Archives for November 2012

Homemade Almond Joys

A few weeks ago my son and I were looking for a healthy snack to make when I remembered reading on someones blog how to make a healthy almond joy bar. It wasn’t long before we were enjoying our treat. It wasn’t long after that we were making trips to the bathroom. (Warning: Too much coconut oil in one sitting is not good).

I still had some coconut left over from that incident, so I decided to be brave and try again…this time I came up with my own recipe! My son wasn’t so sure about my abilities, but thankfully I proved him wrong. The homemade almond joys I made were not only totally yummy, they were actually pretty healthy {bonus}. Here is how I did it…

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Raw Honey
1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
1 Cup Shredded Coconut
1/4 Cup Almonds
1/2 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips

Heat coconut oil and butter until just melted. Mix in honey, maple syrup, and coconut. Stir until well mixed. Form a rectangle with the coconut mixture on a plate.

Add almonds to the top of the rectangle. Refrigerate until firm.

Meanwhile, melt chocolate. I place mine in a pyrex measuring cup and place in a pan of boiling water. Make sure none of the water gets into the chocolate or it will cause it to become hard and brittle.

At this point, I should have cut the coconut rectangle into slices, then poured chocolate onto each individual piece. Instead, I just poured the chocolate onto the top of the entire rectangle. I put it back into the refrigerator (not quite long enough though, I just couldn’t wait to try them!).

My son gave this one a 2 thumbs up!

Learning to Make Skirts ~ Craftsy Class Giveaway

When I was in high school I took a home ec class and learned to sew. We were taught how to read patterns, select fabric, and eventually sew our garments. The thing I didn’t like about learning to sew this way was that it was so tedious. There were so many steps to follow and it seemed like most of them were unnecessary. (I guess that is why I naturally drifted toward quilting…I just do it my own way and call it good.)

Online Sewing Class

I was recently browsing through classes at Craftsy (have you signed up yet, it’s FREE to sign up, and a few of the classes are even free!) and I saw the class Design and Sew an A-Line Skirt. It promised to teach how to both design and sew a skirt tailored to my shape and style. At the time, I was thinking this would be perfect for my daughter. She wears skirts all the time and has been wanting to learn to sew. I signed up for her.

The Class

But somewhere along the line, God started tugging at my heart about making some skirts for myself. I thought I would watch the class just to help her out, but as I watched I learned so much. The class starts by teaching you how take your own measurements and draft a pattern. At first you just learn the basics, but as you progress she (Debra Moebes) teaches you how customize your skirt and add in the elements that are right for you.

What I enjoyed was the fact that she cuts out the unnecessary and just gets right to the meat. Yes, there are still some steps that I felt were tedious, but at least now I understand why they are necessary.

Once you draft your pattern, you then sew up a muslin (had never done that before…I felt like a professional). The muslin is a practice run so that you can make sure it fits properly and is just how you want it before moving on the real skirt.

After you have made your adjustments, you then transfer them back to your permanent pattern before cutting out and sewing your skirt. I say permanent, because once you have a pattern that you like, you can keep the same pattern and just make adjustments to it for any “extras” you would like to add each time. Debra teaches you how to make skirts with invisible zippers, yokes across the top of the skirt, fuller skirts with her slash and spread method, and how to add a variety of pockets to a skirt.

I finished this class and felt confident in my skirt making abilities. I was so thankful that she took the time at the end of the series to talk about different fabrics. I am only use to working with cotton fabrics, but they are a little on the lighter side for skirts (at least for me, now I wouldn’t mind using them for the girls). I am anxious to try my hand at making a linen or wool skirt. She also shares resources on where to find different kinds of fabrics for skirt making.

Extras

A few more things that stood out about the Craftsy class and are worth mentioning:

Indefinite access to your class — once you sign up for a class, you can take as long as you like in working on the class. What I like about that is if I get down the line and have questions about something I learned in this class, I can always go back and watch the lessons.

Ability to ask questions — both Debra and other students are available to help answer any questions that may come up as you learn to sew.

Ability to work on the class at my own pace and whenever I want — there is no waiting for the next class to become available, nor is there any getting behind if you don’t finish something. The classes are totally go-at-your-own-pace and you can watch them whenever you like!

Giveaway

I tell you I have had so much fun taking this class! I was have been up way to late on more than one occasion, watching the Craftsy videos…it’s a little addicting.

In fact, I am so crazy about Craftsy classes that I want to share one with one of you! I am going to be giving away a FREE Craftsy class to one lucky winner. And for those of you that might not be the lucky winner, Craftsy currently has all of their classes on sale for just $19.99 (now through November 26th).

If you don’t have time to take a class now, but think you might want to take one later, I would suggest signing up now while they are so cheap, and taking the class at your leisure.

To enter the giveaway, visit Craftsy.com and browse their more than 100 classes. Then tell me which class you would take if you are the chosen winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Shared on Hip Homeschool Moms

Why I Don’t Wear Skirts

A few years ago, I would have never thought twice about slipping on jeans to go to town or even slacks for church. I didn’t even know that it mattered to anyone else, except maybe those of Amish or Mennonite beliefs. But here lately, it seems that the subject is being debated everywhere. Should we, or shouldn’t we, wear skirts?

A Little Background

I didn’t grow up being modest. Far from it. My parents were hippies of the seventies and growing up, I really didn’t have many restrictions placed on me. I remember getting a leather mini-skirt for Christmas my 7th grade year and I thought I was hot stuff. Most all of my clothing decisions were made based on whether I thought the clothes made me look good.

As I got older and gave my life over to Jesus, He began to work on my heart in this area. Slowly I began to see that I needed to be more modest, both in my actions and in my dress. And I did {do} dress modestly, according to my standards.

When my oldest daughter was 15, she began to only wear skirts. We were living in Spain at the time, and there just weren’t very many options for finding modest skirts for a 15 year old. At first she bought many of them at the thrift store on base, but you can imagine the modge podge she found.

I will be honest here and let you know that there were times that I wished she wouldn’t wear skirts. Many of them were hideous. But as I prayed about it, I realized that I was focusing on her looking stylish instead of focusing on her desire to be dressed modestly before the Lord. As she kept searching for more skirts, she slowly accumulated a handful of skirts that were both modest and flattering.

I have stood by and watched her grow both in her faith and in her convictions. It is not always easy for her, but she has made a commitment to the Lord and she continues to find ways to honor her commitment. For instance, it gets pretty cold here in Wichita, but she has prepared for this by making sure she has leggings to wear under her skirts or warm knitted socks on her feet.

So what about me? Where do I stand?

I have thought about wearing skirts very often. And my answer was always, “not yet.” I am not ready yet. I knew in my heart that it was a very conscious decision I was making. I was saying, “I am not ready to yield.” And here are the reasons I gave myself…

1) They are not comfortable.

I know many people say the opposite, but they just don’t feel comfy to me. I have sensory issues, and little things bother me. For instance, I don’t like feeling my legs touch each other, especially when I am walking.

2) They change up the way I do things.

I am not very graceful. I like to sit on the ground cross-legged. I like to sit in the rocker with my knees pulled up to my chest. I don’t like to think about sitting properly or getting in and out of the van without my skirt flying up.

3) I don’t want to look frumpy.

I know this doesn’t make sense. I don’t have any problem wearing sweats all day, but in my mind I associate skirts with someone who “has to” be home with her kids. Like Ma Kettle. When I ponder my deepest thoughts, I realize how much of the world is still in me. How much I still have that desire to look good and be a women of the world. I don’t want to be that way. I want to be a happy homemaker who is content being where God has me. I just haven’t arrived yet.

4) Wearing skirts is hard work.

First, I have to either buy or make myself more skirts. Then I have to plan ahead and make sure they are pressed. And shoes. I need to make sure that I have shoes to wear with the skirts.

5) I don’t want to submit.

I think this is the heart of the matter. I just don’t want to be told that I should do something. Shouldn’t I be able to wear what I want. After all, I don’t wear tight jeans or short shorts. Doesn’t God want me to be beautiful and comfortable and …well, me.

Does It Really Matter?

As I read through my list of “why’s” something really sticks out. Do you notice it? It reminds me of the old Toby Keith song, “I Wanna Talk About Me”. That’s right, I am so concerned about me. About my wants. About my desires.

The entire focus of the skirt issue is me.

I have read all the reasons that I should wear skirts. And I know them well. God doesn’t want me dress like a man. He wants me to dress modestly, distinctly feminine. And I have argued in my heart that I can do this while wearing what I want. And truthfully, I have seen women with a very meek and quiet spirit wearing pants.

I love the Lord greatly and I am a woman who wears pants.

{As I sit here and write this, I am reminded of a saying that was popular not so long ago. When a woman tried to usurp the authority of her husband, it was asked of her, “Who wears the pants in this family?” The one who wore the pants was the one in charge. Maybe that is why, deep in my heart, I want to wear pants. I want to be in charge. Hmmm, need to do some more heart examination.}

But I really feel like the Lord calls us to be sanctified–set apart. When non-believers see us, there shouldn’t be a question in their minds as to whether or not we are believers. Our outward adornment should portray someone who is meek and quiet, wholly feminine, completely submitted, clothed in righteousness.

And some might argue that a skirt doesn’t mean all these things. But I would argue that if those of us who are completely honest with ourselves would search deeeeep in our hearts, we would agree that wearing a modest skirt is more glorifying to the Lord than what we usually wear (at least most of the time, anyway).

So, Where Do I Go From Here?

I am not sure.

I know that is not the answer you were looking for. It’s not the answer I want to give. I would like to say that “from now on, I will only wear skirts!” I don’t think it would be an honest answer though. I am praying that the Lord would give me strength over my flesh. I am praying that He would give me a heart that desires to love Him more than my own desires. I am hoping that I can lay this all down at His feet and follow only Him.

In the meantime, I am preparing for obedience. What does that mean?

Right now, I couldn’t realistically wear skirts everyday.  I simply do not own enough skirts to wear everyday of the week (unless I washed them every other day — again, not very realistic).  So I am taking a class on designing and making your own skirts.  I figured that if I made the skirts to my liking, there would be a greater chance that I would actually wear them.

I am also going to read through some some posts that will encourage my efforts.  Amy at Raising Arrows has a series she wrote a while back (as in, back when my heart was saying I didn’t want to think about wearing skirts) called She Wears Skirts.  She shares a ton of great information, tips, and really just a heart for helping other women who are going through–the change.

For the most part, I will be seeking the Lord and asking for grace in this area of my life.  And for help in being obedient.

What about you?  Anyone else going through–the change?

Learning Display Frames

I was over at a friend’s house, taking my little one to the bathroom, when I noticed she had taken a memory verse card and clipped it to a picture hanging on the wall. I loved the idea of having my memory verse, or any learning aid, displayed in various places in the house. This makes it so easy to spend a minute or two working on memorizing a verse, or learning a bit of information, as you go about your daily task.

Today I am sharing a tutorial on how to make these cute frames over at The Happy Housewife. Why don’t you join me there!

Schoolhouse Review: Vocal Coach Singer

I remember it like it was yesterday…my young pianist sitting on the bench practicing her piano, when I mentioned that she should practice singing along because she had such a lovely voice…to which she replied, “I am not a singer, I am a classical pianist!”

Six years later she laughs when I remind her of this, because she remembers it so well. We are both so thankful that the Lord has turned her heart around for His glory! During the last couple of years, not only has my oldest daughter began to sing publicly, she has worked with her younger sisters teaching them to play instruments and sing. The trio is currently practicing hymns to sing with another family at our local nursing homes.

Hannah is seven and she plays the fiddle. She is really the “entertainer” of the bunch, so we have to keep an eye on her. She wants all eyes on her.

Maddie is ten, and she plays the mandolin and a bit of guitar. She is happy to stay in background, but has a lovely voice that rings out. I don’t know how she does it, but she can really keep a steady tone when her older sister harmonizes with her.

Kendra is eighteen now, and a complete maestro. Besides being the classical pianist she is, she plays the fiddle, mandolin, and the guitar. And she is becoming a wonderful music teacher to her sisters. She sings beautifully in both English and Spanish.

We were recently introduced to Vocal Coach Singer, which is a complete voice lesson program on CD’s (or MP3s). My mom used to always tell me, “You need to get voice lessons for those girls so that they can know the right way to sing.” I knew she was probably right, but voice lessons are expensive especially for 3 children. And really, I didn’t even know anyone who taught voice lessons. Not to mention that I would have to drive them to the lessons each week (well, now Kendra drives, but back when I thought about it she didn’t).

I was excited that the girls would have the opportunity to have voice lessons from home. As I researched the company, I was so grateful that not only are the lessons top-notch, professional quality lessons, the owners are Christians. I heard the girls practicing one of their exercises the other day, singing about how they were designed by God. WOW! As the music of this world turns more and more worldly, it is truly a breath of fresh air to be taught by those who love the Lord!

How the Program Works

The program consists of 7 Training CDs:
Getting Started
Complete Breathing
Complete Warm-Up
Complete Tone
Complete Expanding Your Range
Complete Diction
Complete Performance

4 Workout CDs:
Daily Workout High Voice 1 & 2
Daily Workout Medium/Low Voice 1 & 2

Plus these great educational tools:
Guidebook – Full-size Instructional Guidebook to Ensure Success
Printable Lead Sheets – each exercise in our course, plus track lists
Personal Singer’s Journal (Getting Started Journal & Workout Journal) to Track Your Progress
Vocal Coach Song Evaluation – Evaluation form to enable you to make more intelligent song selections

When the girls started out, I had Kendra read through the guidebook, which explains the program. Then, she would spend about 20-30 minutes a day, roughly 2-3 days a week, going through the exercises. The exercises are easy to complete and the kids had a blast doing them. I could hear them downstairs just laughing at each other as they made the “funny” faces needed to breathe different ways. When they got to the drawn out songs, used to increase the amount of air their lungs can hold, they gasped for air wondering if this program wasn’t some kind of torture session (but then laughed and giggled as they worked to go longer and longer).

One of the things that would have helped us out with this program would be a general guideline of how long to spend on each training session. Kendra wasn’t sure how long to continue working on each session, and which ones she should repeat even as they moved on to others. For example, she didn’t know if they should keep working on breathing songs even as they moved on to tone training or expanding their range training.

Other than that, we were all very happy with the lessons. The girls feel very blessed to be able to advance their singing skills, especially in such a fun way. Even their little brother has been enjoying the lessons, even though he just listens along now and then. We all thought it was so funny to hear him singing the “rap” song as we were getting ready for dinner. This made me realize that these lessons were sticking with them and that they were working on them throughout the day even when they didn’t realize it!

Overall, this has been a super program!

Here is a sampling of my daughter Kendra singing after using Vocal Coach. I should have gotten a “before” recording, but I didn’t. Maybe I will have her record again in a few more weeks and add an update!

Appropriate Age Range

Vocal Coach Singer can be used by anyone wanting to sing their best. I think that younger children would need supervision and guidance as they go through the sessions to make sure they are doing the exercises correctly. My seven year old and ten year old had no trouble with the material, but they did each lesson with their older sister working with them. I don’t think they would have been as successful if I had just left them alone with it.

Program Price

Vocal Coach Singer includes 7 training CDs, 4 workout CDs, and a full-size instructional guidebook for $119 ($99 for MP3s).

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To see what my fellow crewmates had to say about Vocal Coach Singer, click the banner here:

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Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received the product or service mentioned above for the purpose of a review. All opinions are my own. For more information, please read my disclosure.

The Herbal Medicine Cabinet

With winter approaching and me feeling a little more settled at home, I decided to tackle a not-so-typical job this week.  It was time to clean out the herb pantry and start planning my upcoming medicine making.

The Herb Cabinet

The first thing I did was go through everything and take inventory.  I wanted to see what herbs I had on hand and which ones I needed to purchase.  Then I begin to organize everything.

On my bottom shelf, I store all my bags of loose bulk herbs.  These are herbs that I buy in larger quantities and use more frequently.  For instance, my pregnancy tea herbs, boo boo salve herbs, and my triple threat cold and flu fighter herbs are all on this shelf.  Next, I have a shelf full of canning jars.  I use these to store herbs that I use in small quantities, or ones that only have a little left.  I peeled off the labels from the bags the herbs came in and adhered them to the jars so that I could easily tell what was in them.  I also keep some of my storebought teas on this shelf.  I like to buy the Traditional Medicinals teas.  Even though I make glycerites with essentially the same ingredients the teas, it is sometimes more comforting to drink a cup of tea when you are sick so I keep both on hand.  On the top shelf, I keep my supplies.  These include different oils, glycerine, witch hazel, beeswax…all kinds of goodies.  I use these for both my medicine making and my skincare products.

As I organized the herbs in my cabinet, I made not of anything I was out of.  This time it looks like I need to order more bentonite clay.  I check the herbs to make sure that they still have a strong, fresh smell.  Any of the herbs that look faded, have faint, musty smells, or that just don’t seem fresh get tossed out.  Because I am making medicine for my family, I want to make sure that the herbs I will use are of the best quality.

{FYI: Just learned this week that smelling and tasting herbs to determine their freshness has a big scientific name…organoleptic evaluation…makes sense.  We are evaluating with our organs!}

Bottles, Bottles, and More Bottles

In my bathroom, I keep my tinctures, glycerites, and any other supplements I might have.  I went ahead and pulled all of these out to see what I might be running low on.  I organized everything by type of medicine so that I could more easily remember what might be missing.  I really should keep a master list, I just haven’t gotten that organized yet!

So my groups include:

1) essential oils – I only use these topically as they can be very taxing on the body if taken internally.  The main ones I like to keep on hand are tea tree oil (which I need to buy) and lavender eo.  I also use rosemary in my lipbalm, and several others in my soaps, but as for medicine tea tree oil and lavender are my go to’s.

2) tinctures – I haven’t used tinctures a whole lot, just because I use glycerites to treat the kids.  However, as I am learning more about medicine making, I am going to step out this winter and make some tinctures.  And since I will be strutting down the liquor aisle, I am also going to try my hand at vanilla extract!  Can’t wait!

3) supplements – These are various things I have accumulated over the course of time for various illnesses.  The only supplements I keep regularly are garlic capsules, acidophilus, and prenatals.  I recently bought some burdock root to help with the eczema on my daughter’s hands and cranberry capsules for a uti.  I try not to clutter up my cabinets with too many bottles of miscellaneous pills.

4) glycerites – These are really the staple of my medicines.  I usually either make these myself, or buy them from Trilight Herbs.  The ones I regularly buy are the White Willow, Sinus Minus, and Scout Out.  The reason I buy these is because I want to make sure they are 1) strong enough and 2) in the case of Sinus Minus and Scout Out, they have a more complicated formula than I am comfortable making at this point.  Some of the ones that I make myself are echinacea & thyme, cherry bark cough syrup, elderberry syrup, tummy relief, and the triple threat I mentioned above.  All of these have only a few simple ingredients and are easy to make.

The Final Count

After organizing and putting everything back in it’s place, I have devised a plan to build up my medicinal herb cabinet.

Need to Order:

Trilight Herbs (thankfully they are on sale right now for 15% off)

  • white willow
  • sinus minus
  • scout out

Lucky Vitamin

  • garlic capsules
  • acidophilus
  • tea tree essential oil
  • st. john’s wort oil

Mountain Rose Herbs

  • bentonite clay
  • glycerine

Need to Make:

  • cherry bark cough syrup
  • elderberry syrup
  • triple threat
  • tummy relief

And I don’t want to forget, vanilla extract. Not necessarily a medicinal herb, but I want to make it while I am making all the rest!

My friend Keri Mae at A Happy Home is sharing her favorite “must have” herbs. So please stop by and say hi to her. I am anxious to see what she working on so I can get a few ideas myself (I always get ideas when I visit her site!).

What about you? Do you have an herbal medicine cabinet? What are your must haves in your cabinet?

Linked up at The Homestead Barn Hop

Chicken and Veggie Wrap

Here is a quick and easy lunch idea…a chicken and veggie wrap!

We filled our wrap with leftover chicken, some greens, shaved cucumbers, red bell peppers, and topped with feta cheese. (I want to say there was some yogurt tzatziki sauce in there too, but I don’t see it in the photo.) Yum!

Schoolhouse Review: Growing Up Wild

When we lived in Spain, the church we attended was pastored by a missionary. There were also several other missionaries in the area who worked together. We became close to their families and learned so much about missionary life there in Spain. Up until that time, we really didn’t know any missionaries or know anything about their way of life.

I was recently introduced to another missionary family, the Wild family, who lives in Papua with their four sons. I didn’t personally meet the family, but our family did learn many things about them and their life in Papau by watching videos of their life. The Wild family has produced a series of five DVD’s, creating a mission curriculum for homeschooling families–or anyone wanting to learn more about mission work in the remote jungles.

As a family, we watched volumes 1 and 4. Each DVD has three episodes focusing on different aspects of their lives. After each episode, they have provided an activity guide that has many related activities that both facilitate learning and give the viewers a better understanding of the episode. For instance, in volume 1, one of the episodes shows the family picking up supplies that will last them 6 months. One of the related activities requires you to determine how much food you would need to get for your own family in order to sustain it for 6 months.

One of the episodes has the boys talking with Bogo, a village elder, as he tells them stories. The related activity suggested having the kids interview one of their grandparents. Recently, we were able to do just that! My great-grandmother is 75 years old. The kids sat her down and just started asking questions. At first they were a little hesitant and didn’t really know what to ask. However, my grandmother just took off telling them all kinds of things about her childhood. Two hours later they had some of the fondest memories recorded! I have included a short clip here:

My kids have watched these videos over and over, even when we haven’t sat down to do activities afterwards. I think this is because life in the jungles is so fascinating to them. They have learned how the Wild family gets water and electricity to their hut, the kinds of foods they eat that are native to the area, and are especially enamored by all the animals on the videos.

I do have one concern about the videos that I would like to point out. First I want to say though, that I love the videos. I think this family has a true heart for the things of the Lord, and are trying to be lights for Him. With that said, I was taken back by one of the episodes on the volume 4 DVD. In the video, they are talking about how there are differences in the Wano culture and our own American culture. The Wano tribe members often pierce the septum of their noses (lower middle part), and sticks a large piece of wood through it. As we were watching, the Wild family decided to let their 2 sons get their septums pierced by the tribe members (and it shows them getting it pierced).

For our family, we believe this is wrong and does not honor God. And I am fine discussing this with my children and they understand our beliefs about this. However, I was upset that on the video they comment was made that it is not wrong because it is the same as piercing our ears. To me, it would have been better to have either 1) not show something like this or 2) do so in a way that left it up to the parents to determine whether it is right or wrong. I guess I was just taken back by the fact that I had no warning that it was on the video and then to hear them tell the children it was right to do it without me talking with them first.

I don’t want to end on a bad note, because overall we have really enjoyed the videos. We have had our discussions on many aspects of missionary life, so it has definitely brought an awareness to our family that we didn’t have before. And I really believe that this is such an important part of preparing our arrows to go out into the world. If God chooses to use or children as missionaries to foreign countries, these are some of the things they will be faced with. What a wonderful thing it is to be able to learn about and discuss these issues with our children now as we teach them about God’s Word and what He would have us do!

Growing Up Wild DVD’s are $18.99 each or all five for $80.99. They are targeted for children ages 5-12, but I think me and the older kids enjoyed them just as much as the younger ones!

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To see what my fellow crewmates had to say about Growing Up Wild, click the banner here:

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Disclaimer: As part of the TOS Schoolhouse Review Crew, I received the product or service mentioned above for the purpose of a review. All opinions are my own. For more information, please read my disclosure.

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway

Melissa & Doug toys and puzzles are staples around our house. Just this summer at our local homeschool conference, the kids were aloud to pick out something “educational” to buy. Isaac chose some chunky Melissa and Doug trucks and Cooper chose a little box with four board puzzles inside. I love the fact that these toys are simple (not alot of bells and whistles) and can be played with by all the kids.

Starting November 6th, Melissa & Doug are celebrating “20 Days of Giveaways” on their Facebook page. Each day, readers have a chance to win a toy from their Terrific Twenty List. Check out the Melissa & Doug Facebook page to enter the daily contest!

Bonus Giveaway

As an added bonus, Melissa and Doug have graciously offered to giveaway one toy to my readers!

This adorable “Trunki” has room inside to pack clothes for a trip or toys for an outing. The best part is that it is sturdy enough for little guys to ride on. I was personally thinking about how great this would be at the airport when you are sitting and waiting for flights. It would certainly give the littles something to do while they wait!

Traveling with Terrance will make family vacations and neighborhood sleepovers more of an adventure! The perfect size, this suitcase is packed with features and has room for lots of travel-friendly activities. Terrance will become your child’s favorite ride-on travel companion.

Retail Value: $39.99

To enter, leave a comment below. I will choose a winner on Monday, November 19th!

Congratulations to Tracy D.! You are the winner of the Melissa and Doug Trunki!


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Allume: What I Learned by Staying Home (part 2)

I was getting a bit long winded in the last post so I decided it would be best to divide it into 2 posts.  So yesterday I covered the first three speakers: Sarah Mae, Jessica, and Sally.

Getting Close to the Unsaved

Saturday morning found Problogger, Darren Rowse at the podium.  I was a little unsure of what to expect from Darren.  I had heard of him before, but haven’t read alot of his writings and didn’t know where he was coming from as far as his story, his beliefs, his life.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that he indeed is a professing Christian.  Honestly, though, I figured I would gain more technical knowledge from him than a message from the Lord.  I was wrong.

Darren told the story of Philip and the Eunuch from the end of Acts 8.  Philip was told by the angel of the Lord to go down near a eunuch who was standing in a chariot reading Isaiah the prophet, not understanding what he was reading.  Philip explains God’s word, the eunuch believes God’s word and is saved.  Philip then baptizes the Eunuch before being caught up by the Spirit of the Lord.

OK, the point he made in this was that Philip had to be in close proximity to the unsaved eunuch before he 1) knew that he was reading the Scripture, and 2) needed help understanding what he was reading.

Give me a minute to explain how this pertains to me.

I am at home with my children most all the time.  I like being home.  My days seem so much more peaceful when I don’t have to run around.  In fact, now that I have another driver in the family, I often send her out to run errands for me (and she is happy to do so!).  While this works out wonderfully for our family, I am often reminded that very rarely am I ever around non-Christians.

When it comes to blogging, I consider myself a Christian blogger.  All the blogs I read are Christian blogs.

In order for me to have proximity to unbelievers (in order to minister to them), I have to either go to them (which I will get to in a bit) or draw them in to my blog.  And how do I do that?  I provide excellent content that they find useful.

In the case of Problogger, he has two websites: a photography site and his blogging site.  He offers relevant content to everyone.

In the case of my blog, I have thought about this before, but from a different perspective.  I was thinking, “oh, I need to focus more on the spiritual aspect of my blog, not the quilting, or soapmaking, or healthy eating side of things.”

I had an epiphany when I realized that God has blessed the work of my hands in these areas.  And by sharing my talent through my blog, I am drawing in not only believers who also have a love of these things or a desire to learn them—I am also drawing in anyone else who may find it useful.  And hopefully they will stay long enough to be ministered to in one way or another.

Loving Without Fear

Last of the keynote speakers was sweet Ann Voskamp.  Again, I vaguely knew who she was but haven’t read any of her work or her blog. One of the great points Ann made during her talk was that we as Christians, need to quit being afraid of being lumped in together with non-Christians.  What she said was so true and I see this in myself so many times!  I am so afraid to leave a comment of encouragement or whatever because I fear that other people will see that comment and think that I agree with everything that person says or stands for.

Here’s an example:

I read someone’s status on Facebook and could tell from the post that the person needed some love and encouragement (she used profanities in her post).  I replied to the post letting her know that I loved her.  However, after I hit publish, I thought to myself, “What if people think that I think it is OK to talk like that?  Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything to her.”

Do you see the problem?  I was afraid to reach out in fear of being chastised by other believers.  I was scared that other people would link me to her sin if I showed any love and compassion toward her.

We should never fear loving one another.

A Request for Prayer

As I ponder these thoughts and a million more that swirl about in my head, I would like to ask for your prayers.  As with anything in this life, when we surrender to the will of God we never truly know where He will take us.  I pray that He would be glorified in all I do and say and that this blog would be used any way that He sees fit.  I sometimes get caught up in the mechanics of blogging and forget the real reason for typing out words on my screen.  May the Lord truly lead me and may I wholeheartedly follow Him.