Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Canon of Praise

For months now, our middle children have been preparing and training for regional competition with our church's Master Club group.
We just LOVE Master Clubs.
For years, our church had an AWANA program for elementary age children,
but decided to switch to the Master Club program about 4 or 5 years ago.
I really like it so much better.
It gives them so many, many opportunities to have hands-on training for future ministry.
This last weekend was the regional competition in many categories, and Sunday Evening
the put on a sort of "exhibition" of all the things they competed in.
What a blessing to watch and hear our children lift their voices in song, and Bible storytelling, and Scripture memory, etc.
Here is the trio Ashlyn took part in.  She is smack in the middle right in front singing alto.

And here is the children's ensemble singing "Canon of Praise."
Again, Ashlyn is smack in the middle, right on the front row.

To God be the glory!!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Won't you watch and pray?

It's going to be a rough and exhausting day for the Cretzman family today.
If you're new to their story, they are a delightful missionary family we know through our church,
who tragically lost their 3-year old daughter in a frightening crash one week ago today.
You can click on the link in the right hand side bar for some updates to how they are doing.
Tonight, they bury her.
The funeral will be streamed live from a local TV channel there in North Carolina where the crash occurred.
Keep them in your prayers?
And consider what you might do to financially help them?
Be the hands of Jesus to them.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday's Fabulous Family Recipe: Deep Dish Cookie Pie

Oh. my. GOODness!!
When I first saw a picture of this deliciousness....I knew I had to try it!
It was, and still is....AH. mazing!!
Totally gluten {flour of any kind} free and dairy free.
Now as a disclaimer....it is not sugar free.
But you sort of need the sugar {and chocolate} to cover up the flavor of its main ingredient.
You won't believe what the main ingredient is!
You must try this.....and you'll be ever so glad you did.

I didn't get a lovely picture of this once I cut it.
I didn't have time.
It was inhaled by the other 7 members of my family!!

This picture is from Katie, who's blog I adore, and who invented this amazingness.
To see the recipe and to enjoy with all those you love.....click here!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

{You CAN} Teach Your Child Thursdays: Money management for kids!

One goal that I had for our family this year was to get in place a concrete plan for teaching our children about using money wisely.
You would think that since we've been parents for 14 1/2 years now, this would have been set up long ago.
Not so.
The tsunami of life has been pretty overwhelming lately, and...well....we just hadn't made it a priority.
Not that it wasn't on my to do list.
I just hadn't come upon the best and most affordable way to do this for all 6 children.

Here are some of the ideas I had been looking at:

Click on any of the pictures above to get more information about each one.

What I liked about each of these tools is that there are compartments for the three major areas I want my children to think about when it comes to money management:

1.  Giving {tithing}
2.  Saving
3. Spending

I read this book several years ago, and loved the tips she shared on how to split up the use of your money.

Her suggestion was to use the "10-10-80 plan."
10% tithe
10% save
80% spend

It's such an easy little formula.
Take off 10% for tithe right off the top.
Stash 10% for savings.
Live off the other 80%.

This is particularly great for couples who are fortunate and smart enough to start out in their marriage with no debt.  If you find yourselves drowning in debt and using your credit card regularly to buy the bare essentials, then I really recommend you read this book!!

Dave Ramsey has a really unique and doable plan for getting out of debt.  I won't say it's easy because you have to learn to be committed to a plan and disciplined to stick with it.  I daresay the reason so many of us are in debt is because of a lack of discipline and plain gluttony, so it's hard to learn new habits and face the truth about your finances!!
But it's revolutionary when you follow his recommendations.
This book has taught us HOW we can live within one income without toting debt and credit cards and financial pressures.
It hasn't made us "rich" because we are trying hard to live within our means even when unexpected things happen......i.e. the tsunami of life!

Anyway, these resources have helped shaped my ideas of what and how I wanted to teach my children about learning to earn money, and then what the Bible says about how we should use it.

But then I was back to wondering HOW I was going to do this in a practical, visual, hands-on way that would be fun for our children.
I loved the ideas pictured above, but just couldn't afford 6 of each.
So I thought and thought, and then learned about Pinterest!
I found this idea right away, and remembered when we had made our own set similar to this with paper oatmeal containers, and smaller pringles cans.

But I only needed to make 2 back then.
SIX of those puppies sitting around takes up more room than I have.

Again, these are ALL lovely ideas, but that many jars {6 X 3= 18 !!}
sitting around is way too impractical in my tiny house.

So I went back to the drawing board and thought some more about it.....and here's what I came up with!

For my older girls {who are 14 and almost 12}, we made these envelopes to fit in their wallets.
The envelope system is wonderful, and I use these myself as well!!

For the tutorial on how we made these, click here!!

It has been pure JOY watching how excited my youngest ones are when on Sunday morning they get to open their little jar and take their money to church for Jesus!!  They are so careful not to lose it, and are really learning that that money is not meant for them to spend on themselves, but for giving.  This has been one of our best tools yet!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Would you consider helping the Cretzmans?

Click on the prayer card above to learn how and where you can help this precious
missionary family.
They lost this sweet 3 year old girl Monday morning in a terrible car accident,
and her Mama suffered a broken leg which required surgery yesterday.
They were on deputation to raise support to go to Cuba to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Mama still has several months of rehab and follow-ups.
Our hearts are breaking for them and we are praying about ways our family can help as well.
It has been just amazing to see the outpouring of Christ's love by Christians from around the world
toward this lovely family!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The unimaginable. Please pray?

Yesterday, I woke up to a heart-breaking story.
Matthew and Lana Cretzman are a precious missionary family that our church supports.
In the fall of 2010, they were a part of our annual missions conference and we all just fell in love with them!
Truly delightful, committed, gracious people.

Yesterday morning, they were traveling in North Carolina, still on deputation trying to raise their support,
and they were in a terrible car accident.

They lost their sweet 3-year old little girl, Azlynn.
Lana was airlifted to a local hospital, and is having surgery to repair her leg this morning.
Matthew and 2-year old Maddie were treated and released.

Please pray for this sweet family as they walk through this valley of unimaginable grief.
Read the news story here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Several years ago I contacted our local newspaper about telling the story of how my husband and I met.
That was such a special time in our lives, and I was hoping for some way of preserving that memory for my children.
If you are interested, you can read that story here:

In other news.....we're having fun at our house today.
My children would like to take the day off of schoolwork, but we really have to do at least 1 or 2 subjects.
No biggie.
But we are enjoying things like these today:

I made some of this yesterday for a fun snack today:

I can't help think on this lovely day of a definition of "love" that I heard recently on our local radio station.
I believe it was spoken by a pastor named Chip Ingram.
He defined love this way:   "Giving what they need the most when they deserve it the least."
And doesn't that exactly picture what God did for us?
He saw our need of salvation...restoration to fellowship with Him.
And when we least deserved it....He provided the ultimate free gift of salvation by His death on that terrible cross.
He manifested His love for us in a way that we, as mere mortals, could best understand it.
By pulling on skin, coming to earth in bodily form, and paying the price {the wage, if you will} for our filthy, vile sin nature.  Our terribly poor choices......that produced separation from our Holy, Pure Creator.
Have you received that free gift?

"For God so loved....that He gave..."  John 3:16
"God is love."  I John 4:8

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday's Fabulous Family Recipe: Southwestern Salad!

I found the recipe for this amazing meatless dish several months ago and filed it away to try at a later date.
Well, I put it at the top of the pile recently and it was a HIT!!

I did not like the name of the original recipe so I did rename it for our family.
I think our name more accurately reflects the flavors that are represented in this dish.
It is cool and refreshing to eat, and super easy to toss together.
It's also very transportable and would be easy to take to a church potluck instead of 
a box of fried chicken strips or chocolate cake!!
I also just LOVE how colorful this salad is,
and how pretty it is on your plate!

It's even better the next day because the flavors have had more time to blend!
We just love it.
I have found several children who enjoy this as well!
The recipe can be found here.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

{You CAN} Teach Your Child Thursday: Free $5 gift certificate to Veritas Press

Veritas Press is a very good resource for homeschooling curriculum especially is you like the classical style of home education.
Right now, they have a special promotion going on where you can very easily sign up for a free $5 gift certificate, and then for every friend you get to sign up, you get an additional $5.
Sign up here to get your $5 gift certificate, and I'll get an extra $5 too!!