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Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday Memory: Goodbye Tattling!

(Originally posted 06/25/12)

If you have more than one child, chances are you often have one of them running up to you letting you know all about the horrible things another child is doing. As I kid I always heard that it wasn't good to be a "tattletale." I never got that because I thought it odd that a parent wouldn't want to know about a child's bad behavior.  Often there would be a "loophole." It was okay to tattle if the other child was doing something that could cause damage to people or property. Still, how is a young child supposed to make that determination? Yet, I could see that often the tattler was being "bratty" and not letting an adult know about the other child's misdeeds for any other reason than getting some sort of satisfaction out of getting them in trouble.

I came up with a solution in my home, at least in instances where the tattler claimed to be the victim of the other child's bad behavior. So, say Dodeman is teasing Baber, and Baber comes running to tell me.  I immediately turn the conversation to Baber's heart. I tell him that he needs get right with God and forgive Dodeman. Yes, even before Dodeman apologizes. This serves two purposes. One, it takes the fun right out of tattling! LOL Two, it helps to train my children to have forgiving hearts. When someone refuses to forgive another, it almost always hurts the victim more than the perpetrator. When we have issues with others, sometimes we can't change the circumstances, but we can change our attitude.  Works with adults too!  :)

Happy forgiving!!!  :)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Flashback Friday: A Fun Way to Get the Kiddos to Help :)

(Originally posted 07/23/12)

As a parent, I have always had a hard time getting my kids to pitch in when things get particularly messy.  My sister's oldest daughter loves to clean and gladly does all of her chores, and most of her siblings' chores.  She love to clean and organize.  I think she got that from my mom, who is the same way.  The gene obviously skipped a generation, and skipped my family completely.  When a big job needs to be done, her daughter gets excited and jumps right in.  My kids hide.

My kids do do their daily chores.  They know that if they want to do anything else they have to get them done because that is how they earn their keep.  We haven't ever done the allowance thing, though I am actually in the process of coming up with a system.  I will pay them if they actually do a significant part of the work around here without me having to tell them.  That is the key.  I don't want to have to think about it. There are some things around here that I do pay them to do.  For example, I pay two dollars to clean out the refrigerator.  There are times, however, when things just get out of hand, perhaps after we've all been sick, when we all need a little motivation.  It's then that we play a game called I call "mystery items."

Here's how we do it:  I look around and pick several things in the room that need to be put away.  The number of things varies depending on how many kids are "playing" and how messy the room is.    I write the list of "mystery items" on a piece of paper.  The kids then start cleaning.  When one of them puts away a mystery item, he or she gets a point.  The beauty of the game is that the kids want to work as quickly as possible so that their odds of picking a mystery item increases.  When the room is clean, I add up the points, and they get a prize.  Usually it's candy.  Not the best idea, I know, but it can really be anything.  The kids don't mind cleaning when I made it game, and it gets done quickly. The tricky part is keeping track of who picks up what.  Sometimes if they are really moving quickly I miss a few thing, but it's all in fun and the kids don't mind.  Sometimes my oldest daughter will even play mystery items with her younger brothers in her room.  I bet they'll play it with their kids.

So, how do you get your kids to clean up?  Do you have any games that you play?  I'd love to hear about it! 

Happy cleaning!!!  :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Review! SchoolhouseTeachers.com



Well, hello there!!! I'm so glad you stopped by! :) I bet you'd like to get my posts delivered right to your inbox, now wouldn't you? So why not sign up for Feedburner? Check it out; it's right there in my sidebar! Thanks!  :)



Review Crew


High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {SchoolhouseTeachers.com}


About the product/service: As part of the Homeschool Review Crew I received a free Yearly Membership subscription to SchoolhouseTeachers.com, a division of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

What are the pros of this product? Wow. This is like one stop shopping for all your homeschool needs. I'm serious; you could practically homeschool your child from preschool through high school with just this subscription. (Okay, not in one year. LOL) Actually, you could homeschool all your children with just one subscription because one price covers everyone. :) There is just so much. There are over 300 classes available for just about every grade and subject. There is help with things like record keeping and transcripts. There are resources for kids with special needs. There is help for parents of high schoolers. I spent quite a bit of time clicking around the site, and I don't feel like I even scratched the surface. 



High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {SchoolhouseTeachers.com}

What's not to like? The only think I could really think of was the fact that the videos are not Hollywood productions. The one class I am using that is video based (ASL) is obviously pretty low budget. This didn't really bother me at all as the content is excellent. Other than that, I don't really see any negatives.


The Crazy Mom take: I was a little overwhelmed by all that is on the site. There is so much to choose from! I decided to try out a couple different things with my family. I had no trouble navigating the site or finding what I was looking for. It's very well organized. I just have a hard time choosing. (You don't really want to go out to dinner with me; it takes me forever to decided what I want!)

First, I decided on the ASL course. We have been studying ASL for quite a while, but I was kinda winging it. I had bought CDs, but they kept getting lost or scratched, so this year I just decided to go through my books. Really we've just been learning words, but not really learning a language. The first thing I looked for on the site was an ASL class. I was so excited to have found one! We've only done a few lessons, but I am already so much happier with what we are doing. First, we are actually learning, not just about the language, but about the deaf culture. Second, I don't have to worry about losing or scratching a disk. It's right there on my laptop! I think this is going to be a perfect fit for us.

Next, I found an art class for my daughter that I think she is going to love. We haven't had a chance to really start it yet, but I have looked through it and even joined it's facebook group! Oh, wait, I'm supposed to be doing an honest review. I mean, I do think my daughter is going to love this class, but I'm really interested in it myself. I have always dabbled in art and even took some classes in college. In those olden days, there weren't computers available to the average person. Now, I have the computer, but I need a class. Going to college isn't really feasible right now, so I am going to work through these lessons myself. They look fantastic! If Bear wants to join me, and I'm sure she will, that's fine, but I am really going to try to fit this into my schedule. Can you tell I am super excited? 

I normally shy away from subscription sites. I'm a cheapo. There is so much available for free on the internet, why pay? This is actually an exception. I can think of several good reasons to subscribe. One, everything is in one place, which just saves a ton of time trying to piece together something from several different sources. Two, no lost books or CDs. Yes, that's an issue here. Three, the cost covers everyone, so it's probably going to cost most people less than it would if they were to buy books. Fours, mom or dad can take classes for no additional cost! Finally, everything is from a Christian perspective, and I believe that you can feel pretty confident that the course content will be acceptable to most conservative Christian families. (Obviously, I haven't seen everything so this is not a personal endorsement of everything available. I just feel that for me, I would feel pretty safe allowing my kids to pick and choose from any of the classes. Of course, parental oversight is always recommended.)


What's the bottom line? $138 per year Until January 15 use the code CHRISTMASYEAR to pay $90/year!

Schoolhouse Teachers Half Price Discount



I am going to give SchoolhouseTeacher.com 5 out of 5 smileys!!! :) :) :) :) :) 

Check it out! https://schoolhouseteachers.com/membership-benefits/join-now/

See what my fellow TOS Crew members have to say by clicking on the banner or link below:

High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {SchoolhouseTeachers.com}

http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/high-quality-self-paced-online-homeschool-resources-schoolhouseteachers.com/


*The Smiley System:

:) I can't really recommend this product.

:) :) I doubt this product would be helpful to many people.

:) :) :) This is a good product, but it isn't right for everyone.

:) :) :) :) Most homeschool moms will find this useful.

:) :) :) :) :) This is great, and I would recommend it to anyone!!!




Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, January 5, 2017

New Review: Beginner's Bible from Zonderkidz!


Well, hello there!!! I'm so glad you stopped by! :) I bet you'd like to get my posts delivered right to your inbox, now wouldn't you? So why not sign up for Feedburner? Check it out, it's right there in my sidebar! Thanks!!  :)



Review Crew

The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}



About the product/service: As part of the Homeschool Review Crew I recently received a free copy of The Beginner's Bible from Zonderkidz (a division of Zondervan.) This is an actual 512-page physical book that contains over 90 Bible stories geared specifically for kids six and under. This book was originally published in 1989 and since then has sold over 25 million copies. It's now been updated with new 3D artwork. Beyond the actual physical book, Zondervan has a huge assortment of digital resources to go along with the product. I was thoroughly impressed. You can check those out here.

What are the pros of this product? I've had a lot of children's Bibles over the years, and I've pretty much loved them all. I mean, what better book to read to your little one than a book with Bible stories? One thing I like about the version is the way it's written. The language is simple, in a very conversational tone, yet it's not so dumbed down that it's babyish. Honestly, even though the website says the book is geared toward six and under, I could easily see an older child enjoying this. 

They've also updated the art. Honestly, I thought it was fine the way it was, but here's a page from the book that will give you a good idea of the illustrations. I like that the group of children is diverse. :)




The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}


What's not to like? I honestly can't come up with any negatives about this product. Sorry! 


The Crazy Mom take: So, this is where I get a little sad. I have no more littles! My "baby" is 13, so I really had no one to read this Bible to. :( However, my hope is that one day I'll be a grandma and I can read it to my grandchildren! (I am planning on keeping my favorite books here for them.) I'm totally excited about the prospect of reading the Beginner Bible to my grandkids. My plan is to put it away for them. The challenge will be to find it again when the day comes, but I digress. This is a really nice book. I hope you'll take a few minutes to check it out! 


What's the bottom line? $16.99


I am going to give The Beginner's Bible 5 out of 5 smileys!!! :) :) :) :) :) 

Want to see more from Zondervan/Zonderkidz? Check it out!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Zonderkidz/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/zonderkidz

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/zondervan

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/zondervanp/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zondervan/



See what my fellow TOS Crew members have to say by clicking the banner or link below:

The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}

http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/the-beginners-bible-zonderkidz/


*The Smiley System:


:) I can't really recommend this product.

:) :) I doubt this product would be helpful to many people.

:) :) :) This is a good product, but it isn't right for everyone.

:) :) :) :) Most homeschool moms will find this useful.

:) :) :) :) :) This is great, and I would recommend it to anyone!!!



Crew Disclaimer

Monday, January 2, 2017

Monday Memory: Instilling Self-Esteem is Important, but Can You Go Too Far?

(Originally posted 05/12/2012)

I've been thinking a lot about kids and self-esteem lately.  Why?  Because it seems like every one of my kids has a wee bit more than is healthy!

It seems that there are two extremes when it comes to the way some parents treat their children's egos.  Some parents seem to go over the top, gushing at every little thing their children do.  This kind of parenting seems to be getting more and more popular, and it is reflected in the "everybody gets a trophy" attitude.  For example, if a little girl makes a cake for her mommy, and uses salt instead of sugar, and Mommy tells her what a great job she did, the little girl might beam with pride, but she misses an important lesson.  Following directions is important!  Perhaps at a later time she will be careless in how she follows directions when not following them could have serious consequences.

Other parents are so critical that they would have berated the little girl for her careless mistake. Perhaps so much so, she would never want to make a cake or even cook again.  Where is the balance?  I tend to be more of a gusher, and would be tempted to ignore the sugar and try to choke down a piece with a smile. However, that probably wouldn't even be possible!  LOL  I suppose the best way to go about it would be to build the child up for wanting to bake and bless the family, while still pointing out that directions have to be followed.  The hard part is that every kid is different and has his or her own balance.  That's where it gets a little tricky!

I think my husband, Sane Man, and I have a pretty good balance when it comes to these things.  I do tend to gush, and he tends to tell it like it is, but we both try to be balanced.  If our kids show an interest in something, we are always there to encourage and make it happen. We've encouraged music, computer programming, sports, and more. But....

Our kids seem to think they are the most amazing human beings on the planet! Seriously! LOL They are always telling me how good-looking they are, how talented, and how genius. Now, I'm glad that they aren't depressed and feeling like failures, but here's the problem:  They don't always see the need for things like, oh, practice or studying. They are happy with "average" results because they just figure that if they did it, it must be superior. What have I done?

Even the Bible seems to send two "self-esteem" messages. One, we are sinners and fall short of the Glory of God. Two, we are God's beloved children, fearfully and wonderfully made, who are so loved that He died for us.  How do these two messages mesh? Well, we are sinners, no doubt about it, but He loves us anyway. As the cliché goes, He loves the sinner and hates the sin. Somehow as parents, we need to figure out how to still build our children's self-esteem while still pointing out the flaws in their endeavors. Obviously, not all of their flaws will stem from sin, but the more I think about it, they often do!

The little girl in the example above probably just made an honest mistake when she put in salt instead of sugar. Small children are just inexperienced and need a lot of guidance. However, I'm finding that a lot of what my older kids do wrong, or just poorly, really does stem from sin. Perhaps, in my desire to build my children up, I haven't stressed enough that they are to do all things for the glory of God. Often I see them seeking glory for themselves.  Perhaps instead of always saying things like, "You're so smart!" or "You're so pretty!" I should have said things like, "God has truly given you intelligence," or "God made you beautiful," or "God must be blessed that you wrote Him that worship song."  Maybe if they really grasp the fact that they are serving God in all they do, they will learn to strive to really do their best.

Am I on to something here?  I admit, I've been doing this for over 20 years, and I'm still a bit clueless!  What do you do? Do your kids have a healthy self-esteem?   Do you have any lessons learned that you'd like to share?  I'd sure love to hear about it!

Happy Child Raising!








Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tuesday Memory (Yep, I'm Late) Mommy Me Time: Mandate or Myth

(Originally published on 7/16/2012)

It seems to me there are two schools of thought when it comes to "Mommy Me Time."  Some will insist that moms take time for themselves, while others insist such an idea is nothing but selfish and unnecessary. The former take on it seems to be far more prevalent.

When my youngest was born, I had eight kids under 12.  It was crazy.  People were always trying to convince me that I needed to "get away."  When I did, I admit I enjoyed myself, but it actually made it harder on me when I came back home.  For me, I would rather just stay in the trenches.  My idea of me time was simply reading a book, or watching a movie.  I never liked leaving my kids.  Besides, usually the place was a mess when I got home, and I always felt like I'd lost than more I'd gained!

Another thing I did for myself that I could do at home was to start this blog.  It gave (gives!) me something I can call my own, yet it does not pull me too far away from my family.  Actually, over the years, doing product reviews has actually caused me to spend even more time with my kids.

I don't agree with those folks who say moms are selfish to want to get away.  I think it's good for moms to recharge.  After all, recreation means re-creation.  It's like maintenance.  Moms who serve their family non-stop and never get a break will eventually burn out.  That being said, however, I seem to notice a dangerous trend.  Moms aren't just wanting to recharge so they can serve their families better.  I have heard story after story of moms wanting to do something for themselves, purely for their own self-gratification.  Many mothers have decided that they have "done their time" and need to "find themselves" or whatever.  I have seen several moms over the years take this attitude.  Most are divorced.

Like everything else, "me time" has to be balanced.  Moms need time to get refreshed and recharged for sure, but, please, moms, don't let yourselves get so burnt-out that you feel the need to run away from everything forever.  Other than our relationship with God, our relationships with our husbands and children are the most important relationships we will ever have.  Sure, take a break, but do it for your family as well as yourself.  You will be blessed!

Happy re-creation!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas music from Morgan Harper Nichols!



If you haven't heard of Morgan Harper Nichols, you're missing out on one of Christian music's most promising rising stars. Morgan is a beautiful young woman with a heart for the Lord that is often sadly missing in the contemporary Christian music culture. She's the real deal. Not only is Morgan a musician, singer, and songwriter, she's a gifted artist, writer, poet, teacher, and encourager. She posts daily devotionals on Instagram and Facebook, publishes devotional e-books , creates YouTube videos and Periscopes to encourage other creative people, and, well, it would take a long time to list everything she does. It can all be found on her website. Click here to check it out.

Morgan has a true gift for creating simple yet profoundly deep lyrics that will stay with you and feed your soul. Prodigal Christmas is no exception. She takes the idea of a family member going home at Christmastime, inspired by the song "I'll Be Home for Christmas," and creates a parallel to a prodigal coming home to the Lord, where the light it always on. 

Love the song Prodigal Christmas? Buy it and other songs from Morgan Harper Nichols on iTunes here, Google Play here, or Amazon MP3 here !



Monday, December 12, 2016

Monday Memory: 4 Degrees of Separation (Originally posted 01/03/12)


Sorry, I'm a wee bit late getting my Monday Memory posted!

Some like it hot. I am one of those someones! If I were in charge, my thermostat would be set at LEAST 72 degrees. Sane Man, on the other hand, likes it at 68 degrees. At that temp I am in fuzzy socks, boots, a turtleneck, a scarf, and a sweater. I am always sneaking it up a few degrees when he leaves, and then sometimes I forget all about it and he comes home to a nice warm home. I then have to very covertly set it back to 68 which can be tricky because the thermostat is in the direct line of sight from his favorite chair. Thankfully, he often takes a quick trip to the bedroom or bathroom before sitting down.

This got me to thinking about the Garden of Eden. It was paradise, right? Well, I seriously don't know any couple that is in full agreement on temperature. Most of the ladies I know are always cold and their dh's always are hot. (Yeah, my dh is hot!  LOL) The rare few gals I know that like the heat lower seem to have married those few rare guys who are always cold. So how could it be paradise for both Adam and Eve? Could they have possibly agreed on the same temperature?  Hmmm...

So, after pondering it a bit, I decided it probably had a whole lot less to do the temperature than it did with the fact that in Eden they hadn't yet sinned. Adam and Even were not obsessed with their own personal comfort like we tend to be as fallen people. Maybe if I were more focused on my husband's needs than my own, I would not be so dead set on making myself comfortable.  Plus, it would be a lot cheaper. Well, until summer.  ;)

Image obtained here.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Monday Memories: So, I was having a bad day...

Hey Everyone! I thought I'd start reposting some of my older posts on Mondays. Hope you enjoy! (From August 19, 2011)

A couple weeks ago I was having a really bad day. I have six boys (and just two girls) and sometimes the testosterone level just gets a little too high for my taste. Anyway, the two youngest boys seemed to be in super-duper hyperactive mode. They were bouncing around the house, loud, and not exactly following my list of things to do. I was getting quite stressed out when a couple of the older boys decided to "get into it." This is actually a rarity around here these days (thank goodness!) so when it happens, especially when I am already stressed, it really wears on me. It was just "one of those days."

On top of all of that, my oldest son's engine has recently died. Never fun. So, that evening he asked if he could use his dad's car or my van to go to church.  I told him he could, and he took the car. (The van is having its own issues since two cars collided in front of me, and then one of them crashed into me, at a four-way stop.)  Anyway, my son got to the church, drove into the parking lot, pulled into his space, and THUD! The bearing or something broke and the car was suddenly on the ground. I don't mean the tires, I mean, you know, the actual frame.  Okay, so now we were down to just my van and my other son's car. (We do have a fifth vehicle, but it's not exactly in road-worthy condition either.)

So, let's just say when I got the call from my son that evening, I was not exactly thrilled with the news. The day was nearly over and I was glad for it. And now this lovely news meant we had to survive with one less vehicle, and it had already been a bit of a challenge with my son's car broken down. Why this?

A little later a light bulb went off in my head. (And, mind you, it was not one of those new screwy mercury-laden ones that can contaminate your home. It was a good old thank-you-Thomas-Edison iridescent bulb.)  I realized that if my son's car had been running he'd have taken his own car and my husband would have taken his car to work the next day.  He drives nearly half an hour to work and at speeds up to 50 MPH.  It might very well have broken down while he was driving and caused an accident.  He and/or others could have been seriously hurt or worse.  Yet the timing was perfect when it broke down at the church.

So, here is what I learned: Sure, not all days are going to be perfect. Actually, none of them are.  Some days are going to bad, and some are going to be downright horrible. But how do you know that your bad day didn't keep you from having a horrible one that day, or the next, or at some other time in the future?  Once my little light bulb went off, I realized that maybe those broken down vehicles may have saved my husband's life.  Of course, maybe everything would have been okay had he taken his car in the morning, but either way, I know that God is Control.  And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

I'm Back and More Crazy than Ever! :)

Well, hello there! Is there anybody still out there? It's been a minute, but am finally going to get back into the swing of things, so I thought I would start by giving a quick family update. It's been eight years since I started blogging, and things have really changed!

It's crazy that every one of my children was still under 18 when I started out. Now five of them are (so-called) adults, and one is less than a year away! In 2008 I had all eight in school, from 12th grade down do kindergarten. Now I have only three in my homeschool, only two of which I actively school. I am actually less than five years from "retirement" now. I think when that day comes I'll have some sort of identity crisis. Until then, I just keep moving forward.

So here's an update on the kids:

Firstborn is now 25 and a front desk supervisor at a large hotel. He always wanted to be a doctor, got about halfway through school for bio-medical engineering, but just did not like the academic grind. Right now he is still trying to decide what he wants to do when he grows up, but I'm sure whatever he does, he'll succeed. He has a heart of gold, great communication skills, and looks great in a suit. He currently leads the young adults group at church, and just recently bought a very nice midnight blue Dodge Charger. Oh, and he now has a girlfriend as of last week! :)

Renaissance Man is 23 and is employed as tech support/web developer guy. Sorry, I don't know the right title.  He is also married! Yep, a little over two years ago he married a lovely young lady I'll call Mrs. Ren. No kids yet, but I'm trying to be patient. I'm not sure I'm really ready to be a grandma yet, anyway. :)

Mr. Personality is 22 and is over halfway through nursing school! God willing he will graduate in May. Right now he is working as a Certified Nursing Assistant at a local hospital. Never saw that coming. Still as hyper as always, I'm sure he brings lots of excitement to the hospital. LOL

Woggit is 20 and works at a local fast food place and is in the culinary arts program at the local college. His dream is to own a restaurant. He bought a truck this summer but it still working on getting his license. Not lot of time to practice driving these days! Hes still loves all things computer and is the most content person ever. He is the worst person ever to buy a gift for as he has everything he needs.

Princess, 18, is also at the local college taking photography classes. She is both a photographer and a musician. She plays guitar, bass, and sings. Right now she and her brother, Dode, are recording an album! She also works as a cashier/server at a local tourist attraction. She loves having a job. Every day it seems something comes for her in the mail. :)

Dode is 17 and my first fully academic child. Hallelujah! It's about time! He is a very good student and works very hard to get all of his schoolwork done in a timely manner. He has a very full plate this year and is doing Algebra 2, Trigonometry, and Physics. Yes, he's a math nerd. Thankfully he understands it and has a fabulous co-op teacher who is literally heaven sent. He is still rockin' the drums, but now he is also learning guitar. As I said above, he and his sister are making an album. Can't wait to hear it!

Bear is 15. She is my sweetheart. She loves all things girly like nail polish, doing her hair, baking cakes from scratch, and giant teddy bears. Then she goes out and mows the lawn or skateboards. Of course, her favorite thing in the world is animals, especially dogs. She wants to be a veterinary assistant or maybe even a vet.

Aber is 13. This is significant because that means I have no "children." Nope, all teens or young adults. It's kinda sad, but I digress. Baber has been a challenge. He just now is reading on his own! I knew it would happen, but I admit I was getting a little worried about when it was going to happen. He is definitely like his dad in that he is much more interested in hands-on things than he is academics. Like his dad, he's super smart. He might not test well, but he will win at life I am sure. He's my baby and I sure do love him. He is now taller than me even though I clearly told him that was not allowed.

My husband, Sane Man, is still working as an engineer and teaching a weekly Bible study for men.

Well, that's about it. Oh, and there's me. Well, I'm pretty much doing the same old thing. I teach, I cook, I shop, I clean. Most days it doesn't look I've made any progress with any of it. I just keep going though. What else can I do? LOL

I do hope my readers are still out there somewhere and will read what I write. I love comments, so I'd love to hear from you. Stay tuned for more reviews, stories, and whatever else comes to my crazy mind. I'm sure I'll have lots to talk about. Never a dull moment here in the Crazy House!


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