Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why We Don't "Do" Santa Claus

Christmas will be here before we know it! As of today, there are 72 days left until Christmas! :o

With Christmas being so close, people have started saying to my boys, "Better behave, Santa's watching!" I know they mean well, but I have to correct them: "We don't really do Santa."

But why? Why have we taken this beloved childhood icon away from our children? For two reasons.

1. I felt bad lying to them. I really try to tell my kids the truth. I expect honesty from them, so I try to present honesty to them as much as possible. By telling them Santa was coming and they'd better behave because Santa was watching, and making up reasons why he could get in our house when we have no fireplace, I was lying to them. And God was convicting me. Big time. I felt horrible every time Santa was mentioned in this house.

2. It took the focus off of Christ. I'm not saying you can't believe in Santa and know the real meaning of Christmas at the same time. You most certainly can. But I didn't want my kids to behave because Santa was watching and if they weren't good they'd get coal in their stockings. I want them to behave because it honors God. Because the bible says to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1). Because God is watching, not Santa.

Some moms I know refuse to "do" Santa because they are afraid that once their kids found out they were lying about Santa, they'd think their parents were also lying about God. I don't hold this same view. One only mentions Santa around the last 1/4 of the year. We don't go to church every Sunday and praise Santa. There are not whole radio stations and television stations based on Santa's teachings. People don't dedicate their lives to loving and serving Santa.

If you're afraid of your kids dumping God because they found out Santa isn't real, try making God real to them. How do we make Santa real? We leave milk and cookies for him, then we show them the empty plate and glass in the morning. We tell them Santa left presents for them. We take them to see Santa in malls and stores. We try to have an answer for every question they ask about him.

So let's make God as real to them as we've made Santa. Every time something good happens, point out that God had a hand in it and have them thank him. If they want or need something, have them pray about it. Then, when the prayer is answered (whether it's in their favor or not), point out the fact to them. Take them to a good, bible-believing church. Research questions kids might ask about God and Christianity so you're ready with real answers when they ask. (This book is a good place to start.)

So, what happens when other kids start talking about Santa? I realize that not everyone shares my view about Santa Claus and that their kids still believe in him. And that's fine. I don't think he's evil or that believing in him is bad. If Santa works for you and your family, by all means, do it. My kids are instructed not to tell other kids that Santa isn't real. That's up to their parents and/or other family members. My kids are instructed to sit quietly while the discussion of Santa is happening. It's worked so far. :)

What about you? Do you let your kids believe in Santa?

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Newest Love

I have super long, super duper thick hair.
It's messy today (I haven't done anything with it yet), but you get the idea.

My hair tends to get in the way when I'm cooking or cleaning. I've tried those plastic claw clip thingies, but even the extra large ones wouldn't hold all my hair up. I don't know how to do a proper bun, and elastics get caught in my hair and have to be cut out, so i was forced to pull it all back with a scrunchie. Not very attractive. Plus, it gave me headaches and was very uncomfortable. I could cut my hair, but my husband likes it long. (And, truth be told, so do I.)

I was walking through Great Homeschool Conventions - Cincinnati and I saw a display for these really pretty hair clips. I stopped to look, wishing one would hold all my hair up. The woman working the booth asked if I'd ever heard of Lilla Rose before. I said no, but they were lovely. And I lamented how I'd wished one could hold up my hair. She looked at all my long hair, and held it in a ponytail with her hand to feel the thickness. "You'll need an extra large for a french twist, and a medium for a ponytail or a half-up." Then she directed me to the clips she had available in those sizes. Skeptical, I bought the extra large one. I took it home, and this is what happened:
It held my hair up! All of it! I couldn't believe it! Not only that, but this clip was comfortable, it didn't pull my hair, and I didn't get a headache even after wearing it all day!

After that, I was hooked. I tried the medium like she suggested for a ponytail and half-up:
It worked also! I can't express enough how much I love these Lilla Rose Flexi 8 hair clips!

And they're not just for people with long and thick hair.
Here's someone wearing a mini:
They also have bobbi pins and u-pins (the stars in the above pic). And headbands.

So, if you want pretty jewelry for your hair, just click here for my Lilla Rose website. You will not be disappointed! :)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

First Day of School Traditions

It's nearing the end of July. For those that don't homeschool year round, that means it's back to school time! We try to make this special day fun so that it's easier to say goodbye to summer. Here are some of our traditions for back to school time:

New school supplies - How could one not take advantage of the Back to School sales many stores have after the 4th of July? You can get everything you need for the whole year at a super low price! So, we like to go early (as in, the July 5th - lol!) to get our supplies. That way we know everything will be in stock. Then, I separate everything into 3 boxes (one for each kid), and put the boxes up. Out of sight, out of mind. Then, when the first day of school arrives, I get the boxes out and let each boy organize his supplies as he wants. They get so excited over new school supplies! It's like Christmas! lol!

Special Breakfast - I usually fix something special for the first day of school breakfast, something we don't normally have. Like Smiley-Face pancakes, Monkey Bread, or something similar. It's just a special treat to let them know that this is a very special day.

Half-Day - Actually, the first week of school is filled with half days. We've found that it's easier to get back into schooling from a long summer break if we only homeschool half days the first week. I also let them sleep in if they want to, and they can homeschool in their jammies. :)

Best Part of Summer Discussion - My boys get to relive their summer on the first day of school by describing their favorite moments from the summer. Then I let them draw pictures of their favorite moments and display their drawings all over the schoolroom. Dad likes to come into the room and admire their artwork. My boys beam with pride as they explain their pictures to their dad.

First Day of School Picture - Who hasn't seen these? You take a picture on the first day, then one again on the last day. This way you can appreciate how much your little blessings have changed in just a few short months. Here's our most recent one:
And, for good measure, the one I took in May. The matching Last Day of School pic:

EDIT: Our first day of school pic for this year:
 Look how big they've gotten. <3

What are some of your back to school traditions?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

An Opportunity Almost Missed

My oldest son (age 10) and I went to the grocery store. We went through the whole store, buying everything necessary to sustain a family of five for the week. Upon completion of our long list, we headed for the dreaded checkout. We got our groceries scanned and paid for them. YES! Another trip to the grocery store, DONE! :)

But what's this? Oh, it seemed I'd forgotten to pick up something my husband asked for. Bummer. Josh (my oldest) was tired and asked if he could sit on a bench at the front of the store by the checkouts. Not being a "helicopter" parent, I said yes, he could sit in the a/c and watch our newly purchased food. I'd only be a minute.

I walked quickly to the correct aisle, grabbed the previously forgotten item, and headed back to the checkout. As I waited for my turn, I glanced in the direction that my son was sitting. I saw him talking with an older man. He looked to be in his sixties. They seemed to be having a pleasant conversation.

I paid for my item and went to my son. "Time to go," I said.

"Ok," Josh said to me. Then he got up and turned to the man with whom he was conversing and said, "bye. It was nice talking to you." I beamed with pride at his manners.

The the older gentleman got up, turned to me with tears in his eyes and said, "Thank you for that moment. My youngest grandson, also 10, died last year from a brain tumor. Tomorrow would've been his 11th birthday. I've been having a hard time dealing with his death. I miss him. I miss talking to him. Your young man brought back so many happy memories. I felt like I was talking with my grandson again. I thank you for that."

I thanked him for sharing his heart, told him I would pray for him and gave him a hug. And I couldn't help but feel that if I had been a proponent of "worst-first thinking," afraid of child molesters everywhere, afraid of letting my tired son sit on a bench, this poor old soul never would've found comfort, even if only for a moment. I'm glad I could do that for him.

This is why we don't really do "stranger danger." Sure, I tell my kids not to go anywhere with people they don't know, and I tell them not to accept gifts from strangers without permission, but I don't teach them not to talk to strangers. I teach them to be polite and reply when an adult (or anyone else) addresses them.

To the man in the store: I am praying for you. You will find comfort in God's hands.I'm glad a short conversation with my son brought you such peace.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Essential Oil Test: Update #2

I have been using Lavender, Vetiver, and Cedarwood on CJ for almost 20 days now. And I have noticed a marked improvement. He is definitely less hyperactive. He can sit and concentrate on one thing longer than before.

But it's more than that. He seems calmer. Before, he'd get all wild and crazy over every little instance. Now he gets excited as any little kid would, but in a more controlled way.

He still seems to have trouble controlling his impulses, but now that we're getting his hyperactivity under control, that should (hopefully) begin to improve soon also. :)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Essential Oil Test: Update #1

The Veitver and the Cedarwood arrived on May 8 (which happened to be my oldest's birthday, Happy Birthday Josh!). I have already noticed a small difference. Very, very small, but a difference nonetheless. He behaved really well at Bob Evan's when we went for lunch today (Mother's Day).

Stay tuned for more updates! :)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Ultimate Test for Essential Oils

K, as some of you may know, I've recently fallen in love with Young Living Essential Oils. And they've helped me and my family immensely. My oldest hasn't taken his allergy medicine since we got the oils (and his allergies were really bad!), I don't have heartburn anymore, and we just feel better on the whole.

So I've come up with the ultimate test for how well these amazing oils work.
(Well, my husband came up with it.)

My youngest ("unofficially") has Impulse Control Disorder. He is unable to keep himself from hitting, kicking, breaking, throwing, etc.

Now. Some of you might be saying, "Well, he's 4. That's what 4-year-olds do." No. Not to this extreme. I've babysat, I've worked in daycare, and I have 2 kids older than him. Trust me, I know what 4-year-old behavior is. This is not it. I took him to the doctor, and he said it looks like Impulse Control Disorder. I am supposed to take him to the psychiatrist  get an official diagnosis, but they want to wait until the school does their testing. So, while I'm waiting for the school to stop twiddling their thumbs, I thought I'd give essential oils a try.

Also, I do not want to medicate him. So even after we get the "official" diagnosis, I will need to rely on oils for treatment.

These are the oils I'm using:

Vetiver – This musky, smoky essential oil is not well-known, but in a few years it might be. Just the smell of vetiver has an almost magical ability to calm over-energized kids and help them to connect and relate to people in more patient and agreeable ways. Children, teenagers, and adults can apply the oil on their big toes which is the brain reflex point. Vetiver is especially helpful for those ADD adults and teens who also suffer from depression.

Lavender – Known as the “universal oil,” lavender is good for almost everything. One of its most well-known properties is as a sedative and for calming the body and mind. Rubbing a few drops on a child’s feet, shoulders, or chest can help them relax and sleep more easily. But be aware: lavender is one of the most commonly adulterated oils and difficult to find pure (labels can be misleading on this one). That's why we've chosen Young Living.

Cedarwood – Considered one of the holy healing oils, cedarwood is often referred to in Christian scriptures. It is high in sesquiterpenes, the chemical compounds which stimulate brain function and mental synergy, and help the body to rewrite old genetic patterns into healthier new ones (useful for kids with ADHD because it's considered an inherited disorder). This oil can be applied on the forehead and neck, inhaled, and massaged on the brain stem at the base of the skull.

So... I'll be posting how things are going with him. I've just ordered the Vetiver and Cedarwood today, so it'll be about a week before I can fully implement this course of treatment. Prayers are appreciated! :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Most Common Homeschool Questions I Get Asked... and My Answers

Everyone has something to say when they hear that I'm homeschooling my kids. Most of it is positive:
"Oh! That's awesome!"
"I wish I'd homeschooled mine."
"We homeschool too! We love it!"

Then there are usual questions such as:
"What kind of curriculum do you use?"
"We were thinking of homeschooling. Can you go over some state laws with me?"
"Do you like it?"

You also get some pretty strange questions. (Well... that's mean. I shouldn't say "strange." Please change that to "unusual." Thanks.) These are the most common questions I get asked and how I answer them.

1. Do you have a teaching degree/What kind of training do you have?
No, I don't have a teaching degree. Nor do I need one. Degrees are for other people to be allowed to teach my children. Degrees are proof that they know what they're talking about. I know how my children learn, and I know how best to teach them. I don't need a degree for that.
My response:
"I don't have a degree. I don't need one." And I smile. :)

2. Aren't you worried about them falling behind?
Behind who? We don't follow any state curriculum, and our state doesn't require testing. There's no one to compare them to, so who are they going to fall behind? But I don't say this.
My actual response:
"No. Our curriculum is pretty extensive."

3. Do you get dressed?
I get asked these questions outside of my home. In public places. Where we are very obviously dressed. So to look at us will answer this question. However, I'm going to assume they mean do we get dressed at home when we're not going anywhere. In which case, I shall answer thusly:

4. How can you stand your kids being home all day? I'd go crazy!
I so badly want to say "I actually enjoy my kids. Just because your kids are crazy doesn't mean mine are." But that would be so rude, and since I'm representing Jesus in my every word and deed, I hold my tongue and say this:
"It's challenging at times. But the rewards are immeasurable."
There. That's much better. :)

And... the biggie:

5. What about socialization?
Ugh, I hate this one! Public school is not the only place to socialize your kids! I teach them social graces and manners at home, and we have Cub Scouts, homeschool co-op, and baseball practice. Plus, I take them to the grocery store, to the bank, to the library, to the Creation Museum, to the zoo...
There are plenty of opportunities to get my kids around kids their own age.
Plus... I was bullied in school as a kid. Mercilessly. There were several pregnant teens in my high school. Several. Cliques are very common, smoking, drugs and alcohol are a huge problem, not to mention cheating and stress and competition over grades.
So to answer this question, I look them in the eye and say:
"My kids don't need the kind of socialization public school has to offer."

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Young Living Essential Oils

Ok, so... I've kind of fallen in love with essential oils. But not just any essential oils, Young Living essential oils.

Why these oils? Well, these oils are 100% pure essential oils. The ones you get from the store nowadays are only required by the government to be 5% pure. The rest are fillers and additives. So while you're trying to be healthy, you're actually putting more junk into your body. Young Living is all natural, pure essential oil. These are the only oils on the market today that can actually be ingested.

They're also safe for use around your kids and your pets.

They're great! My family has seen some really amazing results from using them.

Click here to go to my website to learn more.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

My Favorite Disney Songs

So... Ever since I was a kid, I've been in love with the magic Disney can create onscreen. The stories are intoxicating, the artwork is mesmerizing... but it's the songs that truly make a Disney movie. So this is a list of my personal favorite Disney songs. This is by no means a complete list of all the best songs Disney has given to us, just a few of my favorites I can't help but play over and over again.

I have to start this list with "Let it Go" from Frozen. This song is incredible. It means so much to so many people! I know in my life, I've tried so hard to please everyone else, and I often make a mess of things. But my living to please God instead of others, I've kind of "Let it Go," their expectations of who and what I should be. And I'm much happier.

Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi do such a beautiful job on this song! Love, love, love it!!!

My favorite part:
Now's your moment
Floating in a blue lagoon
Love it! :)

Talk about your motivational songs! And... is that Donnie Osmond I hear? Sure is. I just learned that. ;)

There are so many good lyrics in this song!
You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You'll learn things you never knew you never knew

Respect for others right there. Good stuff. Also,
Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest
Come taste the sunsweet berries of the Earth
Come roll in all the riches all around you
And for once, never wonder what they're worth

Appreciation of simple pleasures. Love it. And this:
How high does the sycamore grow?
If you cut it down, then you'll never know
You can own the Earth and still
All you'll own is Earth until

Respect the creation God has given us.

These are my favorite Disney songs. What are yours?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Songs I was Scared of as a Kid

I did a blog post a few months ago about characters that scared me as a kid. So that got me thinking about other things that scared me. I believe I might've been a scardey cat as a kid. Lol!

Ok, have you ever heard of a movie called The Electric Grandmother? Few have. But this movie is essential to understanding why I was afraid of the songs below.

The movie is about a family that lost their wife/mother. They are all very upset and woebegone. That is, until the children (I won't go over every detail of the movie) come to build themselves an Electric Grandmother. The boys take to her, but the daughter holds out. Near the end, their android Grandmother (SPOILER ALERT!) gets hit by a car.

It was at this point that my dad turned off the show and told my brothers and I that it was bedtime.

But... Wha...

Now, the movie first debuted on television in 1982, but since I was 4 at that time, I doubt this is when we watched it. It was probably more like 1986 or 1987. Making me 8 or 9. I was older, but it was still traumatizing!

Ok, on to the songs.

The Mr. Ed Theme Song

Now. When my dad turned off the movie, he didn't turn the t.v. off. He switched the channel to Mr. Ed. So right after I was aware that someone was hit by a car, I hear, "Hello. I'm Mr. Ed." So for a long time, I associated this theme song with being scared because someone was hit by a car.

These Dreams by Heart

When my dad said it was bedtime, my brothers and I were to go into the kitchen to say goodnight to our mom. She was cleaning up after dinner. And listening to the radio. And this is the song that was playing. So, I became afraid of this song as well.

Now, a few years later, we eventually saw the end of the movie. Being a robot, the Electric Grandmother was fixed, and all the children loved her. Awww.

But I was afraid of these songs for years. And years. And years.

Moral of the story: be careful what's on tv before telling your kids to go to bed. Lol!

REVIEW: Eat Like Jesus

At first, I thought this was going to be like all the other scores of diet/whole/natural/organic food books out there. I was wrong. I has to do with clearing up some biblical misinterpretations regarding food and eating. Some of the concepts covered are:
Clean vs unclean, eating with sinners, carnivorous vs vegan animals for food, etc.

It is very dry and hard to read. I hate to sound like a child, but there long sentences and big words. Lol! I told you I was going to sound like a child. Not that I'm unintelligent or incapable of reading, but these things make it very disagreeable for casual reading. It's more of an academic study than a book to read for enjoyment. I read for enjoyment.

I also didn't agree with some of the points made (for example, the author's interpretations of Adam's and Eve's diets).

I'm making it sound like it's not a good book. I'm sure it is. It's very well researched and it's presentation is very easy to follow. It's just not my cup of tea. If you're looking for an in-depth study on what the bible says about kosher diets, this is definitely the book for you.

I received a free .pdf of this book in exchange for an honest review.