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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sir Quinlan and the Swords of Valor

Twitch (Quinlan) was an average kind of guy with a hard past.  One that left him somewhat scarred from what happened to him as a child.  When he decided to become a Knight of the Prince, he was almost below average.  His swordsmanship was not anywhere close to that of other young men who had trained for as long he had.  He wondered where his training would end up taking him; figuring his friend Tav would most certainly excel.  You see, Tav was a fabulous swordsman and caught the attention of Sir Edmund as well as others in the Kingdom.  Surely he was destined for great things.  Twitch would be happy to just be close to him.

However, things aren't always as they seem are they?  This story tells the story of one broken and bruised.  His encounters further on in this book shape who he will become.  Will he throw off the things that hinder his training for the Kingdom?  Will he "find" himself amongst all the turmoil in his family and in the Kingdom?  Will he fight for the Prince?  Will peace be restored not only to his village but in his heart?

You'll have to find that out for yourself!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What a Joy - Raising Boys

My first child was a girl.  My sweet baby Lyshie!  She is now almost 12 years old and is not just my child, she's my friend.  When Allysha was almost 7, we had our son, Jon.  When I found out he was a boy from the ultrasound, my heart ached.  I almost cried and conveyed my disappointment to my husband.  You see, I've never been an energetic person.  What would a woman who had a daughter for almost 7 years do with a boy?  Surely, we would both be a disappointment to each other.

My husband in his wisdom told me to look at this as something new we could share together.  You see, I had lived quite a godless life before and had experienced many things before I had even met my wonderful Matt.  He had a point...I needed to give myself up to this idea.  

Oh how God loves and moves in our lives!

By the time my son was born, I was so in love with him.  Today my Jon is 5 years old.  What a true joy he has been and still is for this fickle mama.  If you're a personal friend of mine, I'm sorry but I cannot and will not apologize for talking so much about my son.  

 The below picture is Jon helping daddy dig a trench.  Not even 2 years old yet.

 Brothers, what can I say? 

What a world that has opened up to me simply because I have a boy.  Oh how much my Jon has taught me about himself, myself and even my husband.  As my sweet friend Jamie taught me even more so lately; inside each woman is a little girl and inside each man is a little boy.  Just as my son needs to hear "Great job!" and "Atta boy!", so does my hubby.  

In the below picture, we had gone outside for a spell.  He had finished riding his bike a few times and wanted to sit just for a bit with his mama.  "Mom, take a picture of us together!" I could not refuse.  

What a blessing to see my son being caring to his siblings while a helper and protector.  How neat to see him open my door to the car or carry my purse for me.   Such determination in his eyes.  Such a love for God in his little heart.  His little self is yearning for justice for all men, women and children.  Jumping in to help with whatever hard, "manly" tasks we have here at home.  What a neat little man!

God has blessed me abundantly with 1 girl and 2 boys.  What a blessing each is to my life.  This next week my blog posts will more than likely be about raising boys.  Are we perfect, no way!  Is my boy afraid of bugs - at the moment yes.  But that's something we'll work through.  My main goal is to raise a boy who will lead with God at his center; a provider for his family.  What are your goals for your son/sons?  What steps do you need to take to get there?  Last but not least, pray!  Pray for their leadership, for their love for the Lord, for their future spouse, for their vocation, etc... 


Monday, April 18, 2011

Homeschooling and Heart Issues

It's amazing to see how God moves us.  Doing things that only He can do in our lives.  I'm very humbled and in awe!

This post today is about homeschooling and what God has done in my heart.  Between 6-7 years ago I was struggling to find "our way" in homeschooling.  I wanted God to be the chooser of our homeschool path.  After this struggling period, we have found our way over the years.  Refining our schooling and doing what we feel we should be doing for God, our children and those around us.

In that time, I had become set and sure that I was totally right in what I was doing and that everyone else who did something different was wrong.  I won't go into all the details but the fact of the matter was that I was focused on others and not our homeschooling and my God.

I have since realized that other homeschoolers who do what they do feel just as strongly about what they are doing as we do.  We all have a responsibility to our children for their education and to God to answer for how we raise our children.  Who am I to say someone is doing something wrong if God has told them to do what they are doing; even if it's different than the path we're on.  I've often thought and said that if we as women have time to criticize, we're not focused on what we should really be doing.  How easily Satan enters in to try to stir up animosity within a group of believers!

So, am I trying to convert anyone over to my style of teaching/learning?  No way!  However, I'm still here for those wanting to learn more about how we school; especially if God is leading them this way.  I feel very blessed with what we are doing and am confident in it.  I thank God for his provisions and for guiding my heart on these issues.

I can't quite put into words what this has done to my heart, but I hope it has somewhat come through.  I LOVE how God works!

p.s. Yes I view my blog as an online diary at times.  lol

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Recommended Netflix Movies

I often see facebook posts of people looking for good, wholesome movies to watch with their spouse or their family.  Because of that,  I thought I'd make a list of netflix movies that our family has enjoyed, found educational, etc...  If you have some you think I should add to this list, leave me a comment.  I'll be updating periodically.

Here goes!!

Family Movies:
The Hiding Place
*The Last Sin Eater
The Ultimate Gift
*The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry
*Saving Sarah Cain
Letters to God - this is a tear gripper!
Faith Like Potatoes - caution here is the language used by an unsaved man in the beginning.
End of the Spear
*Chariots of Fire
Facing the Giants
*Beyond the Gates of Splendor
Chronicles of Narnia
One Night with the King
*A Vow to Cherish
The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
Little House on the Prairie
Swiss Family Robinson
17 Kids and Counting - this is the Duggar series.  I love this!  It's so inspiration!
Mandie Series
Sugar Creek Gang Series
Anna and the King
Anne of Green Gables Series
Glory Road
Remember the Titans
Little Lord Fauntleroy
The Blind Side
The Adventure's of Tom Sawyer
American Girl Movies
Little Men
The Other Side of Heaven

Just for Kids:
Adventure's In Odyssey
Dangerous Journey
The Prince of Egypt
Hermie and Friends
Veggies Tales
Word World

Movies for Adults and/or Older Teens:
The Kingdom - caution, violence.
Something the Lord Made
Fireproof - Great for any married couple!
*Amish Grace
Amazing Grace - Amazing!  Directed by Michael Apted
Love Comes Softly Series 
Driving Miss Daisy
Pride and Prejucide
Miss Potter
*Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace
*Though None Go With Me
Sense and Sensibility

Educational Movies:
Liberty's Kids - great historical movies for kids.  I even love them!
How Stuff Works
How It's Made
Myth Busters - Be careful for language!
Drive Thru History Series
John Wycliff - a fabulous story of a man who translated the bible.
God of Wonders 
Creatures that Defy Evolution - this is so neat!
Robber of the Cruel Streets - this is good but is not dramatized.
The Nativity Story
Torchlighter's - Christian history for kids.
The Journey of Sacagawea
The Business of Being Born - caution, nudity - this can be helpful for young women.
Hotel Rowanda - not for young children.
The Future of Food
The Amish - A People of Preservation
Battlefield Detectives: The Apaches
Lewis and Clark - The Journey
The Diary of Anne Frank
March of the Penguins
Pilgrim's Progress
Martin Luther
To Market, To Market, To Buy A Fat Pig - talks about local food and farmers markets.
The Hiding Place
*An Uncommon Union
Greeks: Crucible of Civilization - this is great for teaching about Ancient Greece!
Footsteps of Goliath - while no one mentioned that it was God who was with David, this is very fascinating.

*The Case for Faith
*The Case for Christ
*The Case for a Creator
*The Tabernacle
Expelled - No Intelligence Allowed
The Passion of the Christ
The Gospel of John
The Book of Ruth - while this was entertaining, it is not at all biblically accurate.  You may want to pass on this one.
The Tabernacle - this really shows what the tabernacle would have been like and explains things well.
Great Souls: Mother Teresa - this was so inspiring and lovely.

*Indicates movies I have not yet viewed myself.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Starting Our Garden Part 2

Here you will see the second round of plant starting for the Kaake family this year :) I was watering my plants the other night when I realized that they were not holding in water as much anymore.  Every day they were drying out.  This was a huge clue that they needed to be repotted into something bigger.    The other clue was in the picture above; they were root bound.  If these plants do not get repotted, they will die from lack of water because they will lost it very quickly.  Here's a few steps in repotting your plants you've started for the garden.

1. Purchase a potting mix - not garden soil.  Potting mix has special components in it that will help your plants grow strong.  It was also keep the water in better.

2. Purchase or use either smaller pots or you can use something deep and large enough for your plants to all sit in and then cover them with the potting mix.  Make sure your plants roots have plenty of room to spread out.  I just happened to get the above potting kit on clearance after season last year.  My Meijer has great clearance items in the winter for gardening!

3. Get a large (clean) container and put a good amount of potting soil in it.  Next, add in plenty of water.  You don't want your mix sopping wet, but you don't want it dry either when you use it to repot your plants.  You'll know it's wet enough when it just starts to hold together when you squeeze it in your hands.  I remember doing this at the vocational school I went to.  We'd have a huge table that we'd dump out a full bag of soil on.  Then we'd get the hose and water it down good.  Using both hands (and arms), I'd dig right in . Oh the memories.

4. Next, put your plant in the bottom of the pot/container and fill the soil in around it.  Make sure to tamp down lightly around the plant and on the top.  Leave just a bit of space on the top.  If the pot is a bit too deep, you'll want to put some soil in the bottom of it first.  You want to make sure that the true leaves are not covered by the soil.

5. Water the plants lightly.  If there's any extra water within 1 hour of watering, drain it off.  The plants could get root rot or mold - you do not want that.  This is true with any plants at any time; not just when starting seeds.

6. Place in a sunny location and continue to grow like you have been  The great news is you should no longer need to cover the plants.  Once they grow their first true leaves, you do not need to cover them anymore.

We live in beautiful Michigan and normally I would plant everything the first week of June. This means I'd start hardening off my plants slowly in May.  However, this year has been unusually cold so I may hold off for a week or two.  They say it's best to start hardening off tomatoes when temperatures stay above or around 50 degrees.

I hope this has been helpful for you.  I will post again when I start hardening off my plants.  Oh and I almost forgot to mention, the plants above are tomato plants and Jalapeno Peppers.  My Ancho Peppers are still forming their first true leaves so they haven't been transplanted yet.

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

I looked for pictures online and this one looks most like mine.  It was especially awesome that it was on a raw organic site!  You can find this picture here.  Always want to give credit where credit is due.

Anyway, I was inspired tonight from a post I read from my favorite health food store.   They have a banana and pb shake.   I called them to see if they were still open to pick one up for myself, but alas they weren't.  So...I got out my blender and started experimenting  It turned out pretty good!  Measurements below are not exact.  If I would have thought enough ahead I would have gotten some cream out of the fridge and whipped it up with some stevia to put on top.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
1 frozen banana
1/4-1/2 cup water
1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter.
1 tablespoon honey (or to taste)
cocoa powder to taste.

1. Blend and enjoy!

Master Bedroom Rehaul!

My bedroom needs a major rehaul!  It has been a shared room with the babies for years!  My goal is to create a space where hubby and I can both go and relax.  We would love to relax without children in the room, without crumbs on the bed, and in space that is eye appealing - giving off the feeling of being comfortable.  

My plans:
1. Repaint!  This is the only room I didn't repaint when we purchased the house.  Well, other than the laundry room.  When we first moved in Jon drew all over the walls.  I tried everything; even magic eraser to no avail.

2. Cover the cedar chest.  The cedar chest was a graduation gift from my parents.  It is not holding my daughters "hope chest" items.  That said, there's not room for it in her room so at the foot of my bed it stays.

3. New touch lamp - I'd love to replace my broken one with something that will go more with my colors.

4. Oh yes colors - I would love to do earthy browns, greens and cream.

5. I want to purchase a couple different pieces of artwork/pictures.  I'll prob. get these from Big Lots unless I find something amazing from Goodwill.

6. I would love to replace our quilts with something else.  They are getting old and worn out.  I think if I repaint our room and replace the bed coverings, that will make a huge difference.

7. Add in a dark colored bookcase to replace the white one that is in my bedroom.

8. Get a nice hamper for the room.  We do not currently have one and our clothing gets thrown on the floor in a heap - huge eye sore!

9. Last but not least, I'd love to replace our bed frame.  Matthew doesn't like that the poles at the foot of the bed are so high.  They obstruct his view.  I'd love to remedy this for him.  This seems like it might be the most expensive fix.  We'll see what we can do.

I think that about does it for now other than cleaning the carpet.  I sure have my work cut out for me but I'm very excited to get started and start doing some deal searching!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sir Rowan and the Camerian Conquest

This is the first book I've read by Chuck Black.  When I first heard about his books, I thought they were books for boys.  However, after reading just the first page of this book, I realized that these books aren't just for boys!  

While reading this book, I saw many parallels in my own life.  In the beginning of this book, Rowan was a lowly child who was trained by a Knight and taught the ways of the Prince.  However, as he got better at the skills he was born with, he sought after worldly gain - prestige, money, etc...  Reading further, there are many hardships that came Rowan's way.  On the way to these hardships, he was warned but never headed the warning.  As Rowan thought he was finally spent, things began to change.  

As you read on, you will find true repentance, forgiveness and love in this story.  It's very hard for me to not give away more of this book than I already have.  Does this mean that Rowan no longer encounters struggles - no!  But it does mean that he knows where he allegiance lies.  Live or die, he will forever serve his Prince and King!

You can read chapter 1 here -

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Simplifying Breakfast

Our life has taken a few turns along the way since my husband and I have gotten married.  We are constantly trying to cut out stressors and simplify what we can.  Today I'll be sharing a few recipes to simplify breakfast.  You can find many recipes similar to this that have bread in them.   However, I've been trying to go gluten free and these fit the bill better.   I have not made any of these yet but do plan on making 1-2 of these per week and then rotate them.  In our family, we eat high protein in the morning instead of lots of grains/fruits because our body works much better this way.

I found this picture online :)  Looks like a breakfast casserole with a hashbrown base.

Breakfast Casserole - this recipes uses hashbrowns as the base with eggs, cheddar cheese, veggies and breakfast meat.

Asparagus Breakfast Cassreole - this recipes uses hashbrowns as the base with eggs, asparagus, meat and swiss cheese.

By using the above ideas, I think I'll go ahead and try these variations as well.  I'm thinking if I saute the onion, pepper and other veggies ahead of time, it will taste better too.

Bacon Cheeseburger Breakfast Casserole - using hashbrowns as the base with eggs, cheddar cheese, hamburger that has been fried with onion (and drained), and crumbled bacon.  I'm also thinking sliced tomatoes on the top would be yummy!

Southwestern Breakfast Casserole - using hashbrowns as the base with eggs, sausage, diced chilies, diced onion, diced tomatoes, and colby jack cheese.

Mexican Breakfast Casserole - using hashbrowns as the base with eggs, leftover taco meat, garlic, onions and cheese.

If you have any other yummy ideas, please feel free to send them along.  Here's to a simplified morning!