Friday, January 29, 2010

Scripture CDs

A while back I did a little write-up on Seeds for Saplings. We are still rocking away in our minivan to these Scripture verses! A friend recently told me about another set of worship cds called Seeds. They too have set Scripture to music to make it easier for our little ones to remember.
The innovative thing about this music is that when you buy a cd, you actually get two! Two cases, two cds, two everything! Wonderful! The cds are packaged in double cases that can be torn apart so that you can give one to a friend. As they say on their site, We've taken inspiration from God's perfect plan for seeds dispersal and designed packaging intended to facilitate the spreading of Seeds." Awesome! What a great idea! Head on over to their website to listen to whole songs now!
They also have great resources on their site. Things like a verse memorization checklist and downloadable PDF verse memory cards give visual aid to go along with their songs. There's a list of "things kids can do to make a difference" here. (One of those things is cook dinner for your parents once a month. I'm all for that one!) And there are some great ideas for family worship here.
So, order a cd and get one to give away to a friend! Or just use the great resources offered for FREE on their website; either way, Seeds Family Worship is definitely a frugal find!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Pack is Growing

The SAHM Survival Pack is growing! You can check out details here, here, here and here. (And FYI: you can leave a comment on each for multiple entries to win the SAHM Pack.)
Today I'll add those random things that I really couldn't live without as a stay at home mom. And as always, I'd love to hear back from anyone who has any other ideas about the necessary items for a SAHM!
If I were smart, every morning I would strap on a tool belt kind of contraption that has in it tissues, hair diddles (our word for the tiny rubber bands that keep my daughters' bangs out of their eyes), a gummy pack or two, the spray bottle with water and GSC in it, and a water bottle for myself. Then as I teach and clean and cook and play and follow the kids around, all my bases would be covered! Hair in the eyes, whip out the hair diddles! Runny nose, it's covered by these handy tissues! Poop all over the floor? Here's the sanitizer right here. You get my drift. Well, there (unfortunately) won't be a tool belt in the SAHM Pack, but there will be tissues, a spray bottle, a water bottle, and hair diddles.
I also think that the Anonymous comment on last week's SAHM post deserves highlighting. She (I'm assuming it's a she) said, "I also think it's important for our children to learn that life does not cater to them and they need to exercise patience when they do not get what they want or joy even when they are tired or cheerfulness when they have to walk through the grocery store. Life is not always going to "entertain" them. Sometimes they just need to push through and learn to persevere." I totally agree with this. It's so easy to get caught up in supplying your child's every need and forget that there are wonderful lessons in going without. These are lessons I need too!
So besides the items listed in this post, here are the contents of the pack so far,
baggies, band aids, Tums, Tylenol, Benadryl, Neosporin, (these may be generic), a thermometer, grape fruit seed crush, kids' vitamins, Spirulina, an egg timer, a $5 gift card to Starbucks, bath salts (time for yourself), and a water bottle.
Remember that this giveaway is scheduled for the week of February 1st through 5th. I will post a few more Survival Pack posts, and as long as you are a follower of Of Such is the Kingdom, any and every comment that you leave will be counted as an entry for the giveaway. (As long as you are a follower, you can leave unlimited comments!) I would love it if your comments left me more ideas for what a SAHM can't live without. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Daily I Will Serve Your Little Ones

Song of a Servant

Behold, Your maidservant, Lord.

Daily I will serve Your little ones.

Pour out my life

For the least of these.

Behold, Your maidservant, Lord.

Daily I will look to You for rest.

Make Your blessings

The only reward for me.

Behold, Your maidservant, Lord.

Daily I will dance and sing

for You.

Fill up the song

With love for the King.

Draw me in

Into Your arms

Arms of a Father

Father of love

Love even me.

(Taken from Poetic Faith)

You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, and training them up in God's fear, and minding the house, and making your household a church for God, as you would be if you were called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts. C. Spurgeon

Linked to 5 Minutes for Mom, Extraordinary Mothers, 7 Clown Circus,MomDot, Go, Graham, Go, Jolly Mom, Look What Mom Found, Two of a Kind

Also linked with Walk With Him Wednesday.

holy experience

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Free Book Download

This book is engineered to give grandparents ideas of things to do with their grandkids, but it's also great for us moms! This goes very well with that idea of positive parenting I was talking about the other day. Give your kids things to do before the boredom and misbehavior hits.
I remember having a few of these kind of books growing up and loving them. I had one particular friend that was a crafting buddy. Whenever she came over, we usually made a huge mess but came out with some elaborate craft. Our best one ever was a puppet stage, puppets and props for the "Princess and the Pea" story. We were so proud when our parents and siblings watched our puppeting debut!
Go here to download this book for absolutely free!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Muffin-a-day Update

Well, we made it through our Muffin week, and I'm only a few pounds heavier! We enjoyed corn muffins, broccoli cheddar muffins, banana muffins, and pecan pie muffins. I didn't get to the carrot muffins and the apple muffins, (mostly because I ran out of eggs) but I plan to make those this week. Find the recipes for all these muffins here.
My very favorite muffins were the broccoli cheddar! I made all of the muffins in mini muffin pans, so I was able to freeze about 12 of each muffin. Except for the broccoli cheddar--I only froze 6 of
those and they only made it until Thursday when I unfroze them
and ate almost all of them! Fortunately the kids didn't much like those, so there was more for me! (he he) I think it is that egg white taste that gets me with those.
My other fave of the muffins is the pecan pie muffins, and I DO still have some of those in the freezer
(I'm hanging on the with the last vestiges of my self-control; oh, and I made brownies to help me leave the muffins in the freezer!)
As for this week's menu: we are trying to use only what we have until the new month. So, I have leftover pancakes and bacon,
broccoli-tuna casserole, home-made pizza (I LOVE the Quick and
Easy Pizza Crust from Cooks.com), and chili on the menu for this week. Hopefully one of those will get us two days and I'll grocery shop (using coupons) on Saturday.


Broccoli-Tuna Casserole
(Got this from $5 Dinners, but when I looked for it today, I found out it can now only be found in the $5 Dinner Cookbook!)
olive oil cornstarch 1/2 bag frozen broccoli
flour salt and pepper 1 or 2 cans tuna
milk penne pasta
Cook pasta. Make white sauce. Add broccoli and cook in sauce 2-
3 minutes. Add tuna. Stir. Add pasta.
White sauce: 2 T butter, 2 T flour, 1-2 cups milk. In saucepan,
melt butter. Add flour and whisk. Add milk and whisk. Cook on med-hi for 5-6 minutes. Add mushrooms for cream of mushroom; 3-4 T chicken stock for cream of chicken, etc.
Oh, and I'm very thankful I froze some of each kind of muffin
because the banana muffins worked right into to today's fruit
theme for the oldest's school. Her spelling words are all fruits
and her handwriting is Gal. 5:22 (the fruits of the Spirit) and her journal entry was supposed to be "My favorite fruit." So, we had an all-fruit snack. Fruit salad (apples, pineapple, pear, and oranges), banana muffins, and a smoothie made of strawberries, yogurt, ice, and a little
apple juice. Yum!
Linked up with Menu Plan Monday.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

CEF Mailbox Club

A friend recently clued me in on a great (FREE) program offered by Child Evangelism Fellowship. I was so excited to get my oldest involved!
The program is a mailbox club that was originally created as a follow-up for one of CEF's evangelism curricula. It has grown to 255,000 people in 130 countries! (Get more info on their website.)
After you sign your child up, CEF will send your child a short lesson which they complete and send back. As soon as CEF receives the first lesson, they send out another. This gives your child not only fun work to do at home, but a reason to be excited about going to get the mail! My oldest is going to feel so grown up when she receives that mail just for her. Thanks, friend, for the tip!

Friday, January 22, 2010

My Leap Into the Coupon World

So yes, I'm jumping in. We'll see how it works out. I have beside me right now a stack of about $50 worth of coupons--some of them for completely free products. Most of the $1 off or $2 off coupons came from websites and all they cost me was the paper on which they're printed. I'm looking forward to February's first shopping trip, though the checkout may be quite interesting. If I do decide that coupons are the way to go, the few checkers at my local Walmart will probably go and hide every time they see me coming!
So here's where I went:
Coupons.com--This site has 148 different coupons right now. They (of course) change daily/weekly. You register, check the coupons you want, and print.
Target.com--These coupons are only for Target stores, but they are great! I'm thinking that I'll even be able to double up some of the coupons I got other places (Right now Juicy Juice has a few coupons and Target also has Juicy Juice coupons. I'm thinking that by using both the brand and store coupons, I can get $2 off 2 64 oz. Juicy Juices and $2 off 33.8 oz Brain Development Juicy Juice)
SmartSource.com--This site has fewer coupons than coupons.com, but I did notice a few that were different.
Redplum--This site has some duplicates with other sites, but they always have a few "Redplum exclusives." You can register to receive e-mail updates, but you can also print the coupons without registering.
A lot of the other sites for coupons are EXACTLY like these. For instance, as far as I can tell eclip.com=coupons.com. They just have a different header at the top.
Another idea is to go directly to the product's website (places like Pop Tarts Sprinklings have freebies and coupons after you register).
My idea is that I will check the brand name product minus the coupon next to the store brand price and see if it is cheaper. I buy a lot of store brands right now, and I would hate to spend more with coupons! It's too much work (searching and printing) to lose money!
A good blog to follow for the latest deals, coupons, and freebies is Short On Cents.
Oh, and another great one if you do a big grocery shopping trip: The Great Milk Give. You can register and enter to win a year's worth of milk. Then you can print a milk coupon. I have gotten two coupons: 1 free half-gallon of chocolate milk (with purchase of 2 regular gallons of milk) and 1 free gallon of regular milk (with $100 grocery purchase). The latter is the one they're giving away right now. You can enter the contest and print a coupon daily.
Happy couponing!
Linked with Frugal Fridays.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Positive Parenting-SAHM Survival Pack

You could call this concept many things, but it's best described by that old adage "Do you want to turn off the faucet or mop up the floor?" I'm calling this "positive parenting" because it sounds better than "turn off the faucet parenting!"
Here's the idea:
It is better to supply your children with a positive way to use their energy.
Then hopefully there will be fewer instances where you have to use negative discipline.
Here's how it works in our house: I try (try being the key word, there is still A LOT of disciplining going on here!) to give all my children ideas on how to spend their time, especially when I cannot be playing/schooling right alongside them. For the boy this looks like a big box of puzzles and other school activities. I also have a list on the ready when he even looks like he might be bored: "How about books or blocks or cars or guy guys?" Or something like that. My goal is for the boy's mind to stay positively engaged all day long.
I also try to have snacks/meals ready before there is even a hint of hunger among the little ones. I'm pretty sure at least one of them has blood sugar issues, and if he starts feeling empty, he's very likely to start being peskier to his sisters and just mischievous in general.
The girls are a little easier in this way. The oldest has her school work to do, and the positive parenting there comes with me remembering to mix the fun stuff in with the necessary repetitiveness of school. She has to get her math facts in, but if I know these set off her stubborn disposition, what if we make it a game? And other ideas like that.
And the youngest is the easiest of all. She can be flat out pitching a fit, and if you say, "Don't I hear your baby crying?" she sobers right up and runs off to find out which of her baby dolls needs her attention. So cute! My goal of course, is to direct her to the dolls or other toys before she gets to that tantrum stage.
When going out (shopping, etc) positive parenting involves explaining exactly where you're going, what you're going to do, and what the rewards/penalties will be for good/bad behavior. I find it is very helpful if each child knows they have $1 or two to spend when we go into a certain huge grocery store. They are excited, cheerful, and peaceful throughout; instead of whining for this or that. And fortunately the granna has provided a small stash of goody cash for just such occasions!
Another aspect of positive parenting is BEING PREPARED. Does anyone remember One Fine Day where Michelle Pfieffer played a mom who had to unexpectedly drag her son along with her for an entire work day? The movie was a comedy of errors, but one great part of it that has stayed with me all these years was that Michelle's character had a huge purse that held everything her son could possibly want or need for the entire day. Hungry? There's a snack right here. Thirsty? Here's a juice box. Spilled something on my shirt? No matter, I'll wear the extra one I packed for you! Need a costume? Sure! I'll whip one up with this handy aluminum foil I happen to be carrying in my purse!
So be prepared. I almost always have snack bags and drinks for my kids wherever we go. I try to have crayons and paper and/or small toys for each of them if I even suspect there might be waiting involved in our outing. When we travel, each child is allowed to bring a small tub of carefully chosen travel toys. The list goes on, but I'm sure you get the idea.
I'm sure none of these ideas are new ones to you, and I'm sure you have more wisdom to share! What do YOU do to head off the whiney fits and the boredom-induced misbehavior? What do you carry with you on outings with your kids?
This blog is part of a series about a SAHM Survival Pack. Check out the other blogs on this subject here, here, and here. So far the pack includes baggies (stay tuned for several other household odds and ends), band aids, Tums, Tylenol, Benadryl, Neosporin, (these may be generic), a thermometer, grape fruit seed crush, kids' vitamins, Spirulina, an egg timer, a $5 gift card to Starbucks, bath salts (time for yourself), and a water bottle.
Remember that this giveaway is scheduled for the week of February 1st through 5th. I will post a few more Survival Pack posts, and as long as you are a follower of Of Such is the Kingdom, any and every comment that you leave will be counted as an entry for the giveaway. (As long as you are a follower, you can leave unlimited comments!) I would love it if your comments left me more ideas for what a SAHM can't live without. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

On Being Ruth

Our pastors are doing a short sermon series on the book of Ruth.
For such a short book, it is so packed with lessons, romance, and story.
It certainly gives me a great desire to read the unabridged story of Ruth!
Because of the series, I've been thinking a lot of Ruth lately,
and of how I would like emulate her as well as Hannah.
I think the predominate characteristic of
Ruth throughout the book is her
quiet faithfulness.
Whether it is following her mother-in-law to a foreign land or
hauling 40 pounds of grain around,
she is quietly fulfilling her next duty.
And what is her duty? To look for the redeemer.
In her case it is a kinsman-redeemer who will become
her husband and provide a grandfather for an unlikely king.
It is not such a leap to apply this to ourselves as homemakers.
Quiet faithfulness is not something I can boast of for sure!
But it is supposed to mark us as Christian women.
And what is our purpose, our duty, as we sweep and teach and cook?
To look for the Redeemer, of course.
The Redeemer who IS the unlikely King.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Week of Muffins

I haven't posted a recipe in a while, so I'll make up for it here. Here's my week's plan for...
MUFFINS!
Have you ever noticed how kids will eat almost anything if it's in a muffin?
Sunday:
Oatmeal Cake Muffins (dessert)
1 1/2 cups boiling water 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup quick-cooking oats 1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup shortening 1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar 1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup packed brown sugar 1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs 1 cup coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups flour 2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon baking soda 2 tablespoons milk
Pour boiling water over oats in bowl; let stand for 15 to 20 minutes. Cream shortening, sugar and 1 cup brown sugar in mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat oats mixture. Add to creamed mixture; mix well. Sift in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; mix well. Spoon into papered muffin tin. Fill each paper cup only half full. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until muffins test done. Combine butter, 1 cup brown sugar, coconut and pecans in bowl. Mix in egg yolks and milk. Spoon butter mixture on top of each muffin and bake until topping turns brown. (from Calling All Cooks III Favorite Recipes Press)

Monday:
Corn muffins (with mixed bean soup for dinner)
1 cup cornmeal 1/2 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour 2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons baking powder 1 can creamed corn
1 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup milk powder 2 tablespoons canola oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Combine other ingredients and slowly add to dry ingredients. Mix until blended. Pour into non-stick muffin cups, making them about two-thirds full. Bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

Tuesday:
Fruit and Veggie Muffin Recipe (for snack and/or breakfast)
(If this is yours, forgive me! I printed it from someone's blog recently and forgot to write where it came from. I can't find it, but I'd love to give you credit for it!)
1 cup flour 1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons canola oil 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar 1 cup mashed fruit or veggie
2 eggs (anything goes! I used baby food carrots)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 cup chopped nuts (opt.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine eggs, oil, sugar, and mashed fruit or veggie. Mix well. Add flour, soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Mix until it forms into batter. Add nuts if you like. Pour into muffin cups: Mini muffins--bake 8-10 minutes. Regular muffins---bake 15-20 minutes. Tops will turn golden. Cool and serve.
Other ideas: 1 cup mashed banana, 1 cup grated apple, 1 cup squash and 1 cup grated apple (double the recipe), 1 cup grated carrots (add 1/2 cup raisins if you like), 1 cup peeled and grated zucchini, 1 cup blueberries, 1 cup bananas and 1 cup strawberries (double the recipe).

Wednesday:
Pecan Pie Mini Muffins (for dessert and/or snack)
1 cup pecan pieces 4 eggs beaten
1 1/2 cup brown sugar 3/4 cup margarine
1 cup AP flour 3/4 cup apple sauce
1 cup whole wheat flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream eggs, butter, and apple sauce. Add dry ingredients and mix until well blended. Fill greased mini muffin pans until half full (about 1 tablespoon). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool in the pan on wire rack before removing.

Thursday:
Cheddar Broccoli Muffins (for dinner with spaghetti)
I've been wanting a recipe like this, so I googled it! Here's what I found.

Friday:
Banana Muffins (for breakfast and/or snack)
2 cups brown sugar 6 overripe bananas
4 eggs 2 teaspoon soda
1/2 cup margarine dash of salt
1/2 cup apple sauce (I will probably cut this in half;
1 cup AP flour I only have a few bananas)
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
Combine ingredients. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. These are great frozen!

Saturday:
Applesauce Muffins (for breakfast and/or snack)
The recipe I usually make is a little simpler than this, but this one looks yummy too. I'll give this one a try this week.

Happy muffin making!


Friday, January 15, 2010

Please Say Hi

A friend of mine directed me to Please Pass the Salt where Moriah had the above sign. I confess I didn't get it at first, but after reading a few comments the fog cleared away. Moriah was giving her "lurkers" a chance to introduce themselves. Have you been lurking at Of Such is the Kingdom? Please use this weekend to introduce yourself. I will visit each and everyone of you back. So, if you're reading this, DO NOT LEAVE unless you comment.
Please.
And have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cereal and Smoothies

General Mills and My Blog Spark were nice enough to send me a few vouchers for free boxes of cereal, so our family was able to try out a few different kinds. These are two of the ones I picked.
I'm a big granola junkie, so I picked two cereals that have granola clusters. I can recommend both now, especially the Fiber One. If you're into whole grains, this is definitely a cereal for you! General Mills and My Blog Spark have also offered my readers a $1 off coupon for any General Mills Cereal. Go here to print that coupon.
Cereal is definitely one of those "Things I Love." Another is fruit smoothies. I'm always trying some different combo in my blender.
And in the mail today, I received a coupon to try out the new Yoplait Frozen Smoothies. They sound like something I'd like (fruit + anything = yum!). You find them near the frozen fruits and they have a full serving of fruit; just add your milk and blend.
General Mills also included 10 $1.25 coupons for the Yoplait Smoothies.
So--
**if you're interested in receiving one of those coupons and
**if you're a follower of Of Such is the Kingdom
**leave your e-mail in a comment (like this: olivia at yahoo dot com) and
**I'll correspond with you to get your address and send you one!
**First 10 comments receive a coupon.
Happy cereal eating and smoothie drinking, everyone!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Snow Angel

O Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee; I give thee back the life I owe, that in thine ocean depths its flow may richer fuller be.
O Light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to thee; my heart restores its borrowed ray, that in thy sunshine's blaze its day may brighter fairer be.
O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee; I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain, that morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from thee; I lay in dust life's glory dead, and from the ground there blossoms red life that shall endless be.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Relaxation--SAHM Survival Pack

In my first SAHM Survival Pack post, a friend left the comment "C.O.F.F.E.E." because she knows I'm not a coffee drinker. I'm glad she did! I might have forgotten the whole need for relaxation altogether.
We moms need relaxation to survive. We do. It's a fact. And a lot of women get that relaxation from a wonderful cup of coffee. My relaxation comes from tea or a warm treat (brownie, anyone?) or a book or just some quiet thinking time.
So, to include relaxation (and coffee!) in the SAHM Survival Pack, I'm putting in a $5 gift card to Starbucks.
So far the pack includes baggies (stay tuned for several other household odds and ends), band aids, Tums, Tylenol, Benadryl, Neosporin, (these may be generic), a thermometer, grape fruit seed crush, kids' vitamins, Spirulina (see the Medicine Cabinet), and a $5 gift card to Starbucks.
Remember that this giveaway is scheduled for the week of February 1st through 5th. I will post a few more Survival Pack posts, and as long as you are a follower of Of Such is the Kingdom, any and every comment that you leave will be counted as an entry for the giveaway. (As long as you are a follower, you can leave unlimited comments!) I would love it if your comments left me more ideas for what a SAHM can't live without. Thanks!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Woo Hoo!

Check out the side bar. You can now subscribe via email to Of Such is the Kingdom! Just enter your email and verify when a test email is delivered to your inbox. Then Of Such is the Kingdom will come to you. Woo hoo!

Nursing Basket

A good friend of mine recently had her second girl. Not far into managing two, she realized that the time spent nursing the new baby was going to be a problem for her 2 year old. Her 2 yo usually chose that time to be very needy. Fortunately, she didn't despair. She and another friend put their heads together and came up with a WONDERFUL idea! And (insert big smile) she said I could share it with you on the blog.
My friend created a nursing basket for her 2 yo that can only be played with during the time that my friend is nursing her youngest. She chose things from the dollar store--some of which her 2 yo can do by herself (coloring, stickers, etc) and some of which require one hand and some attention from mommy (flashcards, etc.)
I love this idea for two reasons: one, it shows us moms that we often get irritated and deal with an effect without ever dealing with the cause. My friend could've just fussed with/disciplined her 2 yo during every nursing time and gotten really frustrated. (Hey, wait a minute; isn't that what I did when I was new to two?) But she didn't. She looked at the cause (her 2 yo didn't know what she was supposed to do while her mommy was nursing her little sis) and fixed that. Yeah, friend! And two, this spurs on so many other good ideas. Where else could a basket like this be used? Maybe beside a training potty? Or in the car? Or outside mommy's bathroom so that she might be able to take a shower once in a while?
Thanks for the great idea!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Quiet Time

"Quiet time" is really a misnomer for moms. A better name might be "stolen time" or "slightly-less-loud seconds" or something like that. Whatever you call it, the beginning of the year is usually when I reevaluate mine and this year is no different.
I've done a lot of different things for quiet time. In high school and college I was one of those people who might hyperventilate if I didn't have mine. I knew in my head that I was saved by grace, but my conscience was in over-drive and I didn't always live that way. I'm not quite that bad now, but I do love consistency. : )
Anyway, I've read through a One Year Bible, "Read the Bible in 90 Days" (with the hubby), and done various reading plans. I've also read (and loved) The Exposition of the Gospel of John by Arthur Pink (it took me a whole year!). This year I'm going to read through the Bible in 6 months (check it out here). If you're interested in digging a little deeper, this plan from the Navigators to read through the New Testament in a year looks like a good one. I'm also interested in better using the free online resources. Bible Study Tools looks great, and the Global Prayer Digest looks like a wonderful prayer tool. (Thanks, friends, for sending those last three to me!)
Whatever and whenever you read, keeping that old Sunday School hand illustration in mind is a good idea: hear it, read it, memorize it, study it, meditate on it, and apply it. All the fingers and the wrist are needed to hold up the Bible (or to wield the Sword).
I'd love to know what everyone else is doing to study the Word this year!

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Snowy Day

Earlier this week, I started hearing rumors that snow was coming on Thursday. That was both a "Yeah!" and an "Uh oh." Thursday was the first day back to the pre-school program for my youngest two. I had been looking to that day as a catch-up day for the oldest's home school assignments, house work, etc. But with a look at the radar, I could tell that the snow would come and that the schools would close. My usual response would be to fight with bitterness about having snow on THAT day, but I decided (okay, it wasn't me at all, the Holy Spirit did it!) that we would turn Thursday into an extraordinary, magnificent snow day!
So we read "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats and did some of the crafts that were suggested in the enrichment sheet that came free with that book from The Ferst Foundation (see Free Books). I usually just throw that little enrichment sheet away, but it really does have some good ideas, and yesterday was a great day for using them.
I changed the snowman idea slightly to make them a little bigger, and added some math into
the fun as well. To make our snowmen, I used graduated bowls to trace circles onto white paper. I then gave the kids the papers, the scissors, and a ruler. They cut out their circles and measured their diameter (across the middle) and then measured the circumference (around the outside) by laying a piece of string around the circle and then measuring it.
After measuring the circles, I let the kids glue them onto two pieces of construction paper glued together. Then they decorated. The boy even thought to draw in arms and buttons. The mom
had to overachieve a bit and add some 3-dimensional fun to hers.
Later the boy said, "Next time we make snowmen, I want a scarf and hat for mine too!"
After the snowmen, the actual snow began falling so we all suited up and headed out to enjoy. This was my first time to ever be able to see the actual flakes! They were big enough to catch on our gloves and look at the designs.
On coming in from the cold weather we enjoyed hot chocolate and home made muffins and the oldest wrote a journal about our snowy day adventures.
Yeah for snow! And yeah for having fun with the kids!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Me

I was told yesterday by a friend that I need to write more on this blog. I took that advice with great joy because I've been afraid that is exactly what I should not do: would anyone read what I write here without lots of pics and gimmicks? Then I saw a fellow mommy blogger ranting about how bloggers don't talk enough about themselves on their blogs (Trisha at MomDot) and I thought, hey, there's something I can write a whole lot about!
So for those of you who know me well this will be nothing new. But for those of you who follow this blog, consider this an introduction to the heart and mind and soul behind Of Such is the Kingdom.
I am a follower, a striver, and a builder for the Kingdom. I love the fact that there is more to life than what we can see and I believe fully that I have a huge part in the King's work.
I am a philosopher, a poet, a dreamer, and a fanatic about my husband.
I struggle daily with my love of "just" being a mommy and the feeling that I should be doing more. I love my children and I consider myself to be like a loving mommy bird: "Go, fly on your own!"
I am arrogant to a fault, and though I know this is a fault, I think I would rather be arrogant than falsely humble.
I love, love, love to read. There are few things better than diving into the world of Austin or Montgomery or Nesbit or Lewis or Tolkien or Hugo or Hawthorne or Barry or Poe or Mitchell...
I love beauty and music and color and art and warmth. (As I write I'm nearly sitting IN our fireplace as a fire merrily crackles and I have a perfect view through a picture window of the flakes falling outside.)
I would rather talk one-on-one. Social skills were not a huge part of my childhood and I am still learning those social graces that require one not to speak their mind at all times.
Though I'm not a huge fan of being one-of-a-crowd, I'm perfectly comfortable being a crowd-leader--a hostess, a teacher, a choir member, etc.
I have lots of big dreams, and you can ask anybody who knows me, the more far-fetched the better! I want to take our family out west and up east and overseas and on a cruise. I want to write a book and add an extra wing onto our house and adopt two children. (The list goes on...)
China is a magical word to me. It brings back three trips there and the beauty and fear and yawning need of a nation and culture that has 6000 years of recorded history behind it.
I am an enemy of time. One of the most beautiful and fascinating things about heaven to me is that there won't be any there. Hallelujah!
I could continue like this for many hours but, like most of you, there is laundry to be folded, snacks and dinner to be made, and a whole house and household to be tended.
Thanks for reading to the end (whew! you made it!) and happy day to you!
Also linked to other "Introduce Yourself" links here and here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Home for Christmas

Another picture of my kids; what can I say? I'm a momma; it's what we do!
The baby and the boy snuggling by the early Christmas morning fire and waiting for the oldest to awake is a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Medicine Cabinet

When I teach young moms about what to have in their medicine cabinet, I give them a long list of things the professionals call "musts." But really, when I think on it, the list of what our family uses very regularly is small.
To add to the SAHM Survival Pack, I would list
1. Band aids: the ultimate cure-all for any kid; try it! My kids would love a band aid when their head hurts, they have a tummy ache, you name it! Because of their extreme love for them, the rule in our house is that you have to be dripping before Momma will get you a band aid!
2. Antacid tablets: This a great go-to when my kids complain of tummy aches. It's hard to tell with kids whether they just need to use the bathroom or if they're having one of those funny transitional-worry type tummy aches that kids have. Kids like for moms to have an answer, though, and when it's a tummy ache, an antacid usually can't hurt. We also gave these to my oldest at the pediatrician's suggestion when we took her off milk products for a while (for extra calcium).
3. Thermometer: I think it's pretty obvious when my kids do have a fever, but if you call it in, the professionals love to know exact numbers. And it is good to keep up with actual numbers if their fever persists over any amount of time.
4. Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer: This is a great go-to as well. It works for fevers, bumps on the head, and general achy-ness, and it is especially good for that not-feeling-well child at bedtime.
5. Some kind of multi-sympton allergy/cough medicine: for all those common colds
7. Some kind of topical analgesic: Neosporin works great, but at our house we use Resinol.
8. And that big jar of Tylenol? That's for me. : )
As you can tell, I like to buy generic, and my kids are often well. I'd love to hear from some of you who have more experience (ahem to my nurse friends!) with these kind of things. What is in your absolutely-necessary medicine cabinet?
Remember that all comments for SAHM Survival Pack posts are entries for the giveaway February 1st-5th!

Monday, January 4, 2010

On Being Hannah

There's a lot of parenting in the Bible. Good parenting and (lots of) bad parenting too. The men and women who are our spiritual fathers were sinful just like us, and the Bible is not afraid to record those truths. One momma in the Bible that I do want to emulate, though, is Hannah.
The Biblical picture of Hannah is at the very core of parenting. Hannah did what was most difficult--she gave her child away. This is essential to parenting because it is what we all must do at one time or the other. Whether it is like the couple in our community who were able to say of their four year old son's death, "He wasn't taken from us; we were allowed to be with him for four years!" Or whether it is the parent waving good-bye to their college bound 18 year old or the father giving away his daughter with the words, "I'll always be your dad, but now I'll always respect your husband." This is what parenting is, and I'm thankful for the snapshot of that from Hannah.
"For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord."
(1 Samuel 1:27 and 28a)
This has application for that future date when our children go off on their own, but it also has daily application. We mothers tend to love to control and this is a call for mothers to walk humbly in the Spirit alongside their children. This could be as simple as letting my daughter pick out her own wardrobe or as profound as standing back during a fight and seeing my children work it out on their own. And I'm hoping (really hoping) that praying about this now will somehow soften that time in the future when these precious ones really do step out on their own. Oh, and by the way, Hannah was given 3 other sons and 2 daughters (1 Sam. 2:21). The Spirit must have recorded that little fact to remind us moms that there is rich blessing in surrendering our all to our Father.
To read an awesome quote about this very subject visit "Courage."