Friday, September 28, 2012

We Choose Virtues - Product review and giveaway!

For the last 6 months or so we have been using the wonderful character education program, We Choose Virtues.  There are 12 "virtueville kids" that each demonstrate one of the 12 virtues: obedient, kind, helpful, honest, diligent, gentle, patient, content, forgiving, self-controlled, attentive, perseverant.  Each virtue also has a saying, an antonym, and bible verse to go with the virtueville kid story.

My kids have loved this, and so have I!  Each week we spend some of our calendar time during school talking about the virtue and memorizing the verse.  I will catch them saying "I'm being a helper, I'm Hat Matt!" or "I'm Oboe Joe cause I'm being obedient."  In addition to the parenting cards, we also purchased the "3 rules" poster which include: 1. Obey 2. Be Kind 3. Be a Helper.  This has really simplified things in our house and it's these three things that we pray about at breakfast and bed time each day.  We will be using this awesome resource for years to come!

And now for something fun!  I have a set of virtue flashcards to give away to one lucky person!  This include 12 cards (each virtue on front) with saying, antonym, and verse on the back.  The image below is what they look like.  Just leave a comment and I will pick someone at random on Wednesday (Oct 3rd) to win!  Good luck!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Making Babies - Product review

Making Babies, by Shoshanna Easling is a wonderful series that walks you through steps you can take to have a healthy pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum stage of your life.  I was blessed to be able to review this resource for free (retails $110)!

I was surprised when I received the materials by how HUGE the book was!  At 480 beautiful pages, it was overwhelming at first.  Most of the pictures are of Shoshanna - pregnant or with her children, or of the food/herbs she is talking about.  They are very bright, cheerful and well done.  After looking through it, I started to approach the book as a cookbook of sorts.  A cookbook for a healthy pregnancy and life.  There are meal recipes, herbal remedy recipes, tinctures, creams, oils and exercises.

The book itself is organized to follow the 3 companion DVD's.  These DVD's are split into fertility/1st trimester, 2nd & 3rd trimester/birth, and postpartum.  Each DVD contains video clips of Shoshanna talking about or making the items that are detailed in the book.  She is VERY energetic!  The birth of Shoshanna's daughter is also included on one of the DVD's (I'm a sucker for a good birth video!)

After these 3 DVD sections there are even more recipes, tips, and a journal section for your pregnancy and baby included in the book.

This is a wonderful resource for expecting women who want to be and stay as healthy as possible.  Even without being pregnant, I found some great recipes that I am excited to try!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Simple Living: 30 Days to Less Stuff and More Life - Product Review

Simple Living: 30 Days to Less Stuff and More Life is a wonderful eBook that has just been released today! I was blessed to receive an early copy to preview and read through the entire thing in one sitting - it was that good!   

The author, Lorilee Lippincott, has also written the eBook 3-2-1 Stop: Stop Running and Start Living about learning to love simple living.  In it she tackles material clutter, over commitment, time, money, and other areas of clutter and stress that crowd out the life we want to live.  All while honoring God with the blessings he has given us.  It was this book (and the book Almost Amish) that prompted my recent purge of about 40% of our possessions! 

Simple Living: 30 Days is a companion, so to speak, to her first book - breaking down the adventure into simple living in 30 easy (and not so easy) tasks.  Each task takes 30-60 minutes to complete and ranges from clearing your counters to dreaming about the life you want.   The tasks are totally do-able and thought provoking.  There are even extra assignments thrown in to really help you get closer to your goals.  Everything in this book is also centered on glorifying God with our possessions, time, and money.

If you have ever dreamed of a simpler life but didn't know where to start - this is the course for you!  The eBook retails for $2.99 - but this week only you can get it on Amazon for $.99!! What a steal!  Go now - get this book!  It will change your life.

I Will Rise - Chris Tomlin

Looking forward to no more sorrow, no more pain.  But in the meantime - I have peace in knowing that Jesus has overcome and the victory is won.  So, then and now, I will rise!

There's a peace I've come to know 
Though my heart and flesh may fail 
There's an anchor for my soul 
I can say "It is well" 

Jesus has overcome 
And the grave is overwhelmed 
The victory is won 
He is risen from the dead 

And I will rise when He calls my name 
No more sorrow, no more pain 
I will rise on eagles' wings 
Before my God fall on my knees 
And rise 
I will rise 

There's a day that's drawing near 
When this darkness breaks to light 
And the shadows disappear 
And my faith shall be my eyes 

Jesus has overcome 
And the grave is overwhelmed 
The victory is won 
He is risen from the dead 

And I will rise when He calls my name 
No more sorrow, no more pain 
I will rise on eagles' wings 
Before my God fall on my knees 
And rise 
I will rise 

And I hear the voice of many angels sing, 
"Worthy is the Lamb" 
And I hear the cry of every longing heart, 
"Worthy is the Lamb" 

And I will rise when He calls my name 
No more sorrow, no more pain 
I will rise on eagles' wings 
Before my God fall on my knees 
And rise 
I will rise

Monday, September 17, 2012

Unashamed Love - Ten Shekel Shirt

Whenever I hear this song I have to stop, sing, and more often than not - cry.  Lord you are worthy!

You're calling me to lay aside the worries of my day
To quiet down my busy mind and find a hiding place
Worthy, Worthy
I open up my heart and let my spirit worship Yours
I open up my mouth and let a song of praise come forth
Worthy, You are worthy
Of a child-like faith
And of my honest praise
And of my unashamed love
Of a holy life
And of my sacrifice
And of my unashamed love

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Our First Azure Order!

At 8:15 this morning we pulled into a large parking lot and were greeted by a huge semi truck containing our order!  We got it home, hauled in the boxes and opened them up to find this:
Chicken, hamburger, tortillas in the front. Case of chicken broth, pistachios, case of canned chicken, case of coconut milk in the next row.  Case of salsa, case of canned olives, 10lb bag of white wheat flour, case of canned mushrooms in the next row.  A 25lb bag of jasmine rice, and a 25lb bag of kidney beans in the back!

I am so excited that I don't have to buy any of this stuff at the grocery store now, and I'm saving money doing it!  You can read more about how Azure Standard works here.  We need some more members in the Yelm area to guarantee the truck will come to our drop site each month (we need $550 min. per month in orders), so get on board!  If you're not in Yelm, there is probably a drop site near you!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Keanan and legos

For his 4th birthday we gave Keanan legos.  Not just a few legos or a little set, ALL the legos that Zac had acquired growing up.  A TRUNK FULL of legos.   This boy (and his Dad) have been in heaven ever since.  Every day he spends nap time (about 2 hours) and time with Dad before bed building with legos.  We can see his brain working as he creates things - it is so cool!

Here is an example of Keanan and Zac's lego craziness.  Zac designed this "condo" and Keanan built most of it.  There are 3 removable stories - with lego furniture!  A future engineer on our hands?  I think maybe!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hope Now - Addison Road

Your love sets me free!  Amen!!

If everything comes down to love
Then just what am I afraid of
When I call out Your name
Something inside awakes in my soul
How quickly I forget I'm Yours

I'm not my own
I've been carried by You
All my life

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free
[ Lyrics from: ]
When my life is like a storm
Rising waters all I want is the shore
You say I'll be ok and
Make it through the rain
You are my shelter from the storm

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free

I am not my own
I've been carried by you my whole life

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow
When the world has broken me down
Your love sets me free
(Repeat 2x)

You've become my hearts desire
I will sing Your praises higher
Cause Your love sets me free
Your love sets me free
Your love sets me free

Friday, September 7, 2012

Almost Amish - book review

A month or so ago I received a surprise package from my Aunt and Uncle in Virginia.  It was the book, Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth. They know that I am fascinated with the Amish traditions and lifestyle, we had talked about it when Zac and I stayed with them for a week about 5 years ago.

Aren't they a cute family?!

The tagline for this book is "one woman's quest for a slower, simpler, more sustainable life".  Sounded good to me, so I dove in.  This book has ended up changing our family.  As a result of this, and another book I am reading at the same time about minimalism, I am purging our house of close to 50% of our possessions.  I crave the simple, slower pace of the Amish lifestyle.  No, I don't want to be Amish (I like my electricity thank you very much) - I want to be almost Amish!  

We are also desiring to build a greater sense of community by opening up our home for others to live upstairs - a shared living experience.   We are striving to invest our time building positive, encouraging relationships with those around us.

I was also convicted about how we spend the Lord's day - the Sabbath.  We go to church, but then it ends up being like any other day.  If God needed to slow down and rest on the 7th day, then I definitely do!  We have decided to focus on our family on this day - playing games, reading books, going on walks, taking naps, etc.  I will NOT even open my computer on Sunday's.  We all just need to chill.

So many other bits of wisdom from this book.  I will be reading it over and over, I'm sure!  Highly recommend it.

Thank you Deatherage's for the well timed gift!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Azure Standard

Through some of my blog reading I have come across a new way to save money while still purchasing quality whole food, through a little company in Dufur, Oregon called Azure Standard.

How it works
Azure Standard is like an online co-op store.  You create an account and call them to find out where the nearest drop site is to you (they are all over the US).  They give you the contact info and you call the person in charge of your drop site to get the info about where and when orders come in.  They give you a drop number that you use on your order so all the stuff comes to you.  The minimum order amount is $50 and the total of all the orders for each drop site needs to be at least $550 (that's for ALL the families putting in orders that month from your site TOTAL) or the truck (big refrig. semi) won't stop there and your order will be put on hold till next month (as long as the total for the site gets to $550).

They have EVERYTHING!  This is good quality food way cheaper than I would get at our local co-op, and some stuff is even cheaper than I would get at Safeway.  Now, if I was to buy all the cheapest (but not nearly as good for you) stuff at my local grocery store, than Azure would cost more.  But we believe that eating food isn't  just about filling a hole.  Eating food is about providing our bodies with all of the right nutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fats.  It's really hard to do that with all the cheap, not so good for you stuff at the grocery store.

After some budget juggling and conversation, Zac and I decided it was time to buy bulk foods for our family.  There are certain things that I buy all the time, and it was going to save money to get them in bulk.  Why not costco?  I am confident about the quality of the Azure products, and while I know you can get good stuff at Costco, not all of it is that great.  There is also no member ship fee with Azure and I'm not tempted to get a bunch of stuff I don't need since I'm not physically walking through the store.

While we are trying to go minimal with everything else in our house, food is a different story.  

Check it out!  There is probably a drop site near you!  If you are in the Yelm area let me know and I can get you the contact for our drop supervisor - but orders have to be in this Friday for the September shipment, so hurry!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Back to Homeschool!

Actually, we do school all year....but the public schools around us all went back to school today!  So here is a glimpse at my students this year =)

Keanan, age 4

Kyla, age 2 1/2

Happy Back To School!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Open Me - Shaun McDonald

LOVE Shaun McDonald - way back to the days when he was the musician for Young Life camp when I was leading one year =)

Would You open up eyes, so I can see
Would You open up my ears, so I can hear
Would You open up my mind, so I can know
Would You open up my heart, so could love You more
I want to serve You, my God
I want to give everything
I want to serve You, my King, yeah
I want to serve You, my Lord
I want to give You everything, yeah
Here I am with my arms open wide
Asking for You to come up, up inside
Won't You make me new, won't You make me true
Jesus, won't You make me like You, oh
Will You touch my eyes so I can see
Will You touch my ears so I can hear
Will You touch my mind so I can know
Will You touch my heart so I can love You more
Won't You open me
Won't You open me, open me
Won't You open me, open me
Won't You open me, open me
Won't You open me, open me

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Our Alphabet Trip Around the State: Letters D, E, K, P, R, Q, Z

The last few weeks have been VERY busy for our family!  In that time we were able to knock off a bunch of letters from our list.

While I was teaching a childbirth class one Saturday Zac took the kids and Yukari to Mt. Rainier national park (R - Rainier).  They had lots of fun and even got to play in some snow!  Yukari could get over how BIG the mountain was =)

We spent a weekend camping with Nana and Grandpa at Ocean Shores (P = pacific ocean) where Keanan also got to fly a kite on the beach (K = kite) - no picture of that one though.

Keanan, Zac, and Grandpa also took a trip up to the Quinault Rainforest (Q = Quinault) and saw some of the largest evergreen trees in the world (E = evergreen).  The picture is Keanan and the world's largest sitka spruce tree!

Wednesday we wrapped up our ladies summer bible study with a trip to Point Defiance Zoo! (Z = zoo)  This was Kyla's first visit to the zoo and both she and Keanan loved every minute.  I was extremely impressed with the outdoor adventure show that the zoo put on during lunch time.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures, so we'll have to go back! =)

Yesterday we found a HUGE dragonfly in our driveway!  It held still so we could take a picture =)  (D = dragonfly)
More fun to come!