Smile for the Joy of Others

Smile for the Joy of Others

Friday, August 28, 2015

Ziggurat or Drug Bust

Well, so architecture isn't our strongest talent. This is supposed to be our ziggurat. I think if some of the building material hadn't been digested, we would have had more to work with. Regardless of its lack of curb and architectural appeal, several lessons were reinforced and learned...working together, problem solving, imagination, creativity (to our ability). And then the enjoyment of a hands-on project that we were able to complete at our own pace as a family. The "mortar" is peanut butter....yeah, we aren't masons, either.

I posted this picture on FB to 'show-off' our project and work in homeschooling.  The first comment I got "it looks like a drug bust".  Hubby had not seen the picture nor the comment.  I showed him the picture to which he replied "My gosh, HB, it looks like sacks of cocaine on our table." "Yeah, well, someone else noticed, too." 

There you go.  Our innocent attempt to build a ziggurat using sugar cubes looks more like a drug bust...further proof that creativity isn't a dominate gene of mine.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Math Brownies

4 rounded tbsp of cocoa
2/3 c + 2 tsp shortening
2 c sugar...
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 c four (all purpose)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 c (or less) pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Grease baking pan.

Melt cocoa and shortening in a large sauce pan over low heat.

Remove from heat.

Mix in sugar, eggs and vanilla.

Stir in remaining ingredients.

Spread in pan.

Bake for 30 minutes (it took longer for us, approx. 45 min.) When done baking, cut in squares while still hot.

The math curriculum that we use incorporates a few hands-on projects to help reinforce the math lessons and concepts we learned from the unit.  The unit we just completed had lessons that included learning measurements.  So in order to reinforce some of those concepts, this unit's project was to cook brownies using the recipe they gave.  How lucky for us to have an excuse to try a new recipe of brownies. 

These were delicious!  I think they are some of the best brownies I have eaten in regards to a basic brownie. 

The project was fun including my boys in the process and watching them use the math concepts they have learned. 

This recipe was in our math book but it is from Montezuma Mennonite Cookbook...Montezuma, GA.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I Disobeyed

Yesterday we joined a homeschooling group at a local inflatables gym.  My boys were 2 of the oldest.  There was one younger child who was annoying them by butting in line, not taking his turn and disrupting any type of organized game they were playing with the other boys their age.  Brother B came to me with his complaints and I advised him to let the gym worker know when the child was being disruptive ONLY after he has tried to nicely ask him to stop.  I instructed him not to take matters into his own hands because the boy was younger. 

A few minutes later, Brother B came around the corner with a frustrated look....

"Momma, I kinda disobeyed you."

Scared to know, "what did you do?"

"Well, I didn't punch him."

At least we that's a start to conflict resolution....

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mating Cardinals

"MOMMMMAAA! Come here...come see this. Hurry up. It's a girl cardinal and boy cardinal mating! Hurry up, you are going to miss it."

Oh.My.Goodness. I just don't want to see to this. I really don't want to watch this with my boys. I know it's part of nature but not right now.

Reluctantly I approach the scene, looking through the window. My boys "See Momma, aren't they cute. He's mating her."

To my relief, he's just innocently feeding her, putting bird food in her beak. "Yes, boys, isn't that cute and sweet."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Books I've Recently Read

4 stars * * * *

The Rocky Mountain life during the Gold Rush during the Great was hard and life was sad unless you had someone like Hennie Comfort. She made life more bearable with her stories of sympathy and her ability to share her strength with those who needed it. She overcame some of the hardest circumstances anyone could endure at the hands of evil people. But even still, she was able to forgive and help others find peace and comfort through their own hardships. This book isn't a must read but it's a good read.  

"Hennie Comfort is eighty-six and has lived in the mountains of Middle Swan, Colorado since before it was Colorado.  Nit Spindle is just seventeen and newly married.  She and her husband have just moved to the high country in search of work.  It's 1936 and the depression has ravaged the country and Nit and her husband have suffered greatly.  Hennie notices the young woman loitering near the old sign outside of her house that promises "Prayers For Sale".  Hennie doesn't sell prayers, never has, but there's something about the young woman that she's drawn to.  The harsh conditions of life that each have endured create an instant bond and an unlikely friendship is formed, one in which the deepest of hardships are shared and the darkest of secrets are confessed. 

Sandra Dallas has created an unforgettable tale of a friendship between two women, one with surprising twists and turns, and one that is ultimately a revelation of the finest parts of the human spirit. "  


4 stars * * * *

"A spiritually blind and deaf woman confronts her long-buried past when she returns to her hometown, the birthplace of Helen Keller.

Because Amanda Crosby shares her birthday with the town’s matriarch, Helen Keller, she feels no identity apart from Tuscumbia. When the pain of her past collides with her uncertain future, she realizes she’s spiritually blind and deaf--and teetering back and forth between her husband and her lost love like one of her rocking horses."

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Rat Lives Matter

A few days ago, we rescued a drowning rat from the kiddie pool.  It appeared to have been struggling for awhile as it was quite docile after we got it out of the pool.  Or it could have just been sick and needed to die anyway.  Whatever its fate, I couldn't walk away knowing a helpless creature was in distress.  Because rat lives matter, too.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Gone but not Forgotten

Brother B has since created a tombstone for his dead, buried crab, Hermit. 

This crab may be gone, but he's definitely not forgotten. The epitaph: "Best work bud you could have" in reference to being our classroom pet.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Crab Lives Matter

Well, last night ended with a 10:30 pm backyard funeral for our crustacean friend, Hermit. He hermitted himself on to the great beyond. He now rests inside a cellphone charger box in a hole in the backyard.

I was reading when I suddenly heard loud wails and sobbing. Being that it's not unusual for my boys to play using such sounds, I was a bit peeved that they weren't in bed and were yet playing again when they should be sleeping. After a few minutes of me trying to read in peace, JB came and informed me of the death. I think he was needing backup to settle the wailing. "Why does he have to die? Why can't he live forever? I loved that crab."

I asked JB if he was sure it was dead bc it had just been moving around in our school room a few days ago. His expression was pretty clear with his tongue halfway hanging out and eyeballs rolled back that the thing was dead.

I feel bad for the sudden outburst of laughter while trying to console my son.
We all traipsed up the hill in our backyard where Jeremy proceeded to dig a shallow grave. CB said a little prayer while Brother B continued to shed tears. As the funeral concluded, Brother B asked to stay a little while longer.

On our way back into the house, Jeremy assured me again that the crab was dead, "H, it fell out of its shell."


I'm just glad this didn't happen on my watch during our school time. I don't know if I could have dealt with a dead, naked hermit crab.

All is quiet now with a few sobs coming from Brother B's room. He loved his little crab as indicated by his concerns to take care of it. He said he doesn't want another crab. Now, that I can understand. I've yet to want another dog.

This loss wasn't a big deal to me but it was to Brother B. It's another lesson of how life isn't forever, no matter how insignificant it might be to the world. But it was significant to his world, and that's what makes it special to me, his Momma.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Parents, Let's Talk...

Parents, let's talk. I know services like you see above in the picture can be beneficial, especially for those who live in poverty or children whose parents will not be responsible enough to take care of these medical issues effecting their children. (The form you see is from an elementary school in Lauderdale County, MS.)

I'm all for helping those who need it. And I am relieved to at least know that they are asking for permission and that these types of services are not forced via the schools.

BUT, there is a lot that needs to be understood with these types of services offered through the school system.

1. You have to look at this service as a service offered via the school but provided by a local clinic a clinic that is run by the government. So, you have to look beyond the wonderful teacher your child has...she has no control of this. She can't protect your child when he/she is taken from the classroom to receive these services. So please, look beyond the classroom, the principals office and your school district.

2. Data. I's kind of hard to imagine there is an entity or authority somewhere that wants this kind of data from your child and family. And I know to some, it's too conspiracy theory like to accept that this authority would even want something that may seem irrelevant to the common citizen. But they do. And they want it with anticipation. Data = $$$ and control.

3. Undermining parental rights. I can't imagine allowing services such as some of these without being present with my child..especially as young as elementary. Parents, please understand...that when you allow such services, the government can have free reign. I'm not insinuating this will be case all the time...but you give an inch and they try to take a mile. There are countless incidents where the school/government went against the wishes of the parents. One child received a vaccine without the parent knowing...he is autistic. The parent had specifically stated and signed that he was not to receive any services via the school. Do you know what happens in these situations. There's not much accountability. The school blamed the clinic and the clinic blamed the school. There is not much accountability or recourse to take against such cases. And she's not alone in this situation.

4. Intrusion of privacy. Clinics are well within their legal rights to ask children anything they feel necessary. They can ask the child if their parents are educated, working, salary, own guns, neighborhood they live, divorced, church going, medicine in their cabinets, is he/she sexually active...anything they deem 'necessary'. Children are innocent and typically answer these questions without worry. In fact, we know just how much info children will give...and that exaggeration is their story telling. As for older children...they can ask all kinds of sexuality questions. Most medical employees who will be conducting the services don't want this information but they have to follow what they are told to do.

5. Lack of details and information. The lack of details and information is total irresponsibility of the school/government. To think parents don't need or deserve the information for informed decision, goes back to the undermining parental authority. There are a plethora of questions that need to be asked and answered before any parent gives permission for any of these services. Who sees the results? Who has access to the results? What questions will my child be asked? When will these services be conducted and by whom...down to the name of the nurse? Where will the records be kept? Will parents be informed of the results? The counseling for 9 and above...what type of counseling secular or faith based? Who will provide the counseling? Will I be informed of what the counseling is about? HIPPA vs FERPA? If a diagnoses, what then? Privacy of the family when a diagnoses is given? Who pays for these services? There's not enough time to list all the questions.

yes, a simple eye exam in the gym with all his/her classmates is innocent. But, sadly, it doesn't always stop at that...the government has way of reaching farther and then "apologizing instead of asking permission". Bottom line...don't blindly sign anything. Be diligent in asking questions and becoming informed. You are the parent...don't let another authority undermine that. Allowing these services or disallowing these services isn't the measure of a good parent...I believe and hope all parents are seeking to do what is best...I just want all parents to educate themselves on what they seek.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Parents Beware

You see that picture above?  That permission request is from an elementary school here in MS.  And not long after I investigated it, I found out that it's actually used in many school districts in MS. 

There are many concerning issues with this permission slip and the intentions in what they are asking. 

1.  In spite of parents' failure to provide and talk about sexuality, it is not the government's job to step in and take the place of parents.  When, we as citizens, allow the government to maintain the role of a parent, the government no longer cares about, exercises respect, nor governs with parental rights as the core of the law.  They take full advantage of parents' lack of parenting...and they do so willingly with much anticipation. 

2.  This permission slip is an exact example of the government's irresponsibility to the parents.  These 2 measly sentences requesting permission provides no information for parents to make an informed decision.  I fully believe this is done intentionally.  Don't ask, don't tell.  They know parents don't enough to ask probing questions such as the following:  Who pays for this? Where is the testing done?  Who does the testing?  Who has access to the results?  Are parents informed of when the testing will be done...before or after the testing?  Will parents be informed of the results?  Where are the records kept?  How long are they kept?  HIPPA laws vs FERPA laws?  What happens if the child tests positive?  Will he or she have to reveal his/her sexual partners and if so what about their privacy? 

This is the government taking full advantage of a situation that lacks knowledge.

3.  There are national sex ed standards that are being aggressively pushed.  Some states/school districts have already adopted them and have implemented them in grades as young as kindergarten.  I am convinced that the types of testing, as seen above, have a data collecting agenda to it.  I believe the data collected will be used to further push the national sex ed standards.  And MS could very well use this same data to get more grant money from the US Dept of Health. These grants dangle money in front of the states and districts, leaving education admins salivating so for the money, they are blinded to the strings attached.  Those strings....teaching the national sex ed standards.  You can find the standards on line.  I highly encourage you to research them to be aware.  oh, BTW, the 'standard committee' uses Planned Parenthood as one of their resources.  And their definition of abortion in the standard's glossary:  a procedure to end a pregnancy....that definition is agenda and indoctrination driven.  (but I digress.)

If parents do not start waking up to these issues, schools, especially here in MS, aren't going to be the innocent playgrounds where our children used to play, even less innocent than they already are. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Back to School

Along with the rest of our local friends, we started school this week.  It's an adjustment to get back into the mindset and routine without being rigid but we are getting there. 

We started today off with a trip the neighborhood pool. It was great going this morning and having it to ourselves.  A drastic change from the overcrowding, chaos it can be during the summer break.  It was nice not having to listen to the profanity and blaring, vulgar music from other swimming residents....but I'll save that for another post, another day.

This year's line up and curricula is much different than last year's.  I'm only using 1 publisher I used last year.  And so far, I am really liking the change.  This year's curricula is more challenging and encourages more independent, student lead learning.  I, of course, am not fully removed.  It's just that for language arts, math and reading, my boys are having to work more independently and exert more responsibility. 

This year's curricula choices:

Christian Light Education:
Language Arts

Science: Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures (we used Apologia last year and enjoyed it so we are using it again this year.  Lots of hands on activities)

Who is God?   This is an elementary level apologetics study.  We are doing this at night as a family Bible devotion/learning. 

Mystery of History, Biblioplan, and Story of the World....we are using a combination of these for history and Bible.  This was my hardest in lesson planning in trying to incorporate all of these.

Institute for Excellence in Writing...this is for more formal lessons in writing.  We will do this at a slower pace as writing isn't something that should be rushed. 

My confidence this year is at a much better level than this time last year.  While the first year is still about educating, it's also a year about figuring out what works best and how it works. Of course, there is always a need for flexibility and to adjust when necessary.  You just aren't as timid about it. 

Here's to our 2nd year of homeschooling, it's beginning just as exciting as our first year but with much less fear and insecurity. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Judgment of Revenge

Do not judge.

This is one of the most misused and abused verses in the Bible. We use this verse as if it's our own, personal defense attorney in the wake of someone calling out sins or what they deem sinful.
But very few understand the meaning of it. Very few realize it's just part of a verse and that the whole verse is intertwined with many others to bring about a whole meaning...not just "do not judge".

Here is an example of how this verse can be applied to everyday life and it has nothing to do with justifying our sins.

"Vengeance is mine," God declared. "I will repay" (Heb. 10:30 NJKV)
"Don't say, 'I'll pay you back for the wrong you did.' Wait for the Lord, and he will make things right." (Prov. 20:22)

"Judgment is God's job. To assume otherwise is to assume God can't do it. Revenge is irreverent. When we strike back we are saying, "I know vengeance is yours, God, but I just didn't think you'd punish enough. I thought I'd better take this situation into my own hands. You have a tendency to be a little soft." (quotes from Max Lucado, Cast of Characters regarding Joseph's story)

As I was reading this, I realized that vengeance is a way of judging others. It's our way of judging those who have wronged us. But, you see, that is judgment in its most raw form...from slandering those who have gossiped about us, to murdering those who have wronged us. (for the record, I don't know anyone who has murdered, but I know there is a murder rate). Determined to revenge others who have hurt us, is ruling a judgment for their 'sin' against us. Actively seeking vengeance on those who have hurt our family or us, is playing God, and that is 'judging'. Any vengeance for any wrong doing is clearly God's job.

"...or you will be judged" (Matt. 7:1) This is the rest of the verse. You see...if I don't want revenge sought on me (and I'm sure I deserve it)...then I shouldn't seek to revenge others. I shouldn't seek to do something that is clearly God's job. Taking matters into our own hands is "judging" others.

Our culture takes this verse, twists it around to be used for its own advantage and meaning. Calling out sins is not judging as those who use this verse in defense of their sins want to believe. Seeking revenge or active vengeance on those who sin towards us...that is judging.

And that tendency for God to sometimes be soft...yeah, it's called Grace and Mercy. And I am guilty of thinking God won't do enough to the person(s) who wronged my family or me. I am guilty of thinking God will be too "soft". I fail to consider that when I want vengeance to be as harsh or harsher for those who have wronged me...that's "judging", too. Do I want harsh vengeance, do I want to be judged in such a way I want to revenge others? I think therefore, "Do not judge or you will be judged." (Matt. 7:1)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Huge Boobies

Crossing the Reservoir

"Momma, look at all those boobies! They are huge!"

Shocked and trying to keep it between the lines as I glance over: "buoys, son, those are buoys."

"Then what are boobies?"

"Y'all want a blizzard?"