Sunday, September 27, 2015

Why I Believe Our Family Should Homeschool

There are many issues that are not black and white issues as to how everybody should do something or another. There are many principles that are in the Bible that will convict different people in different ways. This is true of Homeschooling. The Bible never says "Thou Shall Homeschool" nor many other things that people believe strongly about in the raising of their children. But that does not stop the Bible from convicting me that what I am supposed to do in the case of my children is homeschool them.

   Here is what causes me to be convicted of that. Perhaps you will agree and have the same conviction for your family but perhaps it will cause you to go in a different direction. I understand that. My prayer is simply that you will seek God's will in the way you raise your children.

  The Bible tells us various places that Children need to obey their parents and that we as parents are responsible for training and discipline their children. Here are some verses on that:

"Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your Father and Mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:1-4

"Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk be the way and when you lie down and when you rise up." Deut. 6:5-7

The reason that this causes me to homeschool is that we have more time to work on these things. If me children were to go off to public school they would be gone for the majority of their waking hours and definitely their most alert hours. Our time to train and instruct them would be quite limited. Also These verses speak of training them in the ways of the Lord - this is something that the public school teaches the opposite off much of the time and so I don't want to have to re-teach and re-train my children after they have been taught in-correctly.

  Another reason I am strongly convicted to homeschool my children is because I want them to Love God and know Truth first of all. This is not what the public school teaches.

Psalm 119:160 says: "The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting."

God's word is where truth is found and the Bible is allowed to be taught out of in public schools so our children would not be able to study God's truth while they are in school. I want the Bible to be a large part of my children's life and their studies and so I homeschool them so that can happen.

There are many other Biblical principles that also guide me in making that decision but I will leave it at this for now.

  What verses have you found that guide you as you raise your children and make decisions about their upbringing?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Home Sweet Home - Ken's Office

 So I had said that I would give you tours of each room as it got finished - well life got busy and that didn't happen so well. There are a few places that aren't ready for tours as they had some finishing work that still needs to be done (a built in desk, built in shelves and cushions covered for our window seat and things like that we are hoping to get done this winter) but for the most part the house is done I just haven't given my room tours as I said I would.

 Ken's office is one of the smallest and simplest rooms in our house so it was also one of the first ones to be complete.

 Ken had made this desk set when we lived in Wichita, KS and it has taken many moves with us. He designed the room to fit his set but being a little nervous that somehow it would end up to tight he made it a couple of inches too big. Well it is a couple of inches too big. Oh well - it still works great!
 Ken thought it would be fun to have a two tone room with a woodsy wallpaper border. He chose this very pretty one of cabins on a river and I had fun putting it up.

  The floors are wood in here as they are throughout the majority of our house.

Ken uses this office everyday as he takes care of our finances/book work, does my business book work, works on things in his role as chair of our county's Republican party, does some of his work for his insurance agency at home along with other random things. My husband is a pretty busy guy and have a nice organized place to work in is important to him.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Healthy Snacking

 I was asked if I could share some ideas of healthy snacks that we can feed to our kids.

 This was a subject I have thought much about as we like to eat healthfully and we are a family that loves to snack. There have been times that I nearly want to pull my hair our when I would hear the "What can I have for a snack?" many times throughout the day. Throughout the years I have tried a lot of different things but we do continue to come back to some snacks over and over.

 Something I am looking for in snacks is something that has some nutritional value (it doesn't have to be perfect every time but I want at least some redeeming value in eating it), is easy to prepare and it isn't terribly expensive.

 Here are some of our old stand-bys:

  • Sliced Apples that we dip in peanut butter. Right now it is apple season around here and my parents have lots of apple trees that have lots of apples and they have been sharing with us. We are so blessed!
  • Popcorn with butter and nutritional/brewers yeast on it.
  • Homemade bread with butter and honey or homemade jam. I made whole wheat bread once a week and we love it fresh but we also enjoy it later. Sometimes the kids will toast it for their snack.
  • Toast with cream cheese, sunflower seeds and cucumbers or sprouts on it. All of my kids love this but it is a treat as we don't always keep cream cheese on hand.
  • Healthy cookies. This means that they are made with whole wheat flower and quite possibly oatmeal and that they sugar has been either drastically reduced or replaced altogether with honey. I also will at times add raisins, squash or zucchini to the cookies to give additional nutritional value. 
  • Crisp - this is more often a breakfast or a dessert but if their are leftovers then it becomes snack too. Jonathan made a apple crisp today (pictured above) for our evening snack. It is nice because though it is a sweet it does also have lots of fruit and whole grains in it. They are also quick and simple to make. Here is our recipe: Jonathan cored and cut up (we don't bother with peeling) about 1 gallon of apples to which he added 1/2 cup sugar, 1 t. cinnamon, 1/2 t. nutmeg and 2 T. flour. He stirred that up and put it in a cake pan. Then in that same bowl he mixed up 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup sugar and then cut in one stick (1/2 cup) butter. That mixture then goes on top of the apples in the pan and you put it in the over to bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.
I have a funny story from last night about snacking. I took my girls to a Bright Lights meeting and all the attendees were asked to bring a snack to share. Megan ate some snacks but later when asked how she liked the event her comment was that it was okay but the snacks were way too sweet. She took a cupcake and she didn't want to waste it (so she didn't) but she had a hard time eating it because it was so sweet. It reminded me of how much I bake differently than many people and how my kids have learned to prefer that. We don't need super sweet stuff - we just train ourselves to want that but if we work on training our taste buds (and you can do this training gradually) to appreciate subtle sweetness then they will do that and then the super sweet stuff will just be overwhelming. 

 I wrote another post about non-sugary snacks this year with ideas and then there were a lot of ideas added in the comments too. Feel free to take a look at that.

I would love to hear your favorite healthy snacks!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Jackpine Retreat

Saturday Morning Service - photo by Bob
 Every year, two weekends after Labor Day, we head north to go camping with other Christians for a few days. In my lifetime I have only missed two years (one year I was living in Iowa and was really pregnant- just a week or so away from my due date- and the other time I missed we were living in Kansas and it was a really long trip) and I hope to keep it at those being the only years I miss. Our family loves going out in the woods and doing rustic camping along with family and friends who all share a love of Jesus Christ.

  We bring our own food to cook over the fire or campstoves or some of the modern people even use crockpots and electric griddles. We go without showers much of the time though there is a rustic shower at the site that does work some years. :-) The kids play in the woods, do tons of carving and just have a grand time roaming free. We have morning and evening church services around the campfire. Singing around the campfire which goes on for a nice long time is always lots of fun. This year Bob B. brought the sermons and did a great job of speaking about change.

   My parents don't generally camp out anymore but do come up for the day on Saturday. My older two siblings and their families and our family have taken over the campsite that my parents have always had through the years and we have a campsite together and do our cooking in the same place (though we each bring our own food) and wash our dishes together and so forth. Our younger three siblings however decided to branch out to a different campsite (along with their spouses/families).  Unfortunately my younger sister Martha and family were not able to come this year but Keren and Luke and their spouses still had that campsite along with some other friends from church.

  That group tends to decorate their campsite up a big every year with white Christmas lights, a mug tree made from a tree and things like that. It always looks cute. This year as we were packing for Jackpine Megan insisted that one of our top priorities was to make our campsite look pretty too. She wanted to compete a little and having the nicest campsite. Her top priority was pretty tablecloths and she wanted lights too but as those were in storage I suggested candles instead. I did also throw in some bunting that I had made.

  Once we got up their I mentioned to my younger siblings and spouses that we were "competing" this year and after that they kept coming and checking on what progress had been made at our campsite. We decided that we would judge on Saturday evening. Anyway the idea kind of evolved and it ended up that other campsites also decided to "compete" and a panel of judges was selected and we all got to work at making our campsites beautiful.
A special dining area was requested by the younger girls of our campsite. I hung a tarp and Uncle Peter (our log artist) volunteered to make a table.
 Mara and Margaret got to work on making a welcome sign. They used a metal poker thing and heated in the fire to do some wood burning.

 Mara and Margaret also went wandering off in the woods and made us a fancy arrangement using moss for florist foam.

  Mom brought up a bunch of produce (squash, apples, tomatoes zucchini and cucumbers) and I had fun arranging them in Anna's picnic basket to make a lovely big fall arrangement for one of our tables. (But we didn't seem to get a picture of that.)
 The table is completed.

 Our friend Irindee was celebrating her birthday soon and so we had an impromptu surprise Birthday party for her - complete with a log cake! It was cheesy but I think she liked it anyway.
 The panel of judges is assembled and looking over the first campsite (belonging to my younger siblings and friends). Mary, Tracy and Irindee were the judges.
 Luke had done a chainsaw carving for the occasion and he had made some pretty nice log benches.
 My brother-in-law Benjamin (at least that was the name signed on the picture I believe) drew this lovely unique picture.
 They had a lovely mug tree.
 Next our campsite was visited. Notice my bunting above and the sign on the tree. Our chairs we had arranged on one side so that they looked like a rainbow. We also had a patriotic section of chairs.
 We had a coat rack for our jackets.
 A lovely hammock was available for relaxing - or playing music in.
We also had a mug tree and another tree for hanging dishcloths and towels on.
 Next campsite belonged to the Lorenz's. Theirs was super organized and had fun pops of color. Ben had also used his chainsaw to carve a cool Welcome sign on a dead tree and then had mounted two wooden swords above it. We unfortunately did not get a good picture of that. It is in the photo above on the left.
 Here are some examples of their color.

 The next campsite was lovely with a natural looking archway and "fence" made from ferns, flowers and sticks.
 There was a line-up of cute kids to greet the judges.
 Flowers and leaves on the table too.
 The judges making their decisions.
Later some of our crew enjoyed eating at our new dining space.

Well I need to head to bed but I hope you enjoyed seeing a bit of our fun weekend of camping in the northwoods!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Some Tidbits of News from Our House

  •  School has started! We truly school all year round starting from when they are first born as life is a school (We do work on our History, Science, Bible, Music and more all year round) but workbooks like Math, English, Copywork and Spelling are special treats for the school year. We started up last Tuesday and the first couple of days we had a special guest joining us as her mother had jury duty. She was very fun to have around.

 Jonathan works up at his desk in his room. Mara usually works at her desk in her room too but the younger two work at the table.

  •  We have so many beautiful flowers blooming (we threw around zinnia, marigold, cosmos and some other seeds this Spring and we are loving the results now!) and I love being able to cut and arrange them and share them.

  •  It is honey extracting time. We use a big drill to run our extractor with on it's very lowest speed. Well this year something happened to make it not go into low speed any more. Well it said it did but it wasn't. I was running the extractor and I was really concerned I might break my wrist any moment, it was so powerful. Some of my frames were blowing up in the extractor because of it which was making a mess. But I am a little stubborn and figured since we had been using the drill other years it must be fine this year too I just wasn't getting the hang of it. Mara kept saying "Mom, we need a different drill!" but I kept at it until it whipped out of my hand and I bruised up my hand and arm at which time I did go dejectedly to Ken to see if he thought there might be something wrong with the drill. He came to check it out and gave it one little try and said "That almost broke my wrist!" Well that made me feel better. I guess I wasn't such a wimp after all. So we decided to use a less powerful drill. We are a little concerned that it might burn it out but Ken said it was cheap so it isn't a big deal. We got our least amount of honey ever this year but are still feeling very blessed.

  •  Earlier this summer Megan and Aaron found monarch caterpillars and brought a couple inside. We put them in an old glass fish tank with a bunch of milkweed leaves and a piece of lace over the top. They made chrysalis and then one day they came out. Watching that happen never gets old!

  • We continue to work at harvesting and putting up for the winter every day. Lately it has been quite a lot of stuff each day. I wish the days could be longer but am working to make do with what I have!
I hope you are doing well! I would love to hear about what is going on in your life.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Alone Yet Not Alone {Movie Review}

A while back I was asked if I would like to review the movie "Alone Yet Not Alone" a historical movie produced by Tracy Leininger Craven and Dr. Jim Leininger (father and daughter). I am always hesitant about movies. We don't watch movies very often and there is a good reason for that. So many movies are filled with violence, bad language, sex, disrespect to parents, disobedience- the list can go on and on. So many children's movies even seem to have a hidden agenda to push anti-christian values. But after reading about the movie I was quite interested in reviewing it.

I am glad I did!

This is based on the true story of the Leininger family who were immigrants to America. This movie is set in 1755 in the midst of the French and Indian war. It was a time of tension between the Native Americans and the settlers. The film tells about the horrifying journey of Barbara and Regina Leininger after they have been kidnapped by the Deleware Indians. They face so many struggles but are strengthened by their faith in God and the song "Alone Yet Not Alone" a song that their family had taught them. That song is truly part of the historic story - a German song by that name was one that was loved by their family and gave them strength. I don't believe we know anything more of the song than the title but an absolutely beautiful new song was written with that title to be used in the movie. You can hear it in the video above.

  I don't want to give away the story - but I will say that though it takes years the sisters do eventually make it back to the part of their family that was not murdered by the Indians. The story behind it is pretty amazing.

  The film is an adaption of Tracy Leininger Craven's novel by the same name. She had researched her family history and found this amazing story.

Some of my takes on the movie:

  • There is some violence. It would be pretty much impossible to have a movie about this historical happening without it. But they are careful to try to express what happened with as little violence shown as possible and the violence is not at all glorified.
  • It is a very neat way to learn a little more of the history of this time period! Seeing things happen made me have a little better understanding of the French and Indian war.
  • The movie is quite well done. Costumes are very neat. The setting is beautiful. The actors and actresses do a good job. It seems to be very well researched.
  • The message that God is with you no matter what happens is very clear and such an important one. This is something that I want to always remember and I want my children to have that imprinted in their hearts as well. That in any struggle that they may go through - God is there too. He can protect them and even if they should die, that God has something better for us in heaven.

 I feel that we may be coming into very interesting and perhaps challenging times and our faith may be tested. I want my kids to have the Bible (not probably all- but that isn't a bad goal) memorized, songs tucked away in their heart and a strong relationship with their Savior so no matter what they go through they can always turn to Him for strength. Stories like this one that give the example of turning to God is a wonderful tool to help us to remember to do that too.

 Anyway - I do recommend this movie and am glad that we got to watch it and that we were introduced to this song. You can find the DVD on Amazon. To see more behind the scenes you can watch this this Youtube video.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Why I Believe Christians Should have Nothing to do With Witchcraft and Sorcery

Is this even an issue of our day? We would like to think that it isn't (at least I would) but it is!! Book after book in the juvenile section of the Library have messages about witchcraft and/or sorcery. Movies for both adults and children (Disney movies seem to be heavily influenced by it) are filled with magic and witchcraft. Over 400 million Harry Potter books have sold world wide and a U.S. consumer research survey reported that "over half of all children between the ages of six and seventeen have read at least one Harry Potter book." I know many Christians let their children read Harry Potter but I would question why when the books talk about demons, magic, spell casting, levitation, animal sacrifices, astral projection, crystal gazing and communing with dead souls. There is actually much more in the Harry Potter books than even that list there. I have not actually read them but I have read enough about them that I am extremely leery of them. But they are not the only books or entertainment like that by any means.

  But does it really matter?

What does the Bible say about this subject?

Galatians 5:19-24 "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealously, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like there, of which I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."

In the Old Testament God spoke out against sorcery very strongly saying in Exodus 22:18 "You shall not allow a sorceress to live." Also in the Old Testament law God said: "You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying." Leviticus 19:26 and "Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God." Leviticus 19:31

"He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But or the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral person and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone which is the second death." Revelation 21:7 and 8

When we simply read or watch things that dwell on sorcery and things like that - that isn't a problem is it? After all we aren't truly doing those things.

There are some verses that make me think differently then that....

Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."

Romans 1:28-32 "And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them."
My thoughts on this verse is that not only should we not do what is wrong but we also shouldn't give hearty approval of others that choose to do wrong.

"For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness." 2 Thess. 2:11 &12

I don't think we ever want to take pleasure in what is wicked.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Is this something you have thought on and studied before or is this something new for you to think about?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Harvest Time

 I feel like I haven't been able to really sit down and blog in ages but right now it is Harvest Time and that has first priority. My goal for a while has been to get something canned, frozen or dried and put away for winter every day. We have been doing that. Once in a while it is just drying an herb or something small like that but then there are days like today where I canned applesauce, salsa, apple butter and dilly beans - so progress is definitely being made.

  We are blessed that our garden is doing pretty well this year. We are also super blessed as usual because my parents garden is doing well and they - like always - are sharing with us. Here are some odds and ends of pictures that have to do with harvest.
 Aaron and one of his watermelons. He planted small northern varieties. He ate one small ripe one but this bigger one wasn't quite ripe. We will be waiting longer on the others. We did save the rind and I hope to make watermelon rind pickles soon for the fun of it.
 Some of today's canning.

 Megan had fun playing with some of the tomatoes the other day.
 Melons in the garden.
 We have eaten quite a few meals of corn. Unfortunately I planted my corn to near my sweet corn so they mixed a bit which makes some of our sweet corn not so sweet.
 It is a jungle in there! My cucumbers didn't go up the pallets very well. I do have them going over them more now than at the time of this picture.
 Our Indian corn is really tall!
I need to harvest the honey soon!

Are you harvesting and putting up food at your place? I would love to hear what and how you are doing it!


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