Friday, September 28, 2012

Building Family Ties with Faith, Love, and Laughter


“Laughter and Joy shouldn’t be guests in your house; they should be permanent residents in your everyday life”

I received Building Family Ties with Faith, Love, and Laughter (Faithful Families) by Dave Stone from Booksneeze yesterday and read it one day!  I just couldn’t put it down.  I felt it reaffirmed my own personal parenting purpose.  Throughout each day, we have to be intentional and ensure that we are building a joyful, secure home. 

Here are some book highlights:

The book talks about developing a family mission statement and how this will give your family direction, a focus that holds your family together. Secondly, I like how Stone talks about the importance of a family dinner table time.  While we do this at home, we are quite lax when the boys want to be excused after eating.  Stone through his insightful stories, helped me fast forward in my mind the teen years when our boys might try to get away with this and how that can be risky during those critical years. He gives ideas on how you can establish routines during dinner including developing fun and silly questions ahead of time to create bonds with your family.

I’m excited about implementing Stone’s Good, Better, Best  principle in our family.  It’s a method in which as a family we discuss what is a Good response to a situation encountered and what would be a better or best response?  The author gives the example of being a friend’s house for dinner and a good response is, ‘thank you for dinner, may I be excused?’  A better response is, ‘this dinner was really great! I liked the chicken, May I be excused?’ The best response is, ‘Thank you for dinner. I really liked the chicken. Do you need any help cleaning up?’

This book is jam packed with stories and ideas of how to develop and strengthen your family.  I highly recommend this parenting book.  It is a quick read and you can determine which methods to implement.  As for me, we might be implementing them all Smile


I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pillow Talk First, Fun Pillow Fight Afterwards

Image courtesy of photostock/
Image courtesy of Photostock /"

I saw Pillow Talk Questions for You and Your child on Pinterest the other night and I just had to go and try out these questions with our boys.  It was a humbling experience to hear some of their answers.  Here are just a few that will forever be engraved in my mind…
  • What do you like to dream about?
Lil Dude: I like dreaming about becoming a super hero and helping people
  • Who is your hero? Why?
Lil G: My hero is my dad. He is wise and I like how he works helping kids.
  • How would you describe your family?
Both: Crazy! Fun! and… sometimes Angry.  (Ouch. It was super hard for me to swallow that one.)
  • If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?
Lil G: Being timid and shy. I don’t like people thinking that I don’t want to be their friend...
  • What are you most proud of yourself for?
Lil G: Trying new things like joining a Performing Arts class because I am really shy.
  • Who is the kindest person you know? Why?
Lil Dude: My mom. She snuggles and watches tv shows with me even when I know she has a lot of things to do. (I melted right then and there)

Afterwards, you can engage in a nice little Pillow Fight Smile
One thing for sure is that your kiddos will be honest.  Brutally honest.  I’ll admit that my sweetie and I have some work to do on the “Anger Management” department.  But it felt really cool to hear their thoughts.    These questions were so awesome and we did half of them the first night and the ten on the second night.  By the third night they wanted more and I had to search for more ideas!  So I encourage you to try this out with your kiddos.  They are great conversation starters and you never know what they might say!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Our Journey to Virtual School

Virtual Schoolvirtual school lil g

Over the years we’ve homeschooled using a number of curriculums. Sonlight, Apologia, Bob Jones, Teaching Textbooks and… so many more! This past year we made a prayerful decision for our family to find a better balance. We decided to go VIRTUAL. Yep. I said it. We are now official charter school students in a virtual schooling world.

We began our new journey in August and now that we are a month in, I have to say, I love it. We’ve been blessed with two amazing co-teachers for each of our boys (I call them co-teachers since I’m still the one teaching the lessons here at home). Connections Academy staff and teachers have been an amazing resource to me.

In the past years, I still wanted our boys to take the yearly standardized exams issued by the state. So even with a hodgepodge of curriculum choices, I made sure we were covering the relevant topics and used our state standards as my guide. Guess what?! We received Lil G’s scores last week and he received ah-mazing scores! He even received an “Exceeds” in Science! Insert proud mom beaming face here. So entering Connections Academy I wasn’t afraid that our boys were behind in any way. We just wanted to try something new that might be a better fit for our family.

So a quick Pros/Cons:


· I didn’t have to pay for the curriculum this year (we’ve spent an average of $700 each year on new curriculum. I know there are more budget friendly ways to homeschool on a shoestring budget, but we averaged this amount)

· I didn’t have to PLAN our lessons this year. As a result, I found myself to be WAY more creative. I’ve learned that I seem to have a limited amount of creative juices and after pouring all of it to my lesson PLANNING, I have a little bit of hard time finding extra teachable moments.   However, since now the plans are laid out for me entirely, I find extra teachable moments.  Sometimes during my very easy planning time (gathering materials for the lessons, reviewing what will be covered, etc.), I’ll pull resource books from our original homeschool library to supplement.  This makes our learning WAY.MORE.FUN!

· We’ve been more accountable with our lessons. I’d say in the past years we would say… hmmm we’re having one of those days. Why don’t we double our lessons tomorrow? Let’s cut our lessons in half, why don’t we and go to the park ;)

· We got an extra FREE computer to use in our home. Yep. Free.

Cons (these cons are actually the cons given to me by my old homeschooling colleagues)

· We have to stick to “their” curriculum timeline. So not really flexible in jumping around. But hey, it’s all good. I’m finding no stumbling blocks there.

· “You are now not official homeschoolers. You are involving the government in your education. With a computer in your home, you now have Big Brother in your home.“ My response: “Um… ok?”

· “What?? Virtual schools don’t teach from a Christian Perspective? They don’t have Bible study in their curriculum?” Hmmm. I consider myself a Christ follower. I teach from my perspective. We complete our family bible study together. In our home. Quite frequently might I add. Thank you very much!

So, according to my ex-homeschooling colleagues I’m not an official homeschooler anymore according to “their” definition. We are “schooling at home.” I find it so disheartening when people have to judge or find a way of making people feel like they are inferior for personal decisions they’ve made in their lives.

Oh and one more thing. Next year, things might change. I love that about us. We find every year that we are evolving and progressing and finding out what works for us. Without compromising our values, of course. So for now, we are checking this Virtual Schooling out. And so far… I am loving it.

Anyone else trying out or tried out a Virtual Schooling program? 

Monday, September 24, 2012

So Proud

Ever do things as a ritual and don't stop to realize the bigger picture?  I was visiting my sweetie at work and realized how crazy it was that he is now able to park in the "Reserved for Principal" parking spot.  I stopped and had to take a picture.  I know that my sweetie never thought in a million years he would be parking his car in such a spot.  Not long ago he called himself a "knucklehead" who didn't know if he was even going to make it to eighteen years old. Even at 21, he was still lost.  He told me that he had a life with nothing but prison or early death in his future. Now, he is parking his car in his reserved spot.

It's amazing how God works, isn't it?  I am so proud of my sweetie.  He has worked very hard to get there.  And while I know that these things are a wonderful testimony,  I'm thoughtful about our own reserved spot in heaven.  One reserved spot just for us that we don't even have to work hard for! Saved especially just for you! A reserved spot that is eternal.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you
 1 Peter 1:3-4

Have you made your reservation yet?

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Foto Friday

I got an exciting birthday present this past summer and I am still trying to get used to it.  There is a steep learning curve with with this Canon Rebel T3i when all I’ve ever had to do with a camera before is point and shoot.

I’m determined to take my new DSLR off the automatic mode this fall and I feel like I am studying for a final exam.  I’m more of a person who likes someone to show me and teach me with this than trying to understand all the lingo on my own.  Until then, I’m thankful for the automatic feature Smile.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Little Red Book of Wisdom

Little Red Book Cover

This is a book I decided to try out from BookSneeze awhile ago and my review is long overdue. First of all, the title sounded interesting because wisdom is something I am almost always searching after.  In fact, I think it is the one thing I always ask God to give me in my personal prayer life.

The book promises small wisdom insights from famous people like Billy Graham and Nelson Mandela and not so famous people as well.  The book is split in two with wisdom for professional life and the second half of the book is wisdom for personal life.

Some of the wisdom incorporated in the book seemed like common knowledge but the author spins it in a way that can really keep you engaged and pondering.  I love stories.  In fact, that is how I teach our boys… with stories. So this is great.  One chapter in particular that stands out to me is “Technology isn’t everything … learning to use it wisely.”  I’m not sure how much I agreed with “Technology isn’t everything” as it seems that this is an era where we can’t live without a smart phone glued to our hand. However, I agree that we have to learn to use it wisely.  In a household where each of us carry our own electronic device, I know I need to remind my boys these tidbits of wisdom to create a happy technological balanced life.

The book seemed a little  more geared toward men so I handed the book to my husband who really enjoys reading leadership books.  He enjoyed the short chapters.  It probably isn’t a true page turner, but can we can see picking it up to read a chapter a day or maybe a week.  Even further,  I can see passing down some these stories to our boys throughout life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I know, I know I've taken a hiatus from blogging for awhile.  I had a huge work project in the last year and now well, I'm on a hiatus from work :)

I'm taking the time reconnecting with my roots of being what I love most and that's being mom, wife, homemaker, and planning for our new homeschooling year.

I'm not necessarily sure when work will pick up again, but in the meantime I'm loving this break.  It's taking every ounce of me to not try to fill up my plate again with other things during this work break and focusing on the beautiful things in life.

This year, we had an AMAZING summer.  And that is a lot to say.  I will admit that for the past 7 years or so, the thought of summer always made me want to throw up in my mouth. Being a wife of a school teacher and surviving on one income meant we stretched every dime, nickel, penny to make it through the summer.  My sweetie always opted for the lump some paycheck at the end of the school year and we would be super diligent in making it last.  This is where I learned to be the most super frugal woman shopper and budget stretcher crazy madwoman.

One summer, my sweetie was working on his residency status on his doctorates degree and I ended up working the summer at Starbucks.  I looked at it as a temporary research assignment as I had developed a passion for coffee that year.  Amazingly, it almost turned out to be a career when his position as a teacher and his new position as a school administrator was in limbo.  Ugh!  Just remembering that makes me want to hurl again.

About 4 summers ago is when I miscarried. The summer before that, my grandfather passed away.  Oh and the summer before that, my father passed away.  So you get the idea.  I never liked our summers.

But, this past summer was awesome.  We had a Washington DC vacation and ended up staying also in Utah and Nevada.

Lil Dude in front of White House
Lil G in front of Washington Monument
That's what I LOVE about homeschooling ya know?  We studied American History all year and got to actually see it in action.   Hearing my boys making connections with what we learned and talked about to what they were seeing in person was such a blessing!

I'm hoping to keep up with the blogging again.  For now, reflecting on the past summer has got me all smiles today and I just wanted to share.
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