Sunday, March 31, 2013


Dying eggs...

 Easter baskets and our indoor Easter egg hunt...

We had a great Resurrection Sunday- worship, lots of food and seeing these beautiful faces staring back at me!

"I serve a living Savior, He's in the world today!
I know that He is with me, whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him, He's always near!

He lives, He lives!
Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
along life's narrow way.
He lives, He lives!
Salvation to impart...
You ask me how, I know He lives....
He lives within my heart!!!"

Friday, March 29, 2013

XYZ...and all the rest!

Tera spent one afternoon, writing and working out this word problem...complete with pie graph, bar graph and pictograph.

X-ray, Tic-Tac-Toe and Xylophone 

Yellow and Yarn

Zigzag...and with that we made it through the entire alphabet!!!

One little boy tired out from a long week

As I reflect on this day...Good Friday...I'm overwhelmed at the love my God and Savior has for me...

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Minding mine....

I read a blog post and the various comments to that post a week or so ago. This blog was all about holidays and how we celebrate them.  I knew I shouldn't have read the comments.  People started going off about how "some people" I know do this and "some people" do that.  Judging others' traditions and ways of celebrating was the hot topic in the discussion.  All of a sudden I started feeling guilty for how I make a big deal about holidays for my children.  Then, I was reminded of a quality that my grandmother always talked about...minding your own business.  There's an old song that goes something like "mind your own business...mind your own business...mind your own business, so you don't go minding mine." 

Whatever happened to minding your own business?  

You should do what you want to do for your own family, instead of letting other people impose their differing views on you.   There's a lot of meaning and beauty in celebrating things simply.  There's also nothing wrong with going "over the top" if that's what you feel comfortable doing.   There are always going to be people (or Pinterest boards) that tell you what you do is not enough...or what you do is too much.  Who are we to judge someone else's traditions? 

Don't compare yourself to anybody else!

Trust God that He will reveal to you any areas in your life you need to change.  When you compare yourself to others, you only end up with two feelings---superiority or inferiority.    Just don't let some random blog post make you feel guilty about what you do as a family concerning holidays.  Don't let your "mommy guilt" steal your joy!  I'll try not to let it steal mine either! 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Gripes and Praise

I have separated two of my children this afternoon.  One upstairs and one on the couch, resting. 

They are on the mend from a very bad cold (at least that's what I'm guessing it high fevers).  One is cranky and the other one is still not better enough to just ignore it.  That's a bad combination.  I have threatened the "This is our get along shirt"!

The rest timer went off before the kid fell asleep.  Note to self:  Set a longer time next time. 

This is the second day this week, JP has had to be at work early...

I only got to see my husband about an hour today...

The dog won't stop ringing the bell to go outside...even he's got cabin fever.

My face is breaking out.  

We managed to make it out for a short library trip and a few groceries this morning, but that (less than 2 hour) outing left Michael a crying mess.  

It's really cold...

I got in bed earlier last night...I can't imagine facing this day without adequate sleep.

It's sunny!

It's actually quiet in my house right now...

Tera's helping make dinner tonight.

My cabbage au gratin recipe was really good!

It's sunny!

I can sing....

I read a blog post about "dressing frumpy", so I decided to ask my husband if he thought I dressed frumpy or was there anything I wear that he just doesn't like.  He said..."I think you dress nice, even when you are just hanging around the house!"   Nice compliment!   He did mention there is one outfit he doesn't like, but he's already mentioned it I don't wear that anymore. (It was definitely in the frumpy category.)

JP and I didn't get sick with this latest illness.

We were well all winter!

Easter Sunday is coming!

 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mosaic Reviews: We Choose Virtues

We Choose Virtues is a character based curriculum for ages 3-5th grade.  Heather McMillan,  the creator of We Choose Virtues, is a mom, children's minister, Christian school administrator and family pastor that has a heart for helping families.  This product is designed to "help children become everything God created them to be."  It's our responsibility as adults, parents, grandparents, and teachers to help develop character in our children. 

As a part of the Mosaics Review Team, I received for free from We Choose Virtues the following items:

1 sample Parenting Card

Teacher's Handbook
Kids of Virtueville Coloring Pages 

Butterfly Award

as well as 2 free for everyone printables:
Memory Verses, Bible Heroes and Truths
Family  Character Assessment

I purchased with my own money the two posters Heather listed as the top essential items...(see below).

We started using this program by picking 2 virtues a week to focus on.  Each virtue card comes with a catch phrase, an I AM statement, an "I am not..." statement and scripture verse. (cards come with KJV, NIV or no verse options) We used the Memory Verses, Bible Heroes and Truths handout to read stories from the Bible to go with certain virtues.  We displayed the cards and worked on those for the week.  I would use the catch phrase to redirect behaviors.  Instead of reacting harshly to misbehaviors, the catch phrases allowed me to be "firm, but kind" in my correction.  

I found that I was reminding myself of certain virtues as I went through my day.  If we were focusing on perseverance or diligence, I would remind myself of those phrases when I wanted to give up on something worthwhile.  

I took Heather's tip on using one, two, or three fingers held up to remind my children of the 3 rules.  

1 finger = OBEY
2 fingers = Be Kind
3 fingers= Be a Helper

If you'll notice, the number of words in each rule matches the fingers you hold up.  When you are in public and need to redirect your child's behavior, it's easy.  We were out with friends' recently and I noticed my children's banter was bordering on being unkind.  I held up 2 fingers in their direction and they got the message.  They were corrected without me saying anything. Their language changed immediately.  

What I like:

  • This program strikes a balance between positive praise (affirming I AM statements) and punishment when virtues are not met.  Too  often we as parents focus on the punishment end without reinforcing positive character traits.
  • Biblically-based curriculum.  Although you have the option to use this without the scriptures, I believe character education has to point us back to the God who created us to love and serve Him and to love and serve our neighbors.  
  • Catchphrases for every character traits...these just seem to roll off your tongue.
  • Bright, colorful,  high quality products
  • There is a priority on obedience.  Obedience is the first step in building character.
  • All character traits stem from the 3 basic rules:  OBEY, BE KIND, BE A HELPER  
  • Some older children may think the illustrations are too pre-schoolish....that was not the case in our family.  Since our family has a 12, 10 and 4 year old, we use "the older ones teaching the younger ones" approach.  So, that was not a problem for us in particular.   There is a new version in the works to address this concern. 
What I struggle with:
  • The price could easily be out of reach of some families. These are high quality products.  When you buy high quality, it comes with a price that can be hard to afford for those on a tight budget.   
If this is a concern for your family, you can also purchase individual items without comprising the effectiveness of this program:

In a conference call to the creator of We Choose Virtues, Heather McMillan, I asked if you were on a budget and could only purchase individual components of this program, what would you consider essential?

Here are Heather's top essential items:

1.  Virtue Flash Cards - $14.99

Virtue Flash Cards for Families

or even lower budget 

Virtue Clues- business size cards $5.50

Virtue Clues 

2.  Virtue Poster- $15.00

3.  Three Rules Poster- $6.00

You can purchase several different complete kits:  classroom, church, teacher starter kits, and the two following:

Homeschool Kit- $98.99 

(Use Promo Code:  HOME20 to receive a 20 % discount on any Homeschool Kit through the end of April)
Click here to see the entire contents:


Family Kit- $69.99
Click here to see the entire contents


We Choose Virtues has given me another Promo Code to offer my readers :  VIRTUE15 gives you 15% off  ANY order!

If you have any questions, you can contact We Choose Virtues:

Call: 541-255-5084
Email: to reach the We Choose Virtues Studio (your order) to reach Heather McMillan (product questions, affiliates) to reach Elton McMillan Jr (marketing)
or visit their website @

In the works are a Spanish version as well as an older children's version, to keep up-to-date on everything about We Choose Virtues, you can subscribe to their blog: or like them on facebook:

For more perspectives on this product, check out Mosaic Reviews!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Spring Break

We started our spring break on Wednesday, so we've had lots of little things going on around here.  Our lessons the first half of the week were cancelled because of various spring breaks as well. 

My anniversary presents from my husband finally arrived... 

Someone practicing the recorder...can you guess who prefers to read their music upside down?

I started prepping a new garden bed in the yard...sorry about that horrible shadow.  :)

Daniel finally pulled out his wind powered building set he got for Christmas and built a wind turbine.

 Baking--Tera made awesome homemade focaccia and we all made some delicious homemade soft pretzels. 

We're almost done with the alphabet.  Next week we'll finish up with X, Y, Z! 

We went with our friends to the Children's Museum in Oak Ridge for a day of fun....

Then out for pizza at Big Ed's!

We end our nice week with 3 sick kids.  It looks like a cold and/or allergies.  We've been outside a lot the past few days and have been in contact with cold germs.  Daniel has it the worst of the three.  Tera and Michael have very mild allergy type symptoms.  Hopefully, it only gets better and not worse.  They are drinking lots of fluids and resting...well, I'm trying to get 2 out of the 3 to rest.  Daniel hates a runny/stuffy nose more than anyone I've ever, he didn't sleep well last night.  I haven't had any trouble getting him to rest today.   We went the entire winter without one sickness...oh well...


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