Hey, It's Jade!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Oh My, Let's Do It!

So, I just started reading a book called Home-Ec 101: Skills for Everyday Living after stumbling upon the author's blog.  I have been doing this stay-at-home-mom/homemaker thing for over a year now and I still don't feel like I have a good handle on it.  Specifically the household chores part.  There is stuff that I just don't think about, know about... or care about.  But, I need to get on the ball!

Homemakers Challenge - 31 Days to CleanWell, I'm only up to the fourth chapter of that book*, and then I stumbled across this e-Book called 31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way and found out there is a challenge starting up on May 1st (um, tomorrow!).  So, headfirst... I'm diving in.  Hopefully this will help motivate me to stay after my house a little better.  I don't have any excuse any more for the dust and dirt to pile up, the laundry to go unfolded and all that... here's hoping having a blog challenge set before me will get my butt up from couch (and AWAY from the blog, funny enough) long enough to get my house in order!  Feel free to join me!  The e-Book is only $4.99 on Amazon (and you don't have to have an e-Reader to read it!).  Let's do it!  (You can click on the image above to find out more about the blogging challenge.)

* Home-Ec 101 has been incredibly inspiring and informative and I fully intend to continue reading and learning from it as well.  The author has a hilarious sense of humor (and references all kinds of 80's and 90's trivia, so it's right up my alley!), plus she really breaks down things so that you understand WHY and HOW of it all.  And I'm only on the fourth chapter so far!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

National Day of Prayer and Mosaic Bible Giveaway (Closed)

A week from today, on Thursday, May 5th, 2011, the country will hold it's 60th observance of the National Day of Prayer.  My church, Grace Fellowship Church in Grand Prairie, Texas, will be having a special service at 7pm that evening.  I invite you to attend if you are in the area, joining our congregation as well as city leaders and other area churches for one hour of worship and praying over our leaders, communities and families.

Also, in honor of that day coming up, I thought I would do a giveaway here on my blog.  I was sent a coupon for a free Holy Bible: Mosaic NLT from Tyndale House Publishers. I actually won it as a prize, but I want to pass it on to bless someone else!  This looks like a really neat Bible, though!  Would make a great Mother's Day gift!

Hard Cover, 2009
From Inside the Flap: "Encounter Christ on every continent and in every century of Christian History. A new genre of Bible--a weekly meditation Bible--Holy Bible: Mosaic is an invitation to experience Christ both in His word and in the responses of his people. Each week, as you reflect on guided Scripture readings aligned with the church seasons, you will receive a wealth of insight from historical and contemporary writings. Full-color artwork will engage the soul; quotes, hymns, prayers, and poems enhance the rich devotional experience. Also includes a Dictionary/Concordance, NLT word study system with Hebrew/ Greek dictionary. Online community and content extend the experience."

** The Giveaway! **

To win this coupon for a free copy of Holy Bible: Mosaic NLT simply leave a comment on this post letting me know what your favorite Bible verse is.  For an extra entry, follow my blog on Google Friend Connect (see the side bar for the link) and leave a separate comment letting me know that you are following!  Please make sure you leave an email address in your comment so that I can contact you if you win!

Comments will be accepted until Wednesday, May 4th at 10pm (central).  I will choose a comment using random.org to be the winner and that winner will be announced here and emailed on Thursday, May 5th.  Winner must respond within 48-hours to claim prize.  This giveaway is in no way associated with Grace Fellowship Church or Tyndale House Publishers.  Winner will receive a coupon by mail that can be redeemed at a local Christian bookstore, or can be sent directly to Tyndale House, in exchange for a copy of the book mentioned above.  Coupon expires August 14, 2011.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Reason Why (Faith Makes Sense) by Mark Mittelberg Review

This book is actually a re-make.  I know that sounds weird when referring to a piece of written word, but hear me out.  Nearly 100 years ago a business man by the name of Robert A. Laidlaw wrote out some thoughts on faith and distributed this pamphlet to his employees.  Though the term was not coined back then, the literature went "viral."  Fast forward to present day, and while Laidlaw's points and theories are still sound, the language he speaks... isn't quite as easy to follow.  That's where Mark Mittelberg steps in with his version of The Reason Why.  He acts as a translator for the 21st Century reader, and brings the examples and language a modern adaptation.  This book is written so that Christian, non-Christian and those caught in the middle have a very concise, easy to understand guide as to why believing and following Jesus just makes sense.  Mittelberg explains why we need faith, the facts surrounding why the Bible can be trusted as fact, why Jesus had to die and what you can do with this information if you choose to.

I like that this book presents the facts and addresses the questions of faith in a very clear, comprehensible format.  It is respectful of other beliefs, but gently suggests why the Christian faith in God is not a crutch or fairy-tale.  For the non-Christian, or the reader who just isn't sure what they believe, it gives great examples, Scriptures, and hard facts that Jesus is the Savior, who came, died and rose again so that we might live freely in forgiveness.  He paints a perfect picture as to why He had to die for us, and explains in a way I've never heard before but completely puts it in perspective!  I have not read Laidlaw's work, but I can say that Mittelberg does a fantastic job of writing a book that can be of great use to anyone who wishes to have conversations with doubters.  There are many answers to refer to in this book!

I Review For The Tyndale Blog Network
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale Blog Network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Spring Share-A-Thon 2011

It's that time of year again.  Y'know, I only work twice a year these days... and it's here!  Power FM is doing it's bi-annual Share-A-Thon to raise money to stay on the air.  I'll be there Wednesday through Friday, and randomly on-the-air between 10am and 3pm, doing my part to get people to donate to the station.  

If you love Christian Rock Music and want it to continue to thrive... If you listen to this station and want it to stay around for your enjoyment.... If you've ever been blessed or convicted by something you've heard on Power FM, they need your support.  Please consider becoming part of the Power Corps (giving $20/month or more) and helping The Christian Rock station survive!

You can call in to the station Wed-Fri, 6am-10pm and make your donation, 1-866-787-1897.  You can also go online to the station website, www.kvrk.com, and enter the information yourself.  Either way, do your part to keep Power FM going!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Prestonism on "Dang it!"...

Preston was playing Mario Brothers on the Wii this evening and at one point he kept getting killed over and over.  One time, just as his player died, he yelled "MADE IN CHINA, GGGGRRRRRR!!!!!"  Apparently that's one way to voice your aggravation!

Easter 2011

Sunday morning my boys awoke to find a couple of Easter baskets waiting for them.
Easter baskets!
Preston got candy and a tiny Cars Kite.  Callen got Gerber Puffs and a couple of books and baby food (heehee).  
Daddy helping check things out!
The Easter box we made got opened!
We met our parents (and Michael's brother) up at church for Easter Service.  I had volunteered to watch babies, and my mom joined me in there.  After the service, the church held an Easter Egg hunt.  I wasn't sure what Callen would do, but after placing him down in the middle of a bunch of eggs... he grabbed 'em and stuffed 'em in his basket.  The kid was a natural egg hunter!  And, of course, Preston held his own in the midst of all the other kids around his age (he got out of the crowd so he could get at more eggs)!

Collecting eggs!
Collecting eggs too!
Taken by Angela Walker
After the hunt we went to Michael's parents' house for Easter lunch/dinner.  The boys played games with their Uncle Daniel.  We watched the Rangers game and had a delicious meal of Jill's homemade Mac'n'Cheese and Spiral Cut Ham.  It was tooooo good!  
Monkeys on the Bed game w/Uncle!
The boys ended up with lots of candy, but had a lot of fun as well!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spring Break in San Antonio

Our much needed vacation has come and gone already.  Can't believe it!  

My parents picked us up on Tuesday morning.  We loaded the Explorer inside and out, and off we went... headed South!  Our first stop was Round Rock Donuts.  We had to try the Texas-Sized Donut, of course.  
He did try to eat it all himself!
Preston made a pretty good attempt at eating the whole thing himself, but Michael and I helped (oh, and Callen had some too!).  We didn't manage to eat it all even between all of us.  We made it to San Antonio before check-in time at our hotel, but they let us into one of the rooms anyway.  So we unloaded and headed towards The Riverwalk for food.  We ate at Fuddruckers, 'cause we weren't really sure where everything was and that happened to be right in front of us.  After that, we checked out The Alamo.  
We made it to The Alamo!
We went back to the hotel to get settled in our second room.  After resting for a bit, we met up with Dannell in front of The Alamo.  We took the Riverboat tour just as it was getting dark and enjoyed the sights.  Afterwards we were ready for dinner.  We first tried a BBQ place on The Riverwalk, but after sitting outside in the steamy heat with no breeze, looking over the ridiculously expensive menu and the since the waiter  never came back... we got up and left to look for something else.  We found a little Italian place that was inside with A/C and that was able to sit us right away.  It was delicious!  Exactly what we were wanting.  After that we walked Dannell to her car (after getting turned around a bit) and finally back to our hotel.  I dunno how many miles we walked that day, but it was enough to wear us out!




The next day, we took the Trolly Tour so we wouldn't have to walk as much.  Our first stop was Hemisfair Park and the Tower of the Americas.  
It's way up there!
We went up to the top and checked out the view.  We also did a 4-D ride about Texas, which neither of the boys liked very much at all! After that we got back on the trolly and saw a couple of the missions (we didn't get out), and then stopped at Market Square.  Right when we stepped off, there was a Mexican restaurant, Mi Tierra, and it ended up being really great!  We walked around the shops till it was time to be picked up again.  We decided the boys had probably had enough (they were not cooperating as well as they should, meaning... nap time!) and needed a rest, so we stayed on the trolly the rest of the way back to where we started.  We took a break (no naps, unfortunately), then took the car back up to San Fernando Cathedral.  The bones and ashes of the great heroes of the Alamo are kept there, and it was a really beautiful place!  
Beautiful old cathedral
We went to the Rivercenter Mall (ok, mostly just the Disney Store in there) and then ended up back down at the Riverwalk for dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.  We swam back at the hotel for a bit before turning in.





Day three was designated "Sea World Day!"  Apparently everyone from Mexico designated it that day as well... soo crowded, and ALL of the cars in the parking lot had Mexico plates.  We got there about 10:45am and didn't head out till about 5:45pm - that made for a full day!  We saw three different shows... one with sea lions, one with dolphins and beluga whales and, of course, Shamu!  Callen was a little nervous about the giant KILLER WHALES that came up out of the water pretty dang close to us.
Up close and personal!
Then he was pretty unhappy about getting splashed and soaked.  I tried to keep him covered, but putting him behind me and taking the brunt of the big splash, but it was cold water and I kinda gasped, which scared him and made him freak out a bit.  Haha, oh well.  
Callen isn't scared of Shamu... yet.
Preston got ride a whole bunch of little rides (and a big one, the splash falls one with grandma and Michael).  We saw penguins and alligators, and walked our butts off again.  I got a pretty nice sunburn on the top of my shoulders at this point.  We were hot and tired and tried the Bill Miller BBQ place right outside of Sea World (though they have locations allll over the place in S.A).  It wasn't that great, but it was food.  We came back to the hotel and swam some more.




Friday morning we had breakfast and then went back to The Alamo for just a little bit.  Then we prepared to head out.  We traveled just a little and stopped at Natural Bridge Caverns.  
Preston rides a dinosaur!
We had already walked so much all over downtown San Antonio, not sure we needed the extra up and down walking you have to do in these caves.  But, it was pretty cool.  Callen, however, was not interested.  He was pretty tired and fussed quite a bit no matter who held him or which way (we tried the back/front carrier).  Thankfully he fell asleep after a while, though Michael then carried him in that pack - breaking his back all the way up that incline!  I remember going there when I was younger, but most of it was unfamiliar.  It was pretty neat!  
It's a "natural bridge."
Stalagmites!
After that, we were ready for lunch... so we took a little side trip off of the freeway, and found Frank's Bait & Taco.  Michael and I saw this place featured on the Texas Country Reporter or something, and wanted to give it a try.  It was so cool!  The walls and ceilings are completely covered with... stuff.  
Behind the bar at Frank's Bait & Taco
And Eddie (his name isn't Frank, but he'll answer to it!) told us about his place and where some of the stuff in it came from... the food was really good too!  And from there, with full bellies, we headed home!




We had a great time... despite the steamy heat (thankfully it stayed overcast the entire time and there were strong breezes so it wasn't completely unbearable) and despite a certain 5-yr-old that didn't want to do ANYTHING (EVERY SINGLE TIME we sat down to eat he declared he wasn't hungry and cried that he didn't want anything and just wanted to go back to the hotel, however, he ate EVERYTHING he was given and had a great time doing everything... sigh).  Callen did exceptionally better than I thought he would and he finally started taking more steps while we were at the hotel.  On the way home, he got a little fussy about the ride, but all of the rest of the time, he was just a super happy baby!  And speaking of the hotel, it wasn't bad, but they were doing remodeling, so it was a bit of a mess and noisy sometimes.  We slept great the 2nd and 3rd nite - probably because we were so worn out!  And even though we ended up walking so much, sweating like mad and running into crowds everywhere, oh and nearly running completely out of gas at one point with no gas station ANYWHERE!, I'd say... it was a great vacation!  It wasn't a relaxing vacation by any means, but it was a lot of fun. 

Thanks, Mom & Dad!!!

(I've got some video, but I'll have to wait to post those... this took long enough!)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I'm alive... and so is HE!


The LORD is Risen!!!  He is Risen indeed!
Happy Easter!

Just wanted to say we survived our vacation.  We had a great time in San Antonio.  I have a ton of pictures to get through, resize and upload.  But, they're coming soon along with a recap of our adventures.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Homeschool Recap, Week 30...

Ok, there are six weeks left of our first year attempting this homeschool adventure. Six weeks left of Kindergarten. That completely Blows.My.Mind! Here's the part where I second guess myself... am I covering what I need to be covering? Are we doing too much? Or too little? Did I miss anything important? Or super fun? Did I make the right decision? Should I have gone with a boxed curriculum to make sure we're on track? What if...? Why didn't... How about...?

Anyway, we did Eastery things this week because next week will be our Spring Break and we are going on vacation. Hooray! Once I got started gathering all the Easter activities I wanted to do this week, I realized it might be overload. There were just so many great things coming out of all the blogs I read... and I wanted to do them allllll! But... we can't. So I had to tell myself to chill. I tried to keep it simple and not over-work the boy...

Monday:
- Daily devo and Godly Character Trait: Compassionate (once we established what "compassion" meant, Preston spent the whole rest of the day doting on Callen. "Oh, baby, did you bump your head? I'm so sorry you bumped your head. Let me rub your head, you poor baby." He normally helps protect and comfort his brother, but today was just a little over the top. Haha! He's sweet.
- Found a cute Jesus/Jelly Beans poem printout here, it talks about what the different colored jelly beans mean pertaining to Jesus' life and death. I had Preston color in the jelly beans while we read and re-read the poem till he basically had it down.
Coloring the beans.
- Used a couple of printables from 2TeachingMommies' Easter unit having to do with jelly beans.  One was graphing jelly beans.  I put them all in a cup and had Preston draw them out one at a time and put them on the chart to see which color would "win."  He gets really into that and calls it like a race ("Yellow is now in the lead with white coming up right behind!").
White wins!
- The other was the Jelly Bean Observation, where he used his 5 senses to observe the candy.  His favorite part was tasting them, of course.  Especially since we had been using them all morning, but he hadn't been allowed to eat them till now!
Listening to the beans!
Tasting the beans, yay!
Recording his findings.
- I had Preston do a worksheet from Deedee Wills that I downloaded free from TeachersPayTeachers (TpT) that had him write the phrase "I love my colorful jelly beans."  He also had to unscramble the words to create the sentence and then draw some jelly beans as well.
- Preston and I both colored an Easter graphic (can't track the link down now, just Googled around till I found one I liked).  Not sure what we're going to do with those, if anything, but they were pretty... and I felt like joining in on the coloring!  While we were coloring, we talked about what Easter is really about.
Pretty!

- We read Grandpa Bunny.
- We checked on our grass and watered it.  It's definitely sprouting!!!  
One long piece of grass!
- Our apples seeds in the fridge are also starting to sprout.  And we're keeping an eye on the Snow Peas that Preston planted in a pot with Grandpa Steve last week! 
- Preston borrowed my camera and took this awesome pictures of the jelly beans inside of the cup:
Good job, Preston!
Tuesday:
- We started out the morning with a Breakfast Picnic!  I had Preston listen to the sounds of nature...we heard birds singing and the bugs (of some sort!) making their noises in the creek behind our fence.  Of course, we also heard jets and little airplanes flying 'round and 'round... the joy of living next to a municipal airport!  Haha.
Breakfast picnic.

- Daily devo and Godly Character Trait: Kind
- Preston's little friend Bolt joined us for class this morning:
Howdy, Bolt!
- What Comes Next? worksheet from here.  Preston rolled the dice, wrote the number that showed up in the box, then continued writing the numbers that come after that one.  Could way for him to practice his numbers without me just slave-driving him to write them all out over and over!
Writing his numbers.

- Then we used the free drawing template from ABC Schoolhouse on TpT to draw a bunny.  Preston made a couple of pretty cute ones!
Drawing bunnies!

- He also colored, cut out and created a Jack Rabbit from a template I found in my Holiday Happenings book.  Preston said he was a Jack Rabbit because he was wearing a JACKET!  Get it?  Get it?  He laughed and laughed at his own joke!  =)
Cutting out his 'Jacket' Rabbit.
There he is!

- We also created a Cross Box (using this).  It has John 3:16 written out inside, we colored and added a couple of Easter stickers saying "Jesus Lives!" and such.  Then, we used Easter stickers to close it up into a box.  God sent us the best gift, His Son, who died for us!  But He didn't just die... He rose again and is coming back for us!
Neat project!

- I read the Velveteen Rabbit to the boys. 

Wednesday:
- Daily devo and Godly Character Trait: Patient (whoo, boy!)
- Jelly Bean color code worksheet - you have to do the math problem to figure out what color to use on the beans.
Adding and coloring jelly beans.

- Did a fun 'Color to Order' page from my Holiday Happenings book - Preston had to draw specific designs on specific Easter Eggs.  Apparently the words "small dots" can also be translated as "large circles" to a 5-year-old.  Haha!
- I had Preston read the book It's Easter, Pooh! to Callen.  So cute!
- We attempted Yarn Eggs, as seen here.  That was a bit messy, but I had visualized it much worse so I can't complain too much.  Not many photos of that 'cause I was too covered in glue to get to my camera!
Messy!
Letting them dry over nite.

- I also threw in a couple of worksheets from Kumon and Scholastic, because they're offering 5 free books for doing 'em and sending them in.  So... yay, free books!  Click here for more information on that program.

Thursday:
- Daily devo and Godly Character Trait: Diligent
- We did another of the Jelly Bean color code addition worksheets.
- I had Preston do an alphabetical Easter Words worksheet.  He put the words in order, then I wrote them on the lines in order so we could see them.  That worksheet came from here.
- We attempted to create a neat stained-glass project with torn tissue paper and the phrase "He Is Risen!".  Once we had it all done, I was laminating it... and my laminator ate it.  Like, literally... it's been eaten, cannot get it out, cannot use the laminitor anymore either!  The entire sheet rolled into the machine, can't get it out, not sure how to take the machine apart.  I called the Scotch helpline and they told me "Yeah, it's not coming out, there's nothing you can do."  BUT!  Thank heavens there is a "but!"  But, she said they would send me a postage mailer and I could return it to them and they would send me out a replacement!  Hallelujah!  I am pretty bummed that the project is totally lost, though.  'Cause it was looking really cool!
Tearing tissue paper.
Starting to decorate.
All ready for the laminator (it's doom!)

- Since that got destroyed, we tried something different... we use the torn tissue paper glued to the construction paper and turned it into the empty tomb.  That actually came out really cute, so I guess we made up for it!
Jesus' tomb was empty!

- Preston and I took turns reading A Child's Story of Easter to each other.
- We popped the balloons we used in yesterday's Yarn Eggs to see if the eggs would stand on their own.  They did!  They weren't extremely sturdy, but they stayed together.  I looked some string through them and have them hanging above our kitchen table!  They make really nice decorations!
Popping the balloons!
Cool yarn eggs!
Friday:
- We figured it was about time to do something with our cow's grass hair.  It was getting super long!  First we put a bow in it (or the best I could do with a twist-tie!, then Preston wanted us to cut it, so I let him loose with the scissors!
Our long haired cow!
Let's cut here!
Very carefully!
Tada!

- Daily devo and Godly Character Trait: Faithful (the last of that series!)
- Finished up the Color Code Jelly Beans addition sheet.
- We created a Resurrection Butterfly, and discussed the reason why a butterfly reminds us of Jesus!
Coloring butterfly!
All done (and blurry).

- We watched An Easter Carol, the Veggietales movie.
- I read A Blessing From Above to the boys.  Doesn't have much to do with Easter necessarily, but is sweet and Springy.

One thing I am glad I did this week is that I added another place for us to show off Preston's work.  We were filling up the pantry door, but that could only display a few things (and if I went any lower, Callen would destroy it).  So, I used some thumbtacks and string to make a display above the doorway of the kitchen (to the living room).  I love it!  I dunno why I didn't think of it sooner, so simple!  It's a great way to display the work and be out of our way at the same time!
Our new display area!  Yay!