept hearing the word "history" and realized "history" isn't really taught too much in public schools. (well, not in elementary anyway) Why do all these homeschoolers talk about history so much? I wondered. So...do you know the difference?

Social Studies begins in Kindergarten focusing on studying "all about me" and also their family and classroom. First grade widens the circle a bit and focuses on themselves in relation to their classroom, school, and community (focus is still on "me"). Second and Third graders focus a lot on the community the child or school is in. Fourth grade students study the state they live in, and Fifth graders learn about our country. That's how it was where I taught, and I checked the web and it is still true today. Do you see how "ME" is in the middle of the target, with ever-widening circles going around? It really IS all about me as far as Social Studies goes! :)

I got curious just now as to what goes on beyond the elementary school in Social Studies, so I had to look it up. Sixth graders study the contemporary world. So...it's not world history, but present day world studies. Seventh graders still study Texas history, just like I did in 7th grade (no doubt taught by a football coach who puts his all into his classroom time!). Eight graders learn about American History, mostly focusing on Colonial times through Reconstruction. Ninth grade, get this....continues the study of American history from reconstruction to present times. This is intended to build on what was taught in 5th grade, but deeper of course. And I'm sure that works great because by the time a student is in 9th grade I am POSITIVE they remember what they learned in 5th grade. *cough cough* Courses in World History, World Geography, and United States Government round out the child's education.

I never once questioned the way Social Studies was taught before I began homeschooling. But now I'm thinking about the very phrase "social studies" and what it means. Here's a definition for you. Do I want my children studying our society? Yikes! Not to mention the fact that there is more included under the social studies umbrella than anyone could hope to teach a group of students in a year!

I'll be back later today to tell you about the history curriculum we are using this year--where the focus is definitely NOT on "me."

By The Way...

I know many of you were touched by Giovanna's comment on my recent post. I am lucky enough to know Giovanna in real life and I am thrilled to report she started a blog! Yea! Her family is so fun and I have enjoyed getting to know them and I think you will too. So drop by and welcome her if you get a chance!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Fresh Start

I am actually excited about school tomorrow! I have really enjoyed the curriculum we chose this year...except one thing: math.

When we started teaching our kiddos at home last school year, I stayed primarily with Abeka curriculum, because that is what Sweetheart had used at private school for the year and a half prior to coming home. She was comfortable with it, liked it, and it was working. It was still great last year in 2nd grade. This year I switched away from Abeka for all subjects except math.

So we've plodded on with our 3rd grade math book and it's been a struggle. I knew this was a possibility as I had heard that math really changes in the 3rd grade book. I think it was the pace more than anything that was killing us. We've shelved the book and picked it back up several times during the course of this school year and last week I told Sweetheart she could throw it away AND take a week off of math while we waited for our new materials to come in. She was quite agreeable to that arrangement! (although she did say she had really liked Abeka--and I had too. It's a good curriculum--except that pesky 3rd grade math--for us, anyway!)

I am very happy to report that tomorrow morning we will begin using Math U See in our homeschool. Thanks to the generosity of a few friends who loaned us teacher books and DVDs, we are set to go. I am very excited about this curriculum and that is why I am looking forward to school tomorrow.

Also, if you order materials in the middle of the year, you only have to wait a few days to get them in the mail. Hmmm...one more reason not to stay on the traditional school calendar!

And I will admit that I am still stuck to that calendar in many ways. I very nearly made Sweetheart finish that math book before we could start something new next school year. Why??? Why not start something new in the middle of February? Why does Kindergarten have to wait until next August? Start Little Bit when she's ready! School does not have to begin in August and end in May. What a concept.

And I will say that I have learned more this year than I ever learned in school as a student! I love our history curriculum. I love our science curriculum. I love our Bible curriculum. I am really enjoying learning with the girls.

And now I'm ready to enjoy math too. *relieved sigh*

I think I'll be sharing a little more about what we are using this week because goodness knows I LOVE LOVE LOVE reading what other folks think about their curriculum. It's way better information than reading a professional review!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fitness Friday: Open Posting (and a giveaway!)

Big exciting news here at The Family Revised!!! Next week we will be having our very first giveaway! More on that in a minute...

First, LET'S MAKE A TIME CAPSULE!


Get a container. We are going to fill it with stuff related to our weight-loss/getting healthy journey.

Good. Now, find an article of clothing that fits you, but you won't miss for a year and sincerely hope will not fit you in a year when you open the time capsule.


This is a t shirt that was husband's but sadly, fits me. I wore it over my swimsuit at Sweetheart's last birthday party and was horrified by how I looked in it. I surely hope it looks ridiculously big on me by next year!

Put it in.
Now, write down your weight or measurements. Just some sort of hard data, you know?
Ha ha. You didn't think I was going to show those numbers, did you?

Put that in the box.


Now let's see....what else could we add? AH! A picture! Get someone to take a full body picture of yourself. Or, if the only person in the house is 5 years old and taking a nap....try to do it yourself.

Cringe a little. But smile knowing how different you will look in one year!!! Put it in the box.

Now put something in the box (or take a picture of it) that represents what you are tempted by or struggle with. Hmm, let's see.



Put it in the box. In this case, it was definitely a good choice to put a picture instead of the real thing because I wouldn't want to break into the time capsule early simply because I had a craving and there was a lack of chocolate in the house! That would just be sad.

There really aren't any rules here, by the way. You can put whatever you want in your time capsule. I'm sure some of you will come up with really cool ideas and I will have to break into my time capsule to add them. Karly, you are going to have to be extra creative here, but you were a teacher--you know how to modify, OK?

If you are an exerciser...let's put in some data there too. Write down what you are bench pressing, how many miles you can comfortably walk or run, your Wii Fit number, Red Machine of Death data....whatever. In my case, I will put down what I want to be able to do in a year.
See? That's me walking, being happy, having a healthy heart, stretching, and most importantly, the one in the middle is the verse that talks about hiding His Word in our hearts. If we aren't spiritually fit, then we aren't really fit, you know?

Put your exercise stuff in the box.

When you get it all like you want it, seal it up and put it away. Make sure to affix a tag on the box that says something like "Open February 20, 2010."

OK--what else could we do? I'm posting this early so you can help me brainstorm. Your time capsule posts won't be due until NEXT Friday, February 20, so you have time to think and plan.


Now about that giveaway...if you make a time capsule and post about it, you will be entered to win this gorgeous hand-made, beautifully feminine bracelet:

Isn't it lovely? It was made by Molly at A Bit O' Shine. She's offering it this week for our giveaway. How cool is that? (Thank you Molly!!!)

Even if you don't make a time capsule...please post next Friday anyway. There are no rules here and I hate for you to skip out just because you didn't have time to make a capsule. Please do check in and give us your update anyway. But, if you post about the time capsule, you will be entered in the drawing for the beautiful bracelet.

Now isn't that all good news?

So, #1: help us think of other things we could include in our time capsules.

and #2: post about your time capsule next Friday. Hopefully, we can all open them together in a year and marvel at our progress! Right? Right? RIGHT!!!!

Now....today is open posting. Fire away!





Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Helping Our Children Be Biblically Literate

I ran across a few documents lately that amazed me. First of all, let me explain to you the depth of my former ignorance. I had never heard of the Westminster Shorter Catechism until last year. You either? Oh good. I'm not the only one. For those of you who have always known what that was...how did you know?

I first read about catechising our children in Voddie Baucham's book Family Driven Faith . Kelly at Generation Cedar gives a brief introduction to catechising your children in this post. So I started poking around the internet and looking at all this catechism business that I have somehow missed knowing about for over 30 years. (Well, I knew my Catholic students attended catechism classes, but that was the extent of my knowledge.)

There are many, many catechisms. One of these was Martin Luther's Large Catechism from the 1500s. It was not written in the typical question/answer format, but instead was intended for the teachers (especially parents) to review so that they would be able to teach their households.

Now HERE is a really interesting point....made by Martin Luther himself. (this quote is from the Wikipedia article linked above)

However, it is not enough for them to comprehend and recite these parts according to the words only, but the young people should also be made to attend the preaching, especially during the time which is devoted to the Catechism, that they may hear it explained and may learn to understand what every part contains, so as to be able to recite it as they have heard it, and, when asked, may give a correct answer, so that the preaching may not be without profit and fruit.

Now I don't know about you, but that bolded statement, bolded by me...really hit home. How many American churches do you know of where the children never even set foot in the worship service? I know of too many. We recently re-vamped our schedule at church to accommodate a new program for the kiddos and I was ever-so-thankful that everyone agreed the children still needed to be in worship for at least a portion of the time. I know some of you go to churches where there is no children's program, but I would say that is probably a minority. You can correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway, our children worship with their parents up until sermon time. That is when they are dismissed to their program and the adults are free to listen.

Are you starting to see a problem related to all this Biblical illiteracy? If America's children are never hearing preaching....and are not being taught the basics of theology and the Bible at home...then what can we expect? And I'm talking about the children from Christian homes! Husband and I just a few weeks ago started discussing what we are going to do next year when Sweetheart is in 4th grade. We decided she should start really listening to the sermon and taking notes at that time. He started younger...I started taking notes on the sermon at the age of 10. So, we agreed that even though sooner would be better, kids are kind of different now than they used to be. Our children's ministries are certainly different. We told her that at the end of the summer, she would be learning to take notes on the sermon and really listen.

And then we realized she would be missing her Bible class time to do that. Hmm. Problem. But what can we do? She'll just have to miss it!

I want to share one other document that I ran across in my research (sorry there is so much in this post!). I came across the Mother's Catechism , which was never officially adopted by the church in Scotland. If you would, take a minute to scan this document. I know it's hard to read because of the old writing but LOOK at the content!!!! Now I know that what is missing from Sweetheart's knowledge is doctrine. She knows the bible trivia really well. She knows most every Bible story you could think of. But she doesn't know all of this! And the Mother's Catechism was written for those children who were younger and not ready for the Westminster's Shorter Catechism!!!

If this is what children used to know....then our kids aren't looking too good. But hey, at least America's children get this when they go to church...right?




Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fitness Friday--Good News!

Your assignment this week is.........you have NO assignment!

Fitness Friday is open posting this week. Tell us anything you like. Share pictures. Share tears. Share a funny story. Whatever you want!

Hope you are having a great, healthy week! See you Friday.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Are You Biblically Literate?

I've been thinking about this term "biblical illiteracy" for a few days now. The Barna Group had some things to say about this several years ago. From our own personal experience, my husband and I watched a few years ago as the junior high group struggled to locate a scripture in their Bibles. What book was that scripture in? The gospel of Mark. So, yeah. I would have to agree.

In my reading I did this weekend, I learned that 100 years ago, even people who did not consider themselves religious probably knew more about the Bible than many Christians do today. When the Bible was used in schools and books such as Noah Webster's Blue Back Speller, everyone had some knowledge of scripture. Students got the biblical references in Shakespeare's writings. This article had some interesting things to say on the subject.

Well, as usual I'm still mulling over a lot of things in my mind. I'll probably be posting on this topic some more once I get it all figured out. For the time being...I'll leave you with a few quizzes. The first one has the answers with it so it's really not fair.

Quiz #1
Quiz #2
Quiz #3

How did you do? How do you think your kids would do?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fitness Friday: The Something New Edition

I feel so proud of myself! As you know, I haven't truly exercised one lick since this all started. Terrible, isn't it? I mean, I don't sit around on the couch all day...but I also don't belong to a gym or own any workout equipment.

But this week the girls and I started something new! We began stretching every day together. I cannot believe how tight my muscles are and how UN flexible I have become. Sweetheart is 9 and she also cannot believe how much she used to be able to do when she was in gymnastics compared to now.

Truly, it has felt so good to stretch every day that I can feel it in my muscles LONG after we are done. I think it's actually a good thing to do before you start really exercising hard (which I DO plan to do!) because I feel like I'm waking my muscles up.

And after only 3 days we could already tell a difference. How cool is that?

OK--I did pretty well on drinking iced tea more than coke. I did better staying away from the sweets. I didn't stay away from them all the time--but I did better. Probably because we have very few groceries in the house! Ahem.

I have done really well at getting dressed and fixed up every morning. I have my nails done (by me) and put on make-up each day. It feels nice to look nicer. My grey t-shirts still call to me and one day I actually put one of my favorites on. But then I caught sight of myself in the mirror and I went and changed.

OH! I did 2 new things! I started using my new bread machine. It has been so nice.

OK--your turn. What did you try new this week? How did you do on your goals? Are you going to make any new ones this week? Post on your blog and then come sign up on Mr. Linky.

Have a great Friday everyone!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I'm So Inspired I Almost Can't Stand Myself

Ya'll.

Thank you so much for all the compliments on how much I seem to have gotten done in January. Here is where I should keep it real and show you some pictures of various other areas of my house and life but I don't want to sear that on your memory. It's not pretty.
For example, we rearranged our bedroom a few months ago. It was awesome because we had it the same way for nearly 2 years and that is some sort of record for people like me who were born to rearrange.

I did notice that I was putting the bed under a window which is very bad Feng Shui. Not that I believe in that stuff. Well, I didn't notice our positive energy flying out of the room or anything, but I did notice that we were FREEZING TO DEATH under that window. So, I started to rearrange last week, but it wasn't working. And then I noticed the walls really, really needed to be painted. And then I stopped and tried to convince husband he needed to spend his weekend painting with his lovely wife.

Yeah. It's still half-rearranged and not painted. But he did do pretty well on the golf course, so there's always that...

HOWEVER...I did receieve the best link ever from a good e-friend of mine. The link is to The Nesting Place and her little blog has inspired me to do a great many things. Well, the e-friend inspired me first, but then I found out she was getting some of her inspiration from Nester so....I'll give dual credit where dual credit is due.
It's made me do some things I've been putting off for oh, say 2 years.

Finally hung pictures in the foyer. Entryway? OK, we call it "front hallway" (as opposed to "carpet hallway" where the bedrooms are located because my children get confused easily). Here's the transformation for you:

Above is the wallpaper (and light fixture) when we moved in. Then we painted the walls and stripped off the wallpaper. I'm not going to tell you how long it stayed just like this:
And now? All done!



Well, except the "E." Over a year ago I bought this golden E.
I didn't like the gold but figured I would paint it and hang it in the center of that entryway amongst all the pictures. AND...yesterday I did. But I broke it while hanging it up. So we drove to Hobby Lobby to get another one. We found the golden letters and looked up to see: A....B....C....D.............F. Man! No more E's. It just goes to show you shouldn't wait to do something wonderful. There is no perfect time--just do it! I'm so happy I got these pictures hung up finally. How silly to live here all this time with a blank wall!

Also, I was looking through old pictures with my mom and noticed her old sewing machine cabinet in the background of one of the pictures. I remember that sewing machine and cabinet so well from my childhood. She used to sew in the living room. In the summers she sewed in the add-on room and moved to the dining room in the winter. I asked my mom if she still had that old cabinet and guess what? It was covered up in boxes in the add-on room. We took the old sewing machine out of the cabinet. Dad said you could use it for a boat anchor it's so heavy.

That left a hole where my machine will not fit. So handy husband fixed it up for me.


And now it has a new home. YEAH! It takes up less room and I don't have to clean off my sewing table everytime we want to use our camping table. Plus it was my mom's and Dad said it's been in many states. It was a floor model from Sears. How cool is that?

My machine won't store inside, but you can close the little door and that makes it look a little tidier.

Lastly I would like to share a picture of Sweetheart's playing yesterday. Here are the Playmobil people as set up by her.
Now for the backstory. The girl on the horse in the center of the circle? Well, they are all circled around her because she stole something and they just aren't going to let her get away with it!

See the frying pan in her hand? The other lady has a knife. They DO NOT put up with stealing, OK?

I'm concerned about the violence ya'll. :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A New One on Me

I had never heard of this phrase "work spouse." I found this article both interesting and disturbing all at the same time. What do you think?

Fitness Friday Assignment

Try something new!

Do a new kind of exercise, eat something new and different, change your routine to be healthier...whatever. Choose a new healthy thing to try and do it. Report on your results on Friday.

See you then!