Wednesday, December 30, 2009

SAHM Survival Pack

I’ve been thinking for a while about doing a giveaway with a Stay at Home Mom (SAHM) Survival Pack. The giveaway is now scheduled for the week of February 1st through 5th. To get ready for this giveaway, I will be writing each week about one or two items that will be included in this survival pack. Please help me by leaving comments to suggest other items for this pack. If you are a follower of Of Such is the Kingdom, each comment during this series will be counted as an entry to win the SAHM Survival Pack (with the first comment of this blog being the #1 entry and the last comment on February 5th being the last entry).


To begin the SAHM Survival Pack fun, I’ll just share three links to blogs I’ve already written about things that I couldn’t live without as a SAHM. Remember, each of these will be included in the Pack that is given away in February.

  • Spirulina--a wonderful algae that can be taken like a supplement. I can now report that neither my husband nor I have had to treat a serious cold since taking Spirulina!
  • Baggies--I use them for everything; I’m sure you do too!
  • Grapefruit Seed Crush--I now use this to sanitize and to treat all kinds of infections.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgement and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:6 and 7
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Funny Girls

I usually don't post pics of my kids on this site, but I couldn't resist posting this one! Something new I'm learning this Christmas (don't ask me why I haven't noticed it before!): there is a wonderfully sweet, almost painfully beautiful, joy in watching my kids be silly and enjoy life. Happy week of Jesus's birth, everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Tree Magnets

This year for little gifts for the extended family we're giving tins of assorted homemade cookies. To decorate the outside, we used green, red, and yellow craft foam. After I bought the package of plain foam, I saw Wal-mart actually has sets with the Christmas trees and sticker ornaments that you can buy. We just cut out our own trees and ornaments. After we were done glueing on the red balls and stars, we stuck a sticker magnet strip to the back and connected the magnets to the tins. They make a very simple but cute gift!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Philosophy of Parenting at Christmas

It's been a while since I've waxed eloquent on parenting. Now's a great time to do it because this may be the last quiet hour before the holiday madness begins. (Insert deep, soothing breath.)
Let me just begin by confessing that I have COMPLETELY failed this season to put Jesus first.
I know this because:
1. I have yelled at my kids at least once every day.
2. I have made 15 batches of yummy cookies (what mom of 3 can do this and keep her sanity?)
3. I have wrapped, decorated, entertained, blogged, cleaned, and done laundry on a regular basis.
4. MOST of my holiday chores are already done.
Do I believe that numbers 2-4 can be done without number 1? Yes, but. (It is incredibly rare.)
I want to prioritize rightly this Christmas.
As moms, our first and foremost job is to put Jesus first. We are told that all other things will follow this. ALL other things--all important other things. Lord, help me learn!
"Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:31-34
We could think of it this way:
"At Christmastime do not worry, saying, 'What will I give for gifts?' or 'How will I make this the best Christmas ever for my kids?' or 'What if my house is not perfectly clean and decorated?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows what you need for Christmas. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things..."
So (if I may preach to myself a bit) Momma of precious little ones, seek Jesus and His kingdom first, and let Him prioritize your holidays!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Blog Giveaway Results

And the winner is...



Heidi!

Thank you (thank you, thank you!) to all who participated! Be on the lookout for giveaways in the future. The one I'm contemplating for next time is a "Young Mom's Survival Pack." (Details to follow in 2010!)

Oilcloth Bag Giveaway

Check out this rbt bag that I'm giving away below! Scroll down or click here and comment to win!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Blog Giveaway-Closed

Today's giveaway is this AWESOME oilcloth bag from rbt bags! Check out more about Rachel and her bags here and on her website. Oilcloth is so very practical and every bag at rbt bags is a beautiful, colorful print. This makes a very stylish way to carry around all those necessities of motherhood!

I'll be letting random.org choose a winner, so the more times you comment, the greater chance you have to win. Here are the requirements for comments:

1. First, you must follow my blog. Become a follower, and leave a comment telling me that you are. If you're already a follower, please leave a comment telling me so.
2. Visit rbt bags and look at their featured items . Leave a separate comment telling me what you like from their store.
3. Leave a separate comment telling me what you find is a must-have in your childcare bag. I'll be glad for the recommendations and advice!

This Giveaway will close on Wednesday, December 16th at 7:59PM EST.

Merry Christmas and Happy Giveaways!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Four Things I Love About Christmas

I love the nativity and the fact that the King and Sustainer of the Universe came to earth as a tiny humble babe. I also love teaching our children with the nativity and the fun and beauty they bring to the story.
I love Christmas food! Even a fruit tray can be fun at Christmas. This one has green apples, green pears, mandarin oranges, cranberries, and a little fruit-by-the-foot for the bow. I took it for the boy's school Christmas party.
I love fires and snuggling up with my family while it's cold outside!
And I love decorating for Christmas! This is our family room tree with all of our kids' ornaments and the ornaments from when we were kids.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Handprint Wreaths


There's something about a child's handprint that is dear to every mother's heart (maybe even those we clean off windows and walls!). Perhaps it's the fact that children's hands grow and change so quickly! These wreaths memorialize your child's handprint from the current Christmas. This would work with as many or as few hands as you would like to use. For ours, I used all three children's hands on each wreath. Each child's hands are in a different color.

For this project you'll need: white paper, finger paint in Christmas colors, green card stock, hole punch, ribbon, and a jingle bell (opt.)

Have each child put their handprints on the white paper in roughly a circle. I did my oldest two children's handprints first then filled in with the baby's hands.

Clean up the children and let them go play.

Cut around the handprints on both the outside and inside of the white circle.

Tape or glue the white circle onto the green card stock and cut around the outside of the circle on the green card stock.

Punch two holes at the top of the wreath, thread ribbon through, and tie into a bow. Include a jingle bell if desired.

And there you have it! Last year we made ten of these at one time (LOTS of messy hands!) and then took them around to our neighbors and friends a week before Christmas with batches of whole wheat pancake mix. The kids loved "handing" off their wreaths to their buddies. They were so proud! Merry Christmas!

Linked to Kid Friendly Friday, Finer Things Friday, and Frugal Friday

Christmas Cookies

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the annual "take the neighbors something homemade" tradition. Last year we made hand-print wreaths (come back tomorrow for those pics) but this year it was COOKIES, COOKIES, COOKIES (and cranberry squares)! None of our cookies were the "Wow, that's too beautiful to eat!" kind, but they are all favorite recipes and hopefully no one will notice the lack of beautiful icing because they'll be too busy enjoying them!

The kids helped make the Yellow Cake Oatmeal cookies and they balled and dunked almost ALL of the Snickerdoodles. They never tire of pouring in ingredients and stirring. After two double batches of cookies, though, they were ready to go play, and to be honest, I was ready to let them! They also helped bag the cookies and they'll help with the delivering tonight.

I wish I could share a bag of cookies with everyone who reads this, but since I can't make EVERYONE cookies, I can at least share with you the recipes we used.

Cranberry Squares 1 1/2 c. sugar, 1 t. almond extract, 2 large eggs, 2 c. fresh cranberries, 3/4 c. unsalted butter, melted slightly and cooled, 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, 1/2 c. chopped pecans Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat sugar and eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until thickened; add butter and almond extract, beating well. Add flour to sugar mixture, beating well. Stir in cranberries and pecans. Pour batter into buttered 9-in. square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack. Cut into squares. Freezes well.

Snickerdoodles 1 cup shortening, 1 1/2 cups white sugar, 2 eggs, 2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons white sugar, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). In a large bowl, mix together the shortening and 1 1/2 cups of white sugar until smooth. Stir in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each. Combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt; stir into the batter until blended. Roll the dough into balls the size of small walnuts. Roll in a mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Granny’s Oatmeal Drop Cookies Boil together for 5 minutes: 1 ½ cup sugar, ¼-1/2 cup cocoa, 1/3 – ½ cup shortening/margerine/oil, ½ cup milk, 1 tsp salt Remove from heat. Immediately add: 3 cups oatmeal, 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla, 1/3- ½ cup peanut butter Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper and let cool and harden

Yellow Cake Oatmeal Cookies 1 package yellow cake mix, 2 large eggs, 2 cups quick-cooking oats, 1 cup chopped pecans (opt), 1 cup sugar, 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup oil Combine first 3 ingredients. Combine oil and eggs. Add oil and eggs to first 3 ingredients. Stir in pecans and vanilla. Cook at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.

Jacob’s M & M Chocolate Chip Cookies 1 cup butter, softened, 1 cup granulated sugar,1 cup brown sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla, 2 ½ cups uncooked quick-cooking oats,2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 cup M & Ms Beat butter and sugars at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until blended. Pulse oats in a food processor to a fine powder. Combine oats, flour, and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in chocolate chunks, grated chocolate bars, and pecans. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls onto lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 10 to 14 minutes.

Again, I say, Merry Christmas! And Happy Cookie baking!

Linked to Things I Love Thursday.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Blog Giveaway Results

And the winner is...



Stacie!

Thank you (thank you, thank you!) to all who participated, and please join me for next week's giveaway of a beautiful rbt oilcloth bag!

CD Giveaway!

Go here and comment to win the 3 CDs pictured above. They are a great way to teach kids scripture and catechism!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Blog Giveaway-Closed

In the long awaited, first ever Of Such is the Kingdom Blog Giveaway, I am very excited to be able to offer the 3 CD set of Songs for Saplings "Questions With Answers!" (As mentioned before in this blog.) Each song takes one or more of the Children's Westminster Shorter Catechism questions and sets it beautifully to music--music that both children and adults can enjoy, I might add. These songs are constantly playing in our van now, and it is wonderful (truly wonderful!) to hear my kids beginning to sing along. This 3 CD set is normally $30, but because of a 25% Christmas discount, they are now only $21! You can listen to whole songs from the CDs at their site, so hop on over and order a few sets for Christmas presents!

I'll be letting random.org choose a winner, so the more times you comment, the greater chance you have to win. Here are the requirements for comments:

1. First, you must follow my blog. Become a follower, and leave a comment telling me that you are.
2. Visit Songs for Saplings and listen to a song. Leave a separate comment telling me that you've done this. And no, I can't check to see if you did, but you'll be glad you did, I promise! The songs are catchy and you'll love 'em!
3. Leave a separate comment telling me your kids' favorite music these days and/or your kids' favorite way to learn scripture. I'll be glad for the recommendations and advice!

This Giveaway will close on Wednesday, December 9th at 7:59PM EST.

Merry Christmas and Happy Giveaways!
(Stay tuned for next Monday's giveaway. Check out what I'll be giving away here.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

What God Wants for Christmas and the Jesus Storybook Bible

Have you heard of What God Wants for Christmas? This is an excellent way to celebrate advent for families! This will be our second year to go through it after receiving it for Christmas a few years ago. The set comes with a book with seven stories corresponding with seven boxes to open and a nativity scene. Children open each box to find the characters of the Christmas story. Each rhyming story builds the child's anticipation for what God really wants for Christmas, which is "in" the last box. The last box holds a mirror for the child to see him/herself. This concept might have to be explained to younger children (my children always say, "Nothing!" when they open the seventh box), but the message is good and giving oneself to God whole-heartedly is a message we all need to hear at Christmas and all year!
The "God wants you" message is Biblical and needs to be heard, but it would be good for me to follow up with a review of The Jesus Storybook Bible because it is totally focused on Him. The subtitle is "Every story whispers His name." It is another great way to celebrate advent (but don't stop there, of course!). This well-written children's Bible focuses on how the whole Bible is really about Jesus, and each OT story ends with a summary of just how that particular Biblical event looks toward the coming of Jesus. Check out the website for videos of each of the stories--you can watch one free there every week!
These are two "Finer Things" so this is linked with Finer Things Friday.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Another Homemade Kids' Meal

A while back, I blogged about the kids' meals I made for my kids on a long-distance trip. I've made them for my kids several times since then and they are always a big hit! (And healthy, inexpensive things that my kids love are definitely things that I love!)
I didn't add a toy to these particular meals, but they did have a sugar treat, which to my kids, is almost as good as a toy anyway. The tortillas that are laying sideways so that you can't see them are cut in the letters for each child's name; the star on the top is also cut out of tortilla. The rest of the kids' meal includes: mandarin oranges, mini applesauce muffin, mozzarella cheese pieces, celery, carrot, nuts, and a 3 Musketeers.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Thanksgiving's over and I'm definitely getting into the Christmas spirit. This is one of our trees (I know, we're a little Christmas crazy around here!); the other tree has all of our kid/home made ornaments.
This tree is entered into the Christmas Tree Contest at Mama Buzz.

Friday, November 27, 2009

What My Kids Are Getting For Christmas

In honor of all of you who are out there shopping today, I'm posting what I'm going to buy for my kids while I'm sitting right here on my couch. (hear a contented sigh here) I've never been a big shopper, and the ease of shopping online has me hooked! I won't publish what the adult members of my family are getting (they might see!) but the kids will never know if I let you in on their secrets. Here are the basics:
The oldest is getting her own set up for making herself beautiful. It's time! She's ready for her own hair dryer, lighted mirror, and junior makeup set. (She's going to LOVE it!) I'll probably go here for the mirror, here for the makeup and maybe here for the hair dryer.
The boy is going to be in hog heaven with this marshmallow shooter from Hearth Song. Yes, it really shoots miniature marshmallows! The video of a mom shooting marshmallows at her kids' mouth on this page is priceless! It will be fun to pack this present in a huge box with four or five big bags of mini marshmallows. I'm sure we'll all have fun with that at Christmas, though I may be finding moldy marshmallows all over the house for a while. The boy will also be getting 4 very boyish costumes that I bought after Halloween. He can be a Ninja Turtle, G.I. Joe, a fireman, or a Transformer.
The youngest girly will be getting a Noah's Ark block game that I bought a month ago on sale at Hearth Song (yes, I love their toys!) and a Tinker Bell costume, also bought on sale a month ago. She'll probably get a few more odds and ends as well. I think she's going to be happy just playing with the boxes and paper!
Happy shopping, everyone!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I am so thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ and all the riches of His Kingdom that He offers me!
I am also thankful to and for so many things! Wouldn't it be great this Thanksgiving to be able to send Thank You cards to each and every person you're thankful for? I can't really help you with everyone, but I can help you with sending a "Thank You" to someone in the armed services. Well, it's not really me helping--it's Xerox! They have set up a site called "Let's Say Thanks" where you can pick out a card that they will print and send to U.S. military personnel stationed overseas. It only takes a second and you can send as many as you want! Get the whole family in on this today, and have a Happy Thanksgiving thanking God and others for your blessings!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

rbt Bags are a GREAT Gift!

Looking for a unique, practical, fun gift for someone on your list? Check out rbt Bags! The creator of these fun bags and accessories is a member of my community and a friend. Every one of her products is made of patterned oil cloth that is both very stylish and very functional. I LOVE (everything really, but in particular) the journals covered with oil cloth and the snappy clutches that will hold phone, keys, and wallet.Because I love her products so much, this tan floral pocket tote will be one of my December giveaways! Come to Of Such is the Kingdom on December 7th and 14th to enter these giveaways!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cute Turkey

Check out this cute craft that the boy did in his Mother's Day Out program last week! It is an oreo and a half, 3 candy corn (and a small piece for the head/beak), a whopper for the body, and some chocolate icing to hold it all together. As you can see, I barely had time to take a picture before it was snatched up and eaten! Very fun.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Veggie Tales Family Fun Night


This past "Family Fun Night" featured the Veggie Tales! (I just couldn't stomach anything like fish sticks again!) We had LOTS of vegetables decorated with eyes and mouths including broccoli with pea eyes and ranch dressing mouth, cauliflower with olive eyes and ketchup mouth, carrots and celery with ranch dressing eyes and mouths, and a slice of zucchini with cheese eyes and mouth. We also had peas, corn, and sweet potato!
Not having meat was quite an
adventure for my manly husband, but
he made it through! I was stuffed after all those vegetables. For dessert we ate the
"Bad Apple" (cooked apple sprinkled liberally with sugar and cinnamon). Then we all watched Larry Boy and the Bad Apple. Simple but very fun!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Songs for Saplings

"You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." Duet. 6:7
I've been encouraged by many older and wiser mommas to buy some scripture-turned-music for my kids to listen to as we "walk by the way." I've looked at Steve Green's Hide 'Em in Your Heart and several others and been impressed but for some reason, never bought any.
Recently a friend gave me some music by Dana Dirksen who is a member of the friend's sister's church. I took the cd like I often do when people tell me of something great that someone they know has done--cautiously. I expected a praise band kind of feel, something my kids would like but I wouldn't really enjoy. But I was wrong. I really like Dana's music! Songs for Saplings is the name of her band (it's pretty difficult to even find her name on the website) and they have done amazing things with both scripture and the Westminster Shorter Catechism.
I'm excited about how fast my kids are learning both scripture and doctrine through this wonderful music, and I want to share that excitement, so I will be giving the three cd set (Questions with Answers) for my first blog giveaway on December 7th! Praise God for music and for His Word!
linked to Things I Love Thursdays at Diaper Diaries.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Winning a Giveaway!

I know we've all entered blog giveaways, but I never really consider winning one of them. But it happens! I won this Snow White set from Extraordinary Mommy a few weeks back. It came in the mail this week, and I'm so excited to give it to my oldest for her birthday! I had considered giving it to the baby, who was Snow White for Halloween, but after seeing it and realizing how much imaginative play could go into the Snow White doll singing, dancing, and playing with her dwarves, I realized that the oldest would definitely love it! And since her birthday is next week, it makes a PERFECT gift. Not to mention the fact that the movie will make our drive home from Thanksgiving visiting fun and exciting.
Stay tuned for Of Such is the Kingdom's first giveaways on December 7th and December 14th!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fish Family Fun Night

Last week our family established what I hope will be a lasting tradition: themed family fun nights. We began with a very simple "Fish Night."
The setup was extremely quick and easy. I covered our dining table with paper and drew a fish for each member of the family. (I looked at the puzzle box for guidance.) Before dinner we each colored one of the fish (as well as our hands, mouths, and faces--this seems to be our marker routine!).
For dinner we had fish sticks, gold fish, "sea weed" (better known as green beans) and "fish
eggs" (better known as deviled eggs).
After dinner we all put together a fish puzzle. I would say this was simple as well, but with 4
different ideas of how a puzzle should work and 1 tired screaming baby, the difficulty level was definitely up! We all enjoyed it though, and I feel like a memory was made and a precedent established.
For more fish fun (what
we would have done with slightly older children and/or more time):
*visit a local aquarium
*play "Go Fish"
*read "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" by Dr. Seuss or "The Pout Pout Fish" by
write about what she learned about fishDeborah Diesen
*look at "Fish" (DK Eyewitness Book) by Steve Parker
*have the oldest journal about fish
*go fishing in the local pond
*watch National Geographic videos about fish

Friday, November 13, 2009

Invisible Mothers

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Pick me up around 5:30, please.' No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.. The invisible Mom.

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England ... Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe ... I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees..'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn, no cupcake you've baked is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot see if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

This is (an edited version of) a forward that was sent to me by another wonderful mother. Thanks Corrie and thanks to this Charlotte who are definitely inspiring me to build for the Lord!

Moms willing to be invisible are definitely a finer thing! (Thanks, Mom!) Linked to "Finer Things Friday."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grapefruit Seed Crush

I have been using Beeyoutiful's spirulina for years, but the last time I ordered from them, I added a new product. I have a feeling I'll be ordering this one long-term as well.
Grapefruit Seed Crush (GSC) is an AMAZING product. I'll give a short overview here, but for the full story, head over to Beeyoutiful yourself!
For starters, GSC is a natural antibiotic safe for everyone--nursing and pregnant mommas and infants included. It is very strong in its undiluted form, so must be diluted for almost every purpose. It can be used for the common cold, for sore throats, any kind of GI discomfort, for mouth infections, and for yeast infections.
GSC can be used for dandruff, for poison ivy, and for any kind of athlete's foot or other fungus problems.
GSC is a also a natural disinfectant. Use it to clean bathrooms, to make home made baby wipes, or to remove pesticides or parasites from water or food. GSC also has uses for plants and animals.
Get the picture? This stuff is amazing. It's one of those products that, if I ran out of everything else, I would still definitely want to have this on hand!
Linked with Things I Love Thursdays over at Diaper Diaries.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Oh So Chic

Beyond words! This oh-so-chic hat was created by putting two layered (large) squares of thin paper on my oldest's head and pressing around her head. I put a large piece of tape around the crown of her head to hold the paper there. I cut out the brim of the hat in a large circle. Then we put ribbon around the tape and created and glued on a tissue paper flower. She also decorated the wide brim of her hat with markers on my suggestion. The pose, though, was completely her idea!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Today's Snack: Puffed Rice Bars

I actually followed a recipe exactly today (and enjoyed it!). This recipe is courtesy of Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious:
6 cups puffed brown rice
1/4 cup milled flax seed
1 tablespoon margarine
10 oz. marshmallows
Canola Oil cooking spray
Spray a 9 1/2 x 11 inch pan with the cooking spray. Melt 1 tablespoon margarine in a large pot. Pour in marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Add puffed brown rice and milled flax seed. Spread into 9 1/2 x 11 pan. Cool, cut, and enjoy!
These were very yummy, and since I haven't made real rice crispy treats in forever, my kids will never know the difference. I enjoyed them for taste and for nutrition. My husband hasn't tried them yet, so he'll probably be the real test!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Mirror

Last Monday I wrote about a sermon where I heard how everything that comes out of my mouth (and into my head, for that matter) comes straight from my heart. This Sunday's sermon was just as convicting!
The story for this sermon was of blind Bartimaeus (Mt. 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; and Luke 18:35-43)--a story that I have always loved. Bartimaeus is the lowest of society, blind, unable to benefit anyone. Jesus stops and stoops to this poor, blind man! And then he asks Bartimaeus the million dollar question, "What do you want me to do for you?" Wow! Imagine having the man who owns and controls EVERYTHING ask you that question. Unlike Jesus's disciples a few verses earlier (in Mark) who answered that they wanted power and fame, Bartimaeus answers that he wants healing. That is very convicting! What would I ask for if presented that question by Jesus?
But the most convicting part of the sermon was when the pastor focused in on the "multitude" of the story. They were irritated and compassion-less toward Bartimaeus. The pastor warned that we are often the most irritated toward those who reflect our own spiritual state. Bartimaeus was blind, helpless, dirty, poor... and the multitude couldn't handle looking into that mirror. I would love to say, "What a horrible multitude!" and move right on, but I can't. That multitude is ME. It's ME with my kids a lot of times. They are needy, helpless, grumpy, confused, arrogant, and selfish, and sometimes I just can't handle the mirror that they hold up to my own spiritual state. I am all of those things too, I just hide it a lot better. Lord, help me to see my own spiritual state, and please, let that help create a heart of compassion toward these blind beggars that I am called to serve every day!

Friday, November 6, 2009

"Doughnuts and Chips" for Snack!

Today we had "doughnuts and chips" for snack. The doughnuts were cored and sliced apples spread with peanut butter, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and decorated with raisins. And the chips? They were banana chips! My 4yo loved it; he called them doughnuts and gobbled them right up. The 6yo was a little more skeptical. She gave me the grumpy face when I handed out hers, but she ate them too (minus the raisins). This snack was sweet and yummy, but it totally avoided the Halloween candy basket!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sequatchie Cove Farm

Today our little homeschool group visited a nearby farm (Sequatchie Cove Farm) and really enjoyed walking around, seeing the animals and learning a little bit about a farm. Well, I don't know how much the girls learned about the farm, but I learned!
This farm covers 300 beautiful acres and produces beef cows, milk cows, eggs, native plants, pork, berries, vegetables, and more. Sequatchie Cove Farm cheese will be available soon! (BTW, today I learned that true parmesan cheese is only produced in several places around Parma, Italy, and it has been used as currency and loan collateral--even being robbed out of secure bank vaults by cheese robbers!)
We saw lots of animals, ate lettuce right out of the garden, picked and ate a few leftover muscadines, saw the newly built dairy, and waded on the edges of the farm swimming hole. It was a very successful trip!
I really do love the great outdoors and Sequatchie Cove is a beautiful place to experience it!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Photo Art

It's always fun when you click to look back at your pictures on your camera and you find some like these:


















And here are the incriminating ones! Ah ha! It was the two boys who did it! Well, maybe the kids should get some camera time every once in a while. It's fun to see things from their perspective!