Saturday, May 31, 2008

Interview with LAF

You can read my latest interview at LAF.

Today we will be busy in the yard! We've had a lot of rain this week so it has grown like crazy, including the weeds. I guess as in life; you can be showered with abundant blessings and that is when it is easy for the weeds of pride or laziness to really take root!

Hope you all have a blessed weekend, and Lord's Day worshiping and fellowshipping!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Domestic Day Camps and Carpentry Camp

We have our summer booked up with ways for people to learn some practical skills!

With our Domestic Day Camps you will learn:

  • Homemaking~ Purpose and Priority, Hospitality

  • Herbs
  • Quilting with Strip Piecing
  • Making Bread by Hand
  • Simple Sewing
  • Jewelry Making
  • Card Making
  • Making and Canning Jam
  • Cake Decorating
  • Making a Skirt without a Pattern
  • Rag Quilting
  • Cutting Hair
You can visit our Camp page HERE! Sign up before classes are full.

Then we have some great ways for young men, ages 12 and up to get some experience building!


You can check out our Carpentry Day Camp here.

And our Woodworking Workshops here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Confronting the Culture

Today was one of those days that I was hit in the face about how complacent I am. Before I tell you why, let me say, I'm pretty bold in a room full of like-minded folks, or here on my humble blog, where I can just delete 'you' if you get ugly and unruly. ;o)

Yesterday, I was reading about my friend Kelly and her episode at a restaurant where she confronted the culture. I had to laugh at her, although I was not one bit surprised by what she did. But I was also convicted because when it comes to be being bold, I am a wimp...a coward.

Today...we were sitting in the DMV waiting room, in a bad part of town. Only a few of us there. Lady #1, nice, trying to make conversation by complaining about the requirements of the office. Lady #2 comes in with 21 yo daughter, who had half of her DDD size chest hanging out of her shirt exposing part of her bra. They choose sit across from us. We smiled and said hello. Lady #1 to my left starts a conversation with them. For a good 20 minutes they complained about EVERYTHING they could think of. It was obvious they had the victim mentality.

A few of Lady #2's (mother of the partly naked girl) comments...and this was just a few:

*The schools are so bad, they ain't teachin my children nothing.

*I tell mine to go get a GED and start a trade, once they out, they ain't coming back.

*The cops think they is bad just cause they wear a uniform, all they want to do is put the kids in jail.

*It's crazy the rules they have to get a driver's license...my kids just gonna drive anyway...it don't matter.

*The government ain't doin nothing for the children, ain't no programs for the children.

*Everyone deserves a home, even single mothers deserve a home...we ain't got nothin here.

*The world ain't teachin our kids nothin no more. (oh yes, they are she just doesn't realize it)


Meanwhile Olivia was squeezing my arm so hard and her blood pressure was rising.

Lady #1 was the Amen corner and just kept adding fuel to the flames. The more they both talked, the more riled up they got!

Lady #2 starts in about the gas prices and the war, and how we should educate our children like the Chinese and Germans do. (Can you believe that?????)

Olivia was turning tomato red at this point and I had no feeling in my hand due to a lack of blood circulation.

THEN....Olivia finally pipes in...now I am turning red, and wondering if I am going to make it out of the building alive. She was kind and smiled while she began to question LADY #2, with questions that were loaded. They were questions that required more knowledge than you will receive on the evening news or Oprah. As soon as Olivia started quoting parts of the constitution, Lady #1 and Lady #2 settled right down and had little to say.

At that point Olivia had to leave the room for a few minutes to take care of something.

Lady #2 looked at me with BIG eyes, and said: "That's one smart girl, she makes you think, don't ever stop her from standing her ground...she shut me right down...uh huh...that be right!"

I breathed a BIG sigh of relief that I nor Olivia were going to be physically hurt. :o)

On the way home we were amazed by their 6 o'clock-liberal-media world view. Olivia said why should we conservative Christians be quiet? We need to be speaking up. We need to be asking them questions, make them think!

I know she is right. We should be confronting the culture, making them think, sharing Truth! If the few liberals can have their voice heard so loudly, why can't we conservatives be even louder and start making a difference, even if it cost us our comfort. I wonder if I would have been brave enough to put myself on the Mayflower?


Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12: 1-2

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pillars Fashioned as for a Palace


Let our... daughters be as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace;
Psalm 144

Think about how important the pillars of a palace are. Pillars hold the roof up and they connect the walls.

Think about the home. It is the woman that keeps it together, it is the domain God gave us. It is the woman that keeps everyone connected. There is a reason in Titus 2 that God says women are to be Keepers at Home, God designed us that way!

Right now my most pressing priority, other than serving my husband, is to make sure that my daughters are being fashioned for a palace. I want them strong in the faith so they can stand when the storms hit, so they can know truth from a lie, so they can share the Truth with others. I want them strong in academics so they can teach the next generation. I want them strong with practical skills to make their palace run smoothly and to be able to meet the needs of others. I want to encourage them to work on their inner beauty and not be caught up in vanity. There is so much for us to be doing to equip our daughters. Most of all, I need to be still and pray for them, and to lead by example, and THAT's the hard part!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More of Calvary Love

If dealing with one who does not respond,
I weary of the strain and slip from under the burden,
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

~ Amy Carmichael

Opportunities for Edification?


Words are so powerful! It is amazing how saying the simplest thing can bless someone (well it does me anyway). I have sold many Cake Decorating DVDs and I have some really good reviews. But most people you're not likely to hear from, unless they are disappointed. Yesterday, I received this in my inbox and it just made my day. Actually, to me it was worth more than the profit off the video!

I wonder how many opportunities for edification I miss giving out to someone that could really use an encouraging word?

***
Kathy,

We received your cake decorating DVD a couple weeks ago and watched
it two times. Today, we decorated our first cake since watching the
DVD and WOW! Our cake turned out fantastic. Usually the cakes we
make look VERY homemade. But, not this time! Grandpa is going to be
very pleased when he sees this birthday cake!

Thank you,

Carol and Sarah Lamb

Free Month of Movies

At Christmas a friend gave us 3 months of Netfix. This was one of the best gifts we've ever received. We don't watch much TV and I hate going into the video store. Netflix has over 90,000 movies to choose from and we've watched some fantastic documentaries. The choices are great, service is fast and in your mailbox, and NO LATE FEES! :o)

I have one free month to give away to the first person that leaves a comment saying they want it. You have to be a new to Netflix.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Sweetness of Fellowship

We've had a busy couple of days. Yesterday at church we had a missionary to Russia speak. I LOVE to hear form missionaries. I love to hear what is happening within the Church worldwide. It is so easy to be self consumed, especially in America. It is so easy to become complacent, so easy to neglect praying for lost.

Later in the day the church gathered at the Huie's home. Mrs. Huie is the Queen of Hospitality! The fellowship was sweet, lots of children, and enough babies to share. :o) Being part of a church is more than attending church on Sundays, it's also about fellowshipping outside the walls of the church.
Today (Memorial Day) Jeff had to work, then this evening we went to some friend's home. They have a 150 acer farm. It was quiet and relaxing. Again, sweet Christian fellowship.

Remembering Our Foundations

"Liberty is secured, sir, by the limitation of its [the government's] powers, which are clearly and unequivocally defined." — Francis Corbin in the Virginia Ratification Convention, 1788


As America remembers those who have offered the ultimate sacrifice for all of us, we would do well to remind ourselves of the truths upon which our nation was founded-truths for which millions of Americans have suffered or died. No enemy has been more vicious in undermining these truths, our foundations, than runaway Humanist/Reconstructionist judges, made safe from harm in their cozy courtrooms by our troops fighting for the very truths Reconstructionists oppose. Here is a brief summary of three such truths as expressed by some of America's Founders and other leaders.

Read the rest HERE!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Having a Vision

When I look back over my life, what I 'knew' I wanted as a teenager and what my goals were for a 'good' life in the early years of our marriage, compared to what I know and want now are night and day! I was never taught a Biblical world view, so everything I wanted revolved around ME! Every area of my life was what "I" thought was right and true.


My oh my, how God has gently brought me to the place that I examine everything through a Biblical set of glasses now, and I'm sure He has alot more to show me.

Probably about 10 years ago we came across Vision Forum. It TOTALLY revolutionized our way of thinking. I will be forever in debt to Doug Phillips' for his boldness. I only wish I had had the VISION, a Biblical world view when I was younger, but that too was God's choosing, as He is the One that gives us eyes to see.

I AM thankful that our children are growing up learning to examine their lives through God's Word and not whatever 'they think' is right.

Right now Vision Forum is running a 50% OFF special on a new video series they have released.

How do you teach a shy daughter to go outside of herself? How do you gain a passion for evangelism and effectively witness to the lost? How do you answer critics who pit Jamestown’s providential beginnings against Plymouth’s? How do you cultivate a spirit of honor in your children?

These and other important questions are answered in Vision Forum’s new Reclaiming the Culture DVD Collection. This engaging seven-part video series — which features messages by Ray Comfort, Doug Phillips, Dr. Paul Jehle, and Geoffrey, Anna Sofia, and Elizabeth Botkin — is designed to dispel worldly myths that undermine biblical womanhood, honor, evangelism, and America’s providential history and to recapture these priorities in a way that reflects God’s Word and gives hope to our children. Watch previews online of each of the seven videos in the Reclaiming the Culture Collection.

Save 50% on New DVD Collection — Offer Ends May 30

Now through Friday, May 30, you can purchase the Reclaiming the Culture DVD Collection, comprised of seven newly-released family DVDs, for just $52 (50% off individual retail). This comes to just $7.42 per DVD for this entire collection. Sale ends at Midnight, May 30, 2008 (CST).


Friday, May 23, 2008

The Ronald McDonald House


Olivia has been chairman of the 4-H Community Service Committee. The group did a donation dive for the Ronald McDonald House in Birmingham. Yesterday we delivered the donations which included a nice visa card! :o)

When we pulled up in front of the house there were a couple of young men sitting outside, it was very obvious they were worried fathers (or some relation). We have never had any encounter with the Ronald McDonald House before this drive, but when I saw the faces of those young men reality hit me. What a blessing to be able to have a room close to the hospital where your sick and sometimes dying baby is, at a very reasonable price. I think it is $10 a night.

Maybe in a season not too distant from now I can see myself pouring some time in there.

Mourn with Those Who Mourn



It is appropriate to mourn with those who mourn.

The Chapman family lost their precious 5 year old in a tragic accident. Although this was a surprise to them and everyone else, it was not to God. Our days are already numbered before we are born, not that that makes grief any easier. I think the most important thing to remember is that we need to live each day as if there is no tomorrow. The only way to do that with no regrets is to live to the glory of God.

The Chapman's little girl was adopted from China. This family was willing to live for the glory for God as they rescued this baby from a life in an orphanage to bring her into the family of God. Can you think of anything more honoring to God and rewarding?

May we especially pray for their 16 year old son, he is the one in real need of comfort and peace.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cleaning Curtains

I am amazed some times by the amount of dust that can gather in no time!

My Frugal Friday tip is:

To get the layer of dust that can mount on the top of your curtains off, simply throw them in the dryer for 15-20 minutes. No need to wash them, they probably aren't dirty, but just dusty. By not running them through the washer you are not adding to their fading or wearing.

Fight the Good Fight!

Yesterday the girls and I had to take my mother to the airport, she was going to Miami to visit my brother. We don't go onto the city much, maybe once a month, so when we do go we try to make a day of it. :o) We had alot of shopping to do. We just took our time and enjoyed our girl time out and about! It is really delightful when you kids are just about grown and they have good attitudes, it's part of enjoying that fruit!


At the spur of the moment we decided to go see a movie, Prince Caspian! We rarely go to the theater...MAYBE once a year (we do go to the drive-in a couple times during the summer)! So it was a real treat for the girls.The girls LOVED the movie!!! Personally, I don't like watching alot of fighting, and there is alot of it in the second half of the movie. But, then I realized that most of the Christian life is about battle, battle against our flesh and sin nature; battle against Satan. The last battle scene in the movie seemed to last forever (for me anyway), but isn't it like that in life? There are times when you are being hit from all sides and you see no end in sight and you feel forsaken by God? THEN... well I don't want to ruin the movie for you. :o) The movie has alot of symbolism, for which C.S. Lewis is known for. I think this one was just as good as The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Fight the good fight of faith;
take hold of the eternal life to which you were called...

1 Tim 6:12


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Calvary Love

If I am perturbed by the reproach and misunderstanding
that may follow action taken for the good of souls
for whom I must give account;


if I cannot commit the matter and go on in peace and in silence,
remembering Gethsemane and the cross,

then I know nothing of Calvary love.


~Amy Carmichael

How often to we share the gospel, or just live out the Christian life and people misunderstand us and we take offense or feel frustrated? How often do we plead with loved ones to turn to the Lord only for them to continue in the way of the transgressor, and we wring our hands in worry? If we could just simply share the truth in a spirit of love and leave the results at the foot of the cross and remember that it is all Him, and not us.

I love Amy Carmichael, her words are so convicting. If you do not have a copy of her little book If I strongly encourage you to get one.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Enjoying Some Fruit

I think we all plant seeds only to water, weed, prune, fertilize and hope to harvest good fruit. If not in the soil of the earth in the soil of our children's hearts, perhaps in both.


There are seasons in a parenting that you feel like all you do is fertilize and weed, you wonder if you if all this work will bring a good harvest. When growing plants your results are fairly quick, but when it comes to parenting it may be years, perhaps a generation before you'll see fruit, if any.

Now that our children are maturing we are beginning to enjoy some fruit. Our life is FAR from perfect, and not all of our children are bearing good fruit right now and with that comes GREAT heartache. It is easy to get caught up in the disappointments and struggles of life and feel sorry for yourself, at least for me it is.

Yesterday God poured out on me the overwhelming revelation that I am very blessed... unfortunately, I need to be reminded of that once in a while.

It was a rainy day, Emma was busy working on her lessons in the kitchen;
she is so self motivated now, it hasn't always been this way...

Olivia was hard at work documenting all her herb studies into an e-book; it was quiet in the house. I actually had time to read. :o)

It hasn't always been this way. Our home use to be a place with lots of dirty hands and loud voices, and I use to have to PUSH the school work to get it done. Of course the more people in the house the complicated things are. To be honest I miss those days. I long for our house to be busy with children again, but that is God's choosing. Instead of being discontent I am learning to enjoy the fruit of THIS season and being attentive to other ways to sow seeds.

After the school lessons were done Olivia wanted to head up to the Quilter's cottage and work on a quilt, I had one too, so off we went. We were the only ones there, and all three of us were busy working on our projects. It was a very pleasant day. Check out Olivia's quilt HERE!
You can see my current project HERE!

When we got home Olivia cooked supper, now there is some fruit worth enjoying, all those years of letting her experiment in the kitchen, and fussing on her to CLEAN IT UP is now paying off!!! :o)

Jeff and I had some quiet time alone while Emma cleaned the kitchen. OH MY!!! I walked into the kitchen to see it SPOTLESS. She stood there with a dirty apron on, looking at the kitchen and she said. "I love my life!" LOL!!!!! I was so incredibly blessed that she found satisfaction and joy in cleaning the kitchen! No, it is not always this way, and those that know Emma know she is the outdoors-y type, but she is also maturing into quite a homemaker and I am thankful! I hope she and Olivia will continue to embrace femininity and homemaking. They and their families will enjoy this fruit also!

So today, no matter which season you are in, try to find the good fruit in it, enjoy it. And for those of you that are enduring a hard season and suffering heartache, remember to trust in the Lord and this too shall pass! Continue to sow, water, fertilize and weed, for God has promised to bring a harvest to those of us that faint not!"









Mrs. Wilt's Review

Here is the review by Mrs. Wilt, who owns one of my favorite blogs, The Sparrow's Nest!

Review: If you want to know how to decorate lovely cakes for birthdays or special occasions and DON'T have the time or money to invest in taking Wilton classes, this is the product for you. I would have saved myself so much time and money if I had had this video when I first took classes. Here are some reasons I appreciate Kathy's video:

  • The video's organization. The video is divided into important areas of decorating knowledge: supplies needed, recipes for decorator frosting, decorating tips and their purposes, and more. The amount of information provided is just what you need to know in order to begin the process of cake decorating.
  • Kathy's pleasant speaking voice. Kathy is so likeable- from the first moment you hear her Alabama drawl. You will feel like you are in the kitchen cooking with a friend (albeit a very talented, experienced friend). :o)
  • The DVD format. The fact that you can review information when/as needed is crucial in learning good cake decorating skills. The DVD format makes that easy to do. If you can't remember how to do a perfect shell, simply return to that part of the DVD. If you need to jot down a recipe or list, pause the DVD. So helpful.
  • The close-ups. Seeing the piping bag so closely (as well as the angle at which it is held) is a huge plus over taking regular classes. Truthfully, I never saw my instructor's hand closely (I had to crane my neck to actually see my instructor at times), so seeing the "close-ups" really help to get your angle correct- which hugely impacts how your frosting appears.
  • The fact that Kathy herself "messes up"...and she shows you how to fix it. Oh, how I appreciated this! In my cake decorating classes, my instructor NEVER messed up- therefore, we never knew how to fix our mistakes! Kathy shows you how to repair dropped garlands and more. Cake decorating is an art, and even artists at times need to correct mistakes on their canvases. I appreciated Kathy showing how to correct those inevitable boo-boos, rather than pretending that everything always goes as planned (Note to novice cake decorators...it DOESN'T!). :o)

Now, for some additional information: If you are looking for tutelage on how to do everything when it comes to cake decorating, you will be severely disappointed. I've taken 3 classes, can make wedding cakes, and still don't know all there is to know! This video delivers what it promises: basic cake decorating skills. Cake decorating takes lots of practice, so be prepared to take time to learn! I think this is a fantastic video for "getting your feet wet", and it will have you easily creating lovely cakes for your family without the usual expense in getting started. :o)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Eager Hands

I had the pleasure of Mrs. Wilt from The Sparrow's Nest (one of my very favorite blogs!) interview me. Not only did she do an interview, she did a product review on my Basic Cake Decorating DVD. I truly value her review because she too bakes and decorates cakes. Her words were very kind and gracious!

I am posting the interview here, but you may want to hop on over to her blog for the comments that followed, which were a little surprising to me. How can anyone equate teaching practical skills or a love for home as a cult?


1. Kathy, it is a pleasure to be able to ask you some questions about your home business, Teaching Good Things? How did it all begin?

Thank you, Kelli, for giving me this time. My daughters and I are loyal readers of yours!

A few years ago my daughters (then 10 and 13) and I joined our local quilter's guild. We fell in love with quilting. We wanted to pass this skill on to our fellow homeschoolers, so I thought I'd write an easy to understand book for girls. A friend suggested I make a DVD instead. This started us on a course for our website and making DVDs on several different topics. After months of trial and error we produced our first DVD, Basic Cake Decorating.

We want our website to be a place where parents can come to find information and resources to help teach their children learn practical skills.

2. I totally agree that children need to be taught "good things" in order to become hard workers. How did you implement this in your own family?

I think the main thing is that we have never had a lot of money, and we have strong convictions that I need to be at home with the children and homeschool them. So I guess you could say our circumstances have made us be creative, and for that I am thankful!

My husband and I are pretty industrious people, so our children really had no choice. We didn't allow for a lot of idle time. Even now that our two youngest are in their teens their idle time is limited, mainly by their choice. We want them to always have a project to be working on. Sometimes the project may be a way to make gifts or to make money and sometimes it is a way to serve others.

As a family, if we want something done, if at all possible, we do it ourselves, whether it is repairs, improvements or gift giving. There is such satisfaction in being able to do things for yourself. I think if we were to become extremely wealthy we would still do as much as we could ourselves.

3. I really enjoyed viewing your cake decorating video. Tell us about what other products Teaching Good Things has to offer.

We just released our Basic Crochet DVD which walks you through all the basic stitches, how to read a pattern, how to make a Granny Square, a dishcloth and a scarf.

Our next video will be about How to Make and Sell Your Own Bath Products. Our quilting video is in the works along with How to Make Your Own Wedding Cake and Canning the Harvest! There will also be videos for the boys that my husband is working on, such as; Building Birdhouses and Bird Feeders and The Young Man’s Home Maintenance Course.

We also offer summer day camps for girls to learn domestic skills and boys to learn carpentry skills. Summer is a great time to learn the life skills that they will need to be a productive adult.

4. As a mother of boys, I am concerned at times with teaching them work ethic. I look around and see so many teenage boys with a "slacker" mentality today. What can I do as a parent to discourage this prevalent attitude with my boys?

The number one thing parents need to do is PRAY! There is no formula to insure that our children will not grow up to be slackers. I cannot stress that enough!

Second, our job as parents is to teach our children as we walk along side them. Our children learn more from what we ‘DO’ than what we ‘say’. They will learn as they watch us as we carry out our responsibilities; are we through? Do we complain about our duties? Does our attitude stink? Do we look for ways to meet the needs of people around us? I think these are the two most important things to do! Pray and walk our talk!

I honestly believe that while children are very young they want to please their parents. They want to be given tasks and know they are doing a good job. I think parents make big mistakes when they push Jr aside and clean up the mess themselves instead of teaching Jr how to clean it up WITH them. It may not be done perfectly when little hands are doing the job, but when they are young we must first train their attitude. Let them take responsibility and help, and then praise them. When they are not looking, go back and do it 'right'. Encouragement is the way to lead children; criticism is the best way to push them away.

5. Although we haven't been blessed with a daughter yet, I want to be prepared! :o) Can you list 3 ways we can prepare our daughters to be effective helpmeets in the future?

As wives and mothers we need to respect, love and adore their dad, in word, expression and deed. This is the most important aspect of family life. If you make a mess of everything else, but you love and respect their dad, they will be just fine! Encourage them to find ways to do special things for their dad while he is gone to work. As women (young and old) of the house, our day should include thoughts of how we can make it easier for him to be known in the gates. Do his socks match? Does he have clean clothes? Is his food ready when he is? Rub his feet. Meet him at the door and try to smile. The smallest things mean so much.

Be a keeper at home by staying at home as much as possible. Teach them to love homemaking, which really is an issue of the heart more than the d├ęcor and menu. Help them understand that making a home for the family and guest to feel comfortable, safe and welcome should be of high priority. Home is where needs are met. We cannot meet needs when we are physically not at home. What is even worse is when we are not home emotionally. Our hearts can be caught up in outside 'ministries' and miss our God given responsibility that brings forth much fruit. Constantly remind them that loving others through our home is pleasing to God. (Titus 2:5)

Equip them with skills to be frugal and efficient. In my opinion this is just as important as any academic subject, and in some ways more important. This takes many years, and a lot of us moms are learning right along side our daughters, and that is OK, we have to start somewhere. Don’t put homemaking on the back burner thinking you’ll teach that later. It needs to be taught everyday.

6. Finally, as a mother of children who are preparing to leave the nest, can you give a word of encouragement to those of us who have little ones we are just beginning to teach?

Raising children for the glory of God is a wonderful way to impact the world! Never take it lightly! Again, as I said earlier, prayer is the most important thing to do. Also, let us not boast in ourselves, but know all we do is by grace alone. We are to be faithful to love and train them, God is responsible for the results.

Include you children in everything you do from shopping to mopping the floors. Start out slowly, not expecting perfection. Be VERY selective in what outside activities, even ministries to take part in. Time with our children is so short, although it may not feel like it on a bad day. Love them, play with them, and teach them to be givers, not takers. Just take one day at a time, and enjoy them because before you know it they will be teaching the next generation! I honestly believe we make life too complicated thinking we have to do it all, and have it all. More than anything, know our total dependence is on Christ alone!

NOTE: I had the pleasure to review Kathy's outstanding Cake Decorating DVD and will be posting a review on Monday. You won't want to miss it!

Thank you, Kathy, for being so gracious to chat with us! If you would like to know more about the Brodock family and their passion for this work, click HERE to go to Teaching Good Things!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Personal Responsibility VS Self

A very important character trait that we stress in our home is personal responsibility, which covers everything from picking up after yourself to not playing the blame game. As an adult I am still trying to learn this and by no means have we arrived.

This is really a tough one to teach because by nature we are pretty lazy, selfish people. No one likes to eat humble pie. We have a generation (or two) now where the majority have not been taught personal responsibility. Just look at the courts with dockets full of bankruptcy cases, no fault divorce cases, and people will sue at the drop of a hat if they think they'll get alittle something from it. It's always someone else's fault and we are the helpless victims. We even blame our parenting and marital problems on our parents lack of... whatever!

How often do we correct a child for saying or doing something they shouldn't, and they say, "Well he (or she) made me do it"? And we become frustrated as we explain yet again, "It doesn't matter what he did, YOU are not to_____ (hit, say ugly names, etc...)". Stressing personal responsibility!

The problem here is SELF. Self never wants to admit they are wrong, and IF they are wrong it is someone else's fault. Self never wants to say I'm sorry. Self must always look good infront of others. Self shall never be offended. ugh!

WE as parents need to teach our children to die to self so that SELF is crucified with Christ and they can grow up to be humble, kind, loving, CHRIST like people. The most effective way to teach this is to LIVE IT each day before them!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Garden Tea

Olivia and Emma hosted a Garden Tea to promote Olivia's bath products that she is making.
She is using a Southern Belle theme (big surprise...right?), so Belles and Teas just go together.

She dressed for the occasion to present her products.

She and Emma worked all week in the yard, and then they labored all day on the food.

I made some cloth napkins, and then just stayed out of their way.
Not that I didn't want to help, but this is something 'they' wanted to pull off.
And they did a GREAT job.

Although at a Tea you should serve hot tea, it was a bit warm and humid today so
they served Lemonade and Iced Tea,
after all we do live in the south! ;o)



Sandwiches cut with a heart cookie cutter and garnished with roses from our neighbor's yard.


Crackers and dip served in small clay pots.
The pots are lined with plastic wrap.

Mini cupcakes, with Cream Cheese Icing,
garnished with wild flowers and a small piece of chocolate bar.




Cucumber wedges with cream cheese and dill.



Strawberries and whipped cream, garnished with a small mint leaf.

Small cake with raspberry filling and Cream Cheese Icing,
surrounded with pralines.

Here are some carrot and celery sticks in the small flower pots, along with the dip.
Also pictured: fruit platters, mints and chocolate covered pretzels.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mother's Day Dilemma

OK, am I the only one that struggles with, 'What to give Mom for Mother's Day'? Or any holiday/event as far as that goes. What's even harder is, 'What to give Grandma!' By this stage in life they have everything they need and pretty much want. I am always at a loss. I like to give meaningful gifts but I'm running out of original ideas.

While I wandered around Wal Mart feeling pretty depressed about the whole situation, I noticed that they offer a 4x6 hardcover photo book that is made in MINUTES! I took the pictures from last weekend of the girls in their Southern Belle outfits that I had edited at home (to make them look better! lol), I already had them on my flash drive and had them made into a 10 page book. You can even add text and edit the pictures more while you are there.

These are perfect! I mailed one to the grandmas out of state, and have one here waiting for my mother in a basket of sugar free candy (she just found out her glucose levels are high), and I'll have the girls write her a special letter of appreciation.

They were less than $8 a piece! Frugal and meaningful!

For more frugal tips visit Biblical Womanhood

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Boy OH BOY!

God created boys with special hormones so that they will be able to carry out their dominion mandate to subdue. They have naturally inquiring minds that leave mothers baffled at times. Most boys want to know how things work, they want to solve problems and explore the world around them. Parents need to be careful to balance time in the school books with time to physically work. Boys need to sweat and feel like they have accomplished something every day. This is important for their growth and self respect.

I don't think that there has been a mother that hasn't shaken her head in confusion and amazement at the way boys think. When boys are home under mom's wing all day and not able to use their God given design to work and solve problems, both mom and son can become frustrated.

As sons get older some (most) have a hard time receiving instruction from 'a woman', even if that woman is Mom. As much as possible have Dad give him his instructions for the day or week that he expects to be accomplished. Of course Dad's first instruction for his son is to obey and respect mother! It's not so much about what the task is, as it is who it is coming from.

Ways to help sons develop their abilities:

* Have Dad make a list of 'Guy Jobs', more than just taking out the garbage. :o) Look around your house and yard, are there things your son(s) can be doing after the school work is done?

* Give him projects that will help him develop his ability to solve problems.

Does the garage need cleaning and organizing?
Can rocks be lifted for a new flower bed?
Can he have a garden that is his responsibility?
Do the bicycles need maintenance, tires pumped?
Are there squeaky hinges that need WD-40?
Can he build a fort?
Buy a fun type of science book with easy experiments.
Tell him he has to do one experiment a week.
Complicated paper airplane books are great!

* Get the grandfathers involved; do they have any suggestions of things he could be doing?

* Are there other men in the church or community who could help mentor him one day a week or one day a month?

* Have him find his own ministry project that he can focus on. Every community has people in need.

The point is to keep his hands and mind busy! Help him avoid the bad habit of laziness. Boys are much more capable than we give them credit for.

A couple of weeks ago we came across this GREAT program. It is
3D Shed and Shop Designer You can use it FREE for 2 weeks. It is only $30 if you choose to buy it. It's a great way for boys to learn a little about building and design.

We have some really cool sites listed under Manly Skills on our website. Your sons can learn all kinds of things about tools and cars. There are a couple of great interactive sites showing how a car is put together and runs. Again, THIS is how a boy's mind works.

Turn them loose and let them use their minds and endless energy the way God designed them!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Finding Financial Freedom

There is a constant buzz about our economy, and it isn't good. Whether we are in prosperous or difficult times we all have a responsibility to be good stewards of what God has entrusted us with.

My friend Kelly has just released a new e-book about Finding Financial Freedom. She and her husband were once deep in debt. You can read her practical advice for how you too can achieve this financial freedom.

(From the intro...)\

"Four years ago I sat with my head buried in my hands, crying, and feeling like we were in a hopeless financial state. We couldn't pay all our bills, creditors harassed me endlessly throughout the day, and we were expecting our fourth child. We were $32,000 deep in credit card debt...

As I sit typing this book, the tears have long subsided, and I am thrilled to report that in under three years, we are approaching the final payoff of all our credit card debt--and that without my leaving home to work!"

"Finding Financial Freedom has the

insight of a text book, the personality of

a chat over coffee, and the motivation of

a live seminar."

It's the perfect combination for changing the course of your finances!

For the price you would pay for a pizza,
you can be on the fast lane to financial freedom!


Finding Financial Freedom has 22 easy-to-read pages full of practical ways to get out of debt and improve your financial health. This ebook comes with a printable budget form for easily tracking income and spending, and a "debt pay-off" form for watching your debts disappear!

You can get your copy of this book HALF PRICE only until this Friday!





Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Encourager Award!

I would like to give an Encouragement Award to one of my blog buddies. She and her husband always leave an encouraging word on my blog and on Olivia's blog. In a day when people are so quick to judge hearts and criticize, it is uplifting and encouraging to hear (or read) a kind word. :o) Words can make a difference in our day and our life. We can encourage people to press on towards the high mark or we can tear them down and hurt them.

Dana and her husband have two daughters and I'm sure they will grow up to be Godly women who always find the good in others!

Thank you Dana, and Fuzzy's Dad for always being an encouragement to ME!

P.S. Dana, tell your hubby hopefully Olivia will get back to blogging soon. She (we) have been way too busy!

Monday, May 5, 2008

With ALL Diligence

From our family reading last night:

Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.

Put away from you a deceitful mouth
And put devious speech far from you.

Let your eyes look directly ahead
And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.

Watch the path of your feet
And all your ways will be established.

Do not turn to the right nor to the left;
Turn your foot from evil.

Proverbs 4:23-27

Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. All of Scripture is powerful, but last night this verse brought on a good conversation about keeping your heart with "ALL DILIGENCE".

Dil"i*gence\, n.

1. The quality of being diligent; carefulness; careful attention; -- the opposite of negligence.

2. Interested and persevering application; devoted and painstaking effort to accomplish what is undertaken; assiduity in service.

-Webster's Revised Dictionary

This Proverb is for all of us, especially for the young. As our children become wiser and gain more independence, they begin to question, "Did God really say...?" Especially those brought up in Christian homes, they will wonder and question, and that is good. We want them to be able to THINK on their own. They need to sometimes wrestle with the Holy Spirit so that their convictions are THEIR convictions.

As our oldest child is wrestling with the Holy Spirit, and we watch our two youngest changing into women before our very eyes, I just want to say to them CONSTANTLY, "Watch over your heart with all diligence!!!!!!!!" There is so much that pulls at them. So much that says "Come over here, I'll make you happy, I'll make you beautiful, I'll make you popular, I'll make you important, etc..."

In the beginning of this chapter (Proverbs 4) it says:

My children, listen to me.
Listen to your father's instruction.

Pay attention and grow wise, for I am giving you good guidance.
Don't turn away from my teaching.

For I, too, was once my father's son,
tenderly loved by my mother as an only child.

My father told me, "Take my words to heart.
Follow my instructions and you will live.

Learn to be wise, and develop good judgment.
Don't forget or turn away from my words.

The sad truth is they don't always listen to their parent's instruction, just as we don't always obey our Heavenly Father, and THAT is when you have to remember that God is faithful to finish what He has begun in them (and us).

The only way to keep your heart with all diligence is to WORK at it, painstakingly devote yourself to the Lord, die to yourself and live for Him. Then and only then will you have true beauty, true peace, true importance in this world. Watching over your heart doesn't just happen, you have to work at it!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Olivia

Anyone that knows Olivia KNOWS that southern history is one of her deepest passions.

She believes that it is her personal responsibility to educate everyone she comes in contact with true history!!!
If you dare to watch the evening news with Olivia in the room be prepared for lots of HEAVY sighs of frustration, outburst of aggravation with arms waving as she stomps out of the room...ranting!

We try to keep her away from the TV during the politically correct news hour!
This is for the sake of others in the house and her blood pressure!
And I won't tell you what it is like living with her during election years ,
I just ask you pray for us!

She loves to talk history and politics, even to the point that at all cost, her friends try to stay off the topic of current events.
Emma will warn people, "Pleeeeease don't get her going!" lol...

She believes women have a powerful roll in building God's Kingdom as they help their husbands be known in the gates and as they nurture and educate future statesmen. :o) She agrees with the saying, 'Behind every good man is a good woman.'

She believes and lives out the truth that God made man and woman very different,
they are equal, yet have different purposes.
She LOVES being a lady, she rejoices in being feminine.

It is amazing how God has given her a heart of wisdom. Her of love for the south and truth, even though ALL of her family are Northerners is downright hilarious sometimes! lol Well, except for her little sis, Emma. They were both born in the south and Olivia claims hold of that with all her being! lol... Can you say "Tara!!!" (from Gone with the Wind)

P.S. The spot on her left cheek is a sign of a real southern lady...POISON IVY from working in a flowerbed!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Emma




Have I Missed It All???

"Have I missed it all?" or "Guess it is
too late now to get in on the Ultimate Homeschool Expo, huh?"

NO! This is one great perk about the UHSE! It goes on and on and
on! Yes, today is our last "official" day of recording live-well,
but in the next few weeks we will be recording make-up sessions for
a few speakers and sessions for some of our new vendors. It is NOT
over!

Oh! Even when the last session is recorded, THIS convention is
very, very different than those in your neighborhoods:

- You can access every session by downloadable audio for years to
come (at YOUR convenience).
- You can access a full library of ebooks, articles, studies, and
printable pages.

It is NOT too late! So, grab your ticket today! Price will be the
same $40 until July 1st--then, it will be $99.95 for the entire UHSE
2008 Package.

Save NOW! You will LOVE IT! Plus...you can join us LIVE
today! Here is your link to order:

EXPO!

Hospitality and More Cake Pictures

Last night we had a little get-together at a friend's house and had a WONDERFULLY relaxing time. The older children kept an eye on the little ones, the men gathered in the kitchen (isn't this one of their favorite rooms? lol) and the ladies gathered on the screened in porch and laughed the evening away! What a blessing to have fellowship where you can relax and be yourself and where the children (ranging from 2-18) know how to be kind, get a long and look out for each other!

Sometimes we can get all caught up in 'having company over', get the house spotless, yard manicured and a huge spread of food and miss the whole point of hospitality! Our fiends served a nice salad and had Dominos Pizza. All of which freed her up to (at least appear) to be rested and relaxed. I know personally I can cook all day and be too tired to TRULY enjoy my company! Yes, their house was clean and beautiful, the food was good, but most memorable was the relaxed, comfortable attitudes. And I for one appreciated an evening to have girl talk and LAUGH!

Thank you dear friends!

I finally posted some new pictures on my CAKE BLOG, I wonder if I will ever have time to QUILT again???


Friday, May 2, 2008

Free or Cheap Platters

Because I do some catering, decorate cakes and practice a good bit of hospitality I am always looking for neutral platters such as white, silver or glass. Most of the time the actual platter will be covered with lettuce leaves or something like that.

Someone was tossing out a BIG, glass plate from a microwave. I thought, 'That would be great for a vegetable platter!' I actually used that last week for a wedding cake I made. The outer lip was pretty level with the rest of the plate so it was perfect!

Then yesterday our microwave went out, we tossed it away AFTER I took the glass plate out of it! I remember seeing these 'platters' quite often at the thrift store for about $2.

For more frugal tips check out Biblical Womanhood.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Are You Free?

We started homeschooling over 15 years ago. We had taken our oldest (my step-daughter), out of the government school system half way through her 4th grade year. That first semester was a miserable time, not because of her, but because of ME! I remember making her sit at a desk and drilling her on EVERYTHING, EVERY question had to be answered on EVERY page. It was awful! We both cried so much. That summer I was a nervous wreck because I was going to have to teach our next child how to read, I was so overwhelmed and scared. Jeff’s confidence in me and constant encouragement got me trough many nights of worrying. God, by His mercy, slowly led me to the right materials to teach Joshua how to read. I was so blown away that *I* could actually teach him something so important.

Over those first years we struggled with curriculum choices and schedules. Because we had four children I needed to make the best of my time and we fell in love with unit studies. We have relaxed so much that now ‘doing school’ is enjoyable and so much more relevant. We only have one child left at home that is ‘doing school’. She has a certain amount of book work that has to be done each week, but the majority of her lessons are learned in real life. We have a couple of home industries, she goes to help her dad with his work a lot and we are very involved in our community. I have no doubt that she learns more as we go about our day and ask questions, than she would if we just did book work. When I see that she has an interest in something I make sure we pursue that topic in other forms.

Our third child, Olivia, is graduating this month, although she really does not like to call it a graduation, because as she sees it, her life will not be changing any, she will continue to do the things she is doing. She is a serious reader and loves to learn. She will take classes that interest her, look for ways to minister to other people and pursue some home industries.

Olivia has stared a home business making bath products. She is learning so much, marketing, packaging, quality control, money management, costumer satisfaction, deadlines, web design, venues, and so on! There is a difference between learning ABOUT something in a book and then actually doing it!

This is the e-book she was inspired by:
Home educating our children has been one of the most important decisions we have made as parents and learning how to relax and embrace learning has been just as important. I wish I could get those first years back when I was so uptight and making all of us miserable, but I can’t. If I could give any advice to new home educators it would be to quit looking at the flawed government school system and start enjoying the learning process. There are countless opportunities every day right before us, we just need to be free enough to seize them.

Teaching our children to read, write and do math is very important, but so is equipping our children with the skills to be well rounded adults. They NEED more than book knowledge. They need to know how to do things with their hands and they need to know how to engage people of all ages. As parents let’s make sure that we are free enough to give our children life skills, along with the academics to make them useful for God’s kingdom!